Bret Baier, Sharing His Pride and Joy

Cardiologist Richard Jonas, left, Fox News's Bret Baier and wife Amy. The Baiers gave $1 million to the hospital where their son was treated.
Cardiologist Richard Jonas, left, Fox News's Bret Baier and wife Amy. The Baiers gave $1 million to the hospital where their son was treated. (Children's National Medical Center)
By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Friday, August 1, 2008

The day his son was born -- June 29, 2007 --was one of the happiest of Bret Baier's life. One day later, the Fox News White House correspondent discovered that the baby had five life-threatening congenital heart defects. His father-in-law turned to him and said, "You've found your cause."

Paul Francis Baier is now a bouncing 13-mouth-old with a mighty grateful family: Children's National Medical Center announced yesterday that Baier, his wife, Amy, and in-laws Paul and Barbara Hills have donated $1 million to the hospital. "It's our family's gift," Baier told us. "We're fortunate to be in the position to give back to a place that has done so much for us."

In his short life, Paul Baier has had two open-heart surgeries and two angioplasties. The first eight-hour operation, when he was just 12 days old, was performed by world-renowned pediatric cardiologist Richard Jonas, who called it one of the most complicated of his career.

The Baiers spent more than two months at the center, which persuaded them to make children's heart research and technology the focus of their philanthropy. "One out of 100 kids has some kind of heart defect," said Baier. Part of the $1 million donation goes to establish a high-tech media room that will allow doctors to consult from all over the world; the balance will support Jonas's research on preventing brain damage during surgery.

The baby is now a toddler: walking, running, dunking the roll of toilet paper in the bowl and throwing it at the wall. "He is awesome," said his dad. "He is all boy. He gets into everything. . . . We are incredibly grateful."

UNCONVENTIONAL WISDOM

News and notes on the path to the 2008 nominations:

· If you're going to make fun of a vapid famous-for-being-famous heiress, it's always a good idea to check the donor roster first. The Hilton family looks pretty devoted to John McCain, whose new "Celeb" ad kinda picks on sweet young Paris while mocking Barack Obama, reports our colleague Garance Franke-Ruta. Parents Rick and Kathy Hilton have maxed out with $4,600 in individual contributions to McCain, and granddad William Barron Hilton has given him $2,300 -- plus $35,000 or so to the National Republican Senatorial Committee since 2006. Way to lose your Hilton Honors status!

THE SOURCE QUOTE

"If you notice, since Britney started wearing clothes and behaving; Paris is out of town not bothering anybody anymore, thank God; and, evidently, Lindsay Lohan has gone gay, we don't seem to have much of an issue."

-- Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton explaining why he opposes new legislation to penalize celebrity photographers. Bratton interrupted his morning workout and jumped into a live interview on L.A.'s KNBC-TV yesterday to "set the record straight": The paparazzo frenzy, he said, was primarily caused by recovering bad girls Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Lohan and is under control.

LOVE, ETC.

· Playing hardball: Alex Rodriguez, who said yesterday that his alleged "extramarital affairs and other marital misconduct" were "immaterial and impertinent" to a divorce settlement. In court documents, the New York Yankee responded to wife Cynthia 's divorce petition by admitting that their marriage was "irretrievably broken" but that she was entitled only to the amount set in their 2002 prenup, plus child support for their two kids. No extra $$$$ for his late-night chats with . . . say, Madonna.

· Number One: OK! magazine ranks D.C. tops in "Best 10 States to Nab a Single Guy." Confused about our lack of actual statehood, the celebrity tab also asserts that "cultured men abound" in our fair metropolis. Maryland came in seventh; Virginia is apparently not for single lovers and was shut out.

THIS JUST IN . . .

· Luke Russert has a new gig: at-large correspondent for NBC, the network announced yesterday. The 22-year-old son of the late Tim Russert won kudos for his poise and eloquence at his dad's funeral in June; he'll cover youth issues at the GOP and Dem national conventions and the general election for NBC's "Nightly News," "Today" and MSNBC. The Boston College grad currently co-hosts a sports show on XM satellite radio with James Carville.

NOTE TO OUR READERS

The Reliable Source -- pale, exhausted and so-not-ready -- is off for two weeks of sunny beaches, fruity drinks and trashy novels. We'll return Aug. 19; meanwhile, send your tips and sightings to reliablesource@washpost.com.


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