OBAMARAMA: Looking for a Piece of the Obama Pie
One day, historians will discover which pizza is Barack Obama's favorite. For the moment, Chicago's Italian Fiesta Pizzeria claims to be the president-elect's top pie -- and it's bringing samples to Washington tomorrow night.
"Right now, anything Obama is crazy," co-owner Patti Harris-Tubbs told us yesterday. Everyone wants a slice of history, which is why the Ritz-Carlton is flying in the pizza pros (and their homemade dough, sauce and toppings) for an inaugural preview promo.
The family-owned business, founded by her grandparents in the 1940s, has gotten a flood of publicity since the hotel came calling, but we wanted details: Favorite Obama topping; deep-dish or thin-crust; how long has he been a fan?
"No one has ever seen him in the restaurant," Harris-Tubbs admitted. (Then again, it's a modest take-out/delivery place.) Internet rumors of murky origins say the pizzeria is Obama's favorite, but direct evidence is hard to come by. Harris-Tubbs said her sister ran into the Obamas at a event over the summer and introduced herself as the Hyde Park pizza proprietress: "Michelle Obama said, 'Oh my God! It's our favorite pizza!' She said she grew up on it and was rewarded with Italian Fiesta for good grades in school."
True? Or just glib campaign chitchat? The Obama camp couldn't confirm the exchange, but the pizzeria is doing something right: Regulars dish out $18 for a large thin-crust; the place sells 700 to 800 pies on a busy night.
The Choice: It Seems to Be Down to Two Private Schools
The Obama school search appears to have narrowed -- and the much buzzed-about Maret School is apparently out of the running.
Sources close to the process say Michelle Obama felt that the elite private school in Woodley Park -- endorsed by advisers Susan Rice and Greg Craig, who both sent children there -- would be too small for her girls; and she doesn't want to circumscribe their lives any more than the White House will.
That seems to leave two finalists: Sidwell Friends and Georgetown Day School, which Sasha, 7, and Malia, 10, toured with their mother over the past two days. The Obamas are said to like GDS for its diversity mission (it was D.C.'s first integrated school), but Malia is said to have warmed to Sidwell because some of the Biden grandchildren she bonded with on the campaign go there. (Eric Holder, a top prospect for attorney general, sends two of his kids to GDS.)
Meanwhile, yesterday afternoon the girls spent about an hour checking out their new home, with their mother and grandmother Marian Robinson. Laura Bush returned from a day trip to Kentucky to greet them at the White House; reigning first sisters Jenna and Barbara joined the party from their homes in Baltimore and New York -- and showed their younger counterparts their rooms in the private residence.
"You will wear all black, a black dress and high heels? You can come find me [at the premiere], I will be the one with the very broad shoulders, dark hair and a simple suit. We can have some champagne, you and me."
Jean-Claude Van Damme's Flirtatious Words for Newsweek's Sarah Ball
-- Action star Jean-Claude Van Damme, 48, to Newsweek reporter Sarah Ball, whom he brazenly hit on during an off-the-rails interview to promote his new indie film, "JCVD." On learning that she's 22: "Oh, [bleep]. That is very young."
HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?
· John McCain at Morton's in Crystal City Monday night. The GOP presidential candidate ended his bid with a last supper in the restaurant's private back room. The party included 12 of his senior campaign advisers (Lindsey Graham, Rick Davis) but not wife Cindy; all but one of the men ordered filet mignon. The relaxed McCain arrived without security, stayed about two hours and posed with customers coming in and out.