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Peter Orszag, OMB chief and sex symbol

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The Washington Post's Dana Milbank asks the press corps, before a budget press conference, why they think Peter Orszag is so sexy.

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By Dana Milbank
Tuesday, February 2, 2010

For a year now, the capital has been trying to solve a singular mystery: Why is Peter Orszag so sexy?

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It is hard to conceive of just what makes the gangly and geeky director of the Office of Management and Budget a heartthrob. Yet in rapid succession in recent weeks, the world learned first of his engagement to an attractive TV correspondent a decade his junior, and second, of his love child born to an attractive shipping heiress. Jokesters at the all-Orszag blog Orszagasm.com say he's put "the OMG into OMB," and Jon Stewart promoted him to director of the Office of Managing the Bootay.

On Monday morning, we finally learned the secret to Orszag's sex appeal: The man may look like Louis in "Revenge of the Nerds," but he has an enormous deficit -- $1.6 trillion this year alone, and forecast to last for years, according to the 2011 budget the administration released Monday.

To see the 41-year-old Orszag perform Monday in an auditorium at the White House complex was to see a man with an impressive body of facts, who is not shy about sharing it.

President Obama's spending freeze? "If you look actually at the bottom of Table S-4, at the very bottom, on page 152, it says 'memorandum of funding for appropriated programs, non-security,' and you see the $447 billion in 2010, and we actually are below that in 2011 at $441 billion," Orszag announced.

Appropriated programs, non-security? Oh, baby!

Orszag knew all the moves. "You have to remember," he told his listeners, that "the 2001-2003 tax cuts and the Medicare prescription drug benefit were not subjected to PAYGO."

Oh, Peter, subject me to PAYGO.

In the middle of this performance, Orszag took a break while his colleague addressed the news conference. He sat down, took a sip of Diet Coke and crossed his legs -- revealing a pair of cowboy boots beneath his blue pinstriped suit. Orszag, for the record, is from Massachusetts and went to Princeton.

If you plugged the word "Orszag" into Google on Monday, the first four search terms to be proposed were "Peter," "toupee," "love child" and "girlfriend." Further down were "baby" and "engaged," but nowhere on the list was "OMB."

How this happened to the divorced father of two with the nerdy voice is quite a tale. Way back in March, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told the New York Times that Orszag "made nerdy sexy." Emanuel didn't know the half of it.

Last month, the New York Post ran a story trumpeting: "PREZ MAN'S LOVE CHILD -- BUDGET BOSS JILTS BABY MAMA." It began: "President Obama's geeky budget guru has a secret love child -- with the Greek shipping heiress he jilted before hooking up with his hot new ABC News fiancée."


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