The Governor's Lively Night Off

O'Malley, here in 2005, sat in at the Birchmere on Wednesday.
O'Malley, here in 2005, sat in at the Birchmere on Wednesday. (Ricky Carioti - The Washington Post)
  Enlarge Photo    
By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Friday, August 22, 2008

If things had gone just a bit differently this spring, Martin O'Malley -- an enthusiastic backer of Hillary Clinton -- might have been one of those guys agonizing by the phone all this week, waiting for that invitation to be No. 2 on the ticket.

Instead, the governor of Maryland was picking up a guitar and taking the stage at Alexandria's Birchmere music club in a surprise appearance Wednesday night with his favorite band, the Saw Doctors.

O'Malley, in jeans and, yes, of course, a tight gray T-shirt, emerged from the raucous crowd in the Birchmere's front-room bandstand to join the Irish folk-rockers for "Hay Wrap" -- a frenetic show-closer that had the governor jumping up and down with the band members, even taking part in a brief kick line.

It's the first time O'Malley has joined the Saw Doctors onstage since they played his inaugural ball a year and a half ago -- though a few members of his sort-of-retired Celtic band O'Malley's March did open a show for them in Annapolis last summer. (He also jammed with a high school group in Salisbury, Md., last week.) After the Birchmere show, the governor hung out backstage for an hour with the band and a handful of friends of the band (to whom he introduced himself as "Martin," according to a spy) -- drinking Heinekens, eating pepperoni pizza, gabbing about Michael Phelps.

And then . . . it was time to be governor again. At 11:30, O'Malley said his goodbyes: "I have to be up early tomorrow to declare Pocomoke City the capital city for the day."

News and notes on the path to the 2008 nominations.

Okay, now things are getting really silly. With the clock running out for Barack Obama to reveal his running mate, the feverish guessing game has reached Caroline Kennedy. In June Obama tapped JFK's daughter and attorney Eric Holder to head his veep search committee, which has prompted filmmaker/provocateur Michael Moore to plead: "Caroline, pull a Cheney!" On his Web site this week, Moore posted an open letter dismissing the usual suspects and begging Kennedy to nominate herself -- as Dick Cheney did in 2000 -- for the No. 2 spot: "What Obama needs is a vice presidential candidate who is NOT a professional politician, but someone who is well-known and beloved by people across the political spectrum."

London gossip has a different (and equally improbable) take on her next gig. Yesterday the Telegraph reported that if Obama wins in November, he'll reward Kennedy for her support with an ambassadorship to Great Britain -- the same job her grandfather Joe Kennedy held 70 years ago.

Hey, Isn't That...?

  • Kenny Rogers touring CIA headquarters in McLean, where staffers sang to him -- not the other way around -- "Happy Birthday," since it was the country music star's 70th yesterday. Rogers, who performed at Wolf Trap the night before, met agency chief Mike Hayden, posed for photos with employees.
  • Guy Pearce dining at Westend Bistro on Wednesday night -- black pants, black T-shirt, black rimmed eyeglasses. The angular Aussie actor ("L.A. Confidential," "Memento") was in town flacking his new movie, "Traitor."

Surreal Estate

Seller: Bruce Miller

Price: $7,950,000

Details: The McLean business exec caused a stir two years ago when he built a 5,231-square-foot house -- dubbed the "big yellow whale" by locals -- in Rehoboth Beach, Del. Miller loved it, tourists begged for a peek inside, but city officials grumbled that it clashed with the town's traditional cottages and small-town feel. Now, Miller is building another big home in Naples, Fla., and selling the five-bedroom, five-bath (steam room, Jacuzzi, elevator, three laundry rooms) oceanfront property that "cannot be duplicated under the current city codes," according to the listing. He's not abandoning Rehoboth, just downsizing, says his Realtor.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company