The Reliable Source

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Friday, December 5, 2008

Back to Lone Star: A Dallas Abode Fit for an Ex-President

Well, that was fast.

On Wednesday, Laura Bush told reporters she and the president "might be" buying a place in Dallas. Yesterday, the White House announced that they've purchased a home in the city's upscale Preston Hollow neighborhood.

No other official details, but the Dallas Morning News helpfully identified the likely homestead. Robert McCleskey, the Bushes' longtime friend and Midland accountant, bought a house at 10141 Daria Pl. on Oct. 3, according to local property records. The 8,501-square-foot house, built in 1959 at the end of a cul-de-sac, has four bedrooms, 4 1/2 baths.

The one-story house is assessed at $2,078,660 but apparently is worth a lot more. According to the deed, McCleskey, listed as a trustee, took out a $3.07 million loan to be paid back in four years, our colleague Dan Eggen reports. McCleskey declined to say for whom he bought the property; the former owner also is keeping mum. Last week, a smaller house next door went under contract for $1.6 million to an unknown buyer -- perfect crash pad for the Secret Service detail.

The main property backs up on two enormous estates owned by prominent Republicans. One, a 14-acre spread, belongs to Gene Phillips, a real estate developer and GOP fundraiser, and his wife, Roxanne; the other is owned by Tom and Cindy Hicks, who bought the Texas Rangers from Bush and his partners and have contributed more than $600,000 to the president and other Republican candidates since 2000.

This is a homecoming for the Bushes: They lived in the same neighborhood from 1988 to 1995, before he became governor of Texas. Southern Methodist University in Dallas will be the home of his presidential library, under construction.

Stars to Perform for Kennedy Center Honorees

With all the attention given to which celebs are coming to the inauguration, most of the talent for Sunday's Kennedy Center Honors has managed to stay under the radar. The producers like to keep the A-list a surprise until the stars walk onstage, but a few names have leaked:

· Beyoncé will perform "The Way We Were" for her career model, honoree Barbra Streisand. "I want to be like her," Beyoncé told the L.A. Times. "She is just the ultimate. And I want to be an icon, too."

· Clint Eastwood and Denzel Washington will pay tribute to Morgan Freeman: Eastwood co-starred with him in "Million Dollar Baby"; Washington worked with him in "Glory."

· Garth Brooks will sing for George Jones; the two recorded a duet together, then had a falling out, but are now BFFs.

Still secret: the performers for dance legend Twyla Tharp and the Who's Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey.

Puckishly Conquering a Facebook Pinnacle

The long-anticipated moment arrived early yesterday: Ted Leonsis added his 5,001st "friend" on Facebook.

"And it didn't blow up," he said. "The world didn't end."

Who better than the gregarious AOL exec and Caps owner to push the surly bonds of Facebook's legendary 5,000-friend limit? Local bloggers, including our Post I.T. colleague Kim Hart, watched as Leonsis drew ever closer to the point where he'd presumably no longer be able to form any more connections on the social networking site.

And then he hit 5,000 and . . . nothing. Leonsis was surprised to find his number up to 5,002 by last night.

What happened? A year ago, billionaire Mark Cuban blogged that he had reached, and failed to breach, the 5K ceiling (he has since scaled back to 3,500-plus), triggering a debate about whether the automated limit is necessary. But Facebook denied reports in the spring that the company was about to lift it. Has that changed? Facebook reps did not return our calls or e-mails yesterday.

In the meantime, Leonsis is setting his own limits, accepting "friend requests" only from people with whom he has at least 10 friends in common. He told us he's "getting a little burned out" by e-mail from all those new so-called friends, most of whom "are asking for things."


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