Bush Serenade Is a Gridiron Smash

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Monday, March 10, 2008

Now we know why President Bush was tap-dancing on the North Portico: The leader of the free world has gone Broadway on us! Bush, in white tie and cowboy hat, stole the show at Saturday's Gridiron Club dinner with a good ol' boy version of "Green Green Grass of Home."

Bush? Sing? His staff was shocked when he announced he wanted to perform instead of speaking at the annual press revue. His only condition: military backup in the form of Gunnery Sgt. Kevin Bennear and Staff Sgt. Sara Dell'Omo, both Marines with killer vocal chops. Writer Landon Parvin picked the song and customized the lyrics; the stealth operation included three secret rehearsals in the White House Family Theater.

Remarkably, there were no leaks to the 600 guests at the Renaissance Washington hotel. After the requisite sketches and remarks, Bush slipped away from the head table and suddenly appeared onstage; even the other performers didn't know he would sing until he began warbling:

Lit-tle Craw-ford looks the same,
As I step down from the plane,
And there to meet me is my mama and my papa . . .

Of course, the "first and final" performance of Bush and the Busharoos brought down the house. After the second verse, 50 people in the audience flicked on lighters. So Peter Frampton! But wait -- no one smokes anymore! Turns out Karl Rove and other insiders surreptitiously passed them out during dinner. Bush was apparently so pleased that he closed the show by kissing Helen Thomas.

"Unbelievably great," said Ann Coulter, who was there as Bob Novak's date. (How does she stay so thin? Never ate, chewed gum all night.)

Hope All That Running Kept Him Warm

While you were tucked in a warm bed Saturday night, Shia LaBeouf raced up and down the steps of the Library of Congress in freezing temperatures. Hollywood's new "it" boy (he co-stars with Harrison Ford in the upcoming "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull") shot exteriors for "Eagle Eye," another Washington assassination conspiracy thriller, in which he plays a slacker drawn into a terrorist plot. (Hate it when that happens.) Saturday's filming drew late-night tourists who watched LaBeouf run to the top of the stairs over and over; yesterday, Rosario Dawson and Michael Chiklis finished up scenes at the heliport outside the Pentagon. The production wraps up today near the Mall.

Graham Biopic Back on Track

Finally, an update on HBO's long-awaited biopic about the late, legendary Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham. At last week's Capitol screening of " John Adams" -- attended by star Paul Giamatti and exec producer Tom Hanks -- we caught up with director Tom Hooper, who has been attached to the Graham project for nearly two years.

What's the latest? Hooper -- a tall, boyish, thatchy-haired Brit who won an Emmy for Helen Mirren's "Elizabeth I" -- told us he had been working with Joan Didion to prepare a screenplay based on Graham's life, but then HBO asked him in mid-2006 to take up the Adams miniseries. "This shunted it out," he said. "We so wanted 'John Adams' to come out in the middle of primary season."

But he said he'll get back to work on the Graham movie soon. Key question: Who will play Mrs. Graham? "There have been rumors of Laura Linney," he said cryptically. (Linney is Abigail Adams in the new miniseries.) Hmmm . . . isn't he the guy who's supposed to clear up the rumors, not spread them? "That's all I can say."

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

Bow Wow shopping in the men's department of Bloomingdale's Chevy Chase store on Saturday afternoon. The rap star and his entourage checked out Hugo Boss underwear and grooved to music by DJ Impulse -- just gearing up for his 21st birthday party later that night at Love nightclub, where he drank Perrier Jouet champagne and Ciroc vodka, both with Red Bull. Oh, and there were 4,200 screaming fans, and MTV filmed the whole thing. They grow up so fast!

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