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The Reliable Source -- Live
Hosted by Lloyd Grove
Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, June 15, 2001; 11 a.m. EDT

Got a rumor to dispel or confirm? Looking for dirt on your favorite or most-hated Washington celebrity? Ask "The Reliable Source" columnist Lloyd Grove, online Fridays at 11 a.m. EDT.

Grove, a 20-year veteran of The Washington Post, has been writing The Reliable Source column in the Style section since May 1999.

Grove grew up in Los Angeles and Greenwich, Conn. He was an English major at Yale and worked for the Kansas City Times (now defunct, we think), the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and the Dallas Morning News before joining the Post on the Weekend section, where for a few years he reviewed practically every live theater show that opened in D.C., including a few in church basements.

From there, he joined Style as a general assignment writer with a special interest in politics, and spent a year and a half covering the 1988 presidential campaign for the National staff. In 1991 -- after an ill-advised book leave -- he returned to Style and served as a political reporter, with occasional detours into television and movie coverage. He also has written extensively for Vanity Fair magazine.

Editor's Note: Washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Live Online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions.

A transcript follows.


To read the most recent responses, click "Get New Responses"
or select "Automatically Update Page."

Lloyd Grove: Mornin' all. I decided to show up on time today, in contrast to my AWOL performance of last week. Hope you approve. Now over to you.

20036: Hi Lloyd, Any speculation on the Chandra Levy case....The rumor mill that I travel in speculates that she and Condit had a last tryst/get together the night before her disappearance and HE may have ended it then ... She, probably being not to "OK" with the sudden termination of it, walked away p_ _ _ _ _ and licking her wounds and just never stop walking. And she could very well be somewhere watching all this from afar. Back-up for our scenario is the fact the cops searched the park near Condit's love nest. Your thoughts to dispel or agree with our amateur detective ring that I'm involved in.

Lloyd Grove: To answer your last question first, I've been on vacation while waiting for my new second chair, Barbara Martinez, to join me--which she does on Monday. The columns resumes next week. As for Chandra levy, there's no shortage of speculation, and now I see that Chandra;s mother has started to point the finger at Condit, saying that she agrees with the relative who told The Washington Post that her daughter and the congressman were romantically involved, and that she wishes the congressman would be more forthcoming. I noticed that Mickey Kaus made the point on his kausfiles.com site that it would be far better for Condit to admit an affair but deny that he knows her whereabouts--which would at least give the latter denial a measure of credibility--than to do what he's doing, namely stonewall. But at this point, your detective ring speculations sounds about as good as any.

Arlington, Va.: Lloyd:

Any substance to the Bill Clinton -- Patricia Duff relationship rumors? If true, for once I'll tip my cap to Bill's taste -- he hasn't been too choosey in the past.

Lloyd Grove: Well, many people have pointed out that they'd make a nice couple. They obviously know each other and see each other at functions in New York. But Patricia has denied it repeatedly, and I have no evidence to the contrary,

Rockville, Md: Lloyd: Granted, Georgetown is not really down your alley, but what has the three day power outage done to business and restaurants downtown? It broke my heart to see that the queen of Jordan had to stay in the Ritz because the Four Seasons had no air conditioning.

Lloyd Grove: I can only tell you that if the column were not dark this week, I'd be all over the terrible holocaust now ongoing in Georgetown. I can't believe that the president hasn't sent in FEMA and declared Georgetown a national disaster area. Tony Williams better pitch a tent over a manhole if he expects to win Ward 2 next time out.

Washington, D.C.: I thought I had heard on one of the Sunday talk shows that Senator Christopher Dodd (D) of Connecticut is going to become a father for the first time. Is this true?

Lloyd Grove: It is. He and new wife Jackie Clegg, who so far as I know is still vice chair of the ExIm Bank, are indeed expecting. I say congratulations.

Tucson, Ariz.: Does George Bush usually raise his voice when explaining difficult subjects? At the European news conferences, Bush seemed to shout when the subject was one that the Europeans were not supporting, as if he spoke louder they would understand. And is the mooning of a president a new phenomenon?

Lloyd Grove: I think he speaks louder so HE will understand.

Boston, Mass.: Hi Lloyd,

Bush sends the CIA to deal with the problems in the Middle east? Since when is the CIA for diplomacy? I thought they answered to no one, and were totally unaccountable to the general public. >Whatever happened to Colin Powell?

Any reporters planning a series on the Bush family and their ties to the CIA? Prescott Bush, "grampy", was funding WWII activities until the U.S. shut him down for "consorting with the enemy". Then they helped form the CIA. George Sr. was in charge of it for a while, and now shrub uses it for diplomacy?

It certainly seems like an interesting, multipage expose destined for a Sunday edition.....

Lloyd Grove: Well, you might have a good idea there. I think the CIA is far more accountable today than it was when the president's father was running it. George tenet is subject to a great deal of congressional oversight--and tenet himself used to work for Oklahoma senator david Boren, who was chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. So I don't know that it's necessarily a bad idea to send the CIA director to the Middle East, where presumably he has a lot of sources and contacts at his disposal, to say nothing of ongoing relationships with both of the warring parties. And it does seem that he got something out of it--a cease fire agreement (which no doubt will be exploded in the near future, as are all things in the region.)

Fairfax, Va.: Lloyd, have you been following Danielle Crittenden’s serialized novel on the online version of the Wall Street Journal this summer? It has very quickly become a roman a clef of Washington, and this week’s installment introduced a character that is a very thinly-disguised depiction of your real-life girlfriend…with a lot of details about her boyfriend "Brad", who I guess is you. So, I have to ask you: do you really have a mole on your backside?

Lloyd Grove: Gosh, I need to check in on Danielle's literary effort and consult a lawyer. As for your other question, none of your damned business!

Alexandria, Va.: Lloyd -- How does it make you feel when you have to work so hard to find tidbits for your column, while another Post columnist seems to do nothing more than trawl through his voice mail and e-mail, copying and pasting whatever readers give him, and turn the chaff into a daily column? The guy obviously can't write -- he uses every cliche he can unearth -- and never misses a chance to scold people who disagree with him. He's the least funny guy on a decidedly humorless comics page. You must be outraged. If not, you should be!

Lloyd Grove: Well. I feel fine about what I do. As for your comments about "the other guy," I disagree with them--and I think the evidence suggests that most readers do, as well. But I'm glad that you're reading the paper, and if you run across anything that you think would fit in the reliable source, please get in touch.

Bethesda, Md.: Oooooohh....Lloyd! Dis on the President. And just a few weeks ago I was saying how nice you are to everyone. But wait ... you are stating the facts so it's not personal. Nevermind, I take it back. You're still nice.

Lloyd Grove: Of course I'm nice.

Washington, D.C.: 10 minutes in and no conservative-bashing yet from the peanut gallery? What's going on here? Am I in the right chat?

Lloyd Grove: Well apparently there was some from me just now.

Orlando, Fla.: Thurday's column by Safire, as well as others, appears to put on us notice to expect little of the European summit and that any failings in Bush's trip to Europe should be blamed on the Europeans and not on Bush. Is this "spin?" And, if so, is it possible that the administration "prompted" such a story to create political cover.

This story just as easily could have been written as a test of the administration's diplomatic skills, given the problems we now face in Europe. Instead, it is written in much the same way as many of last fall's campaign stories -- at least by many of the writers committed to a Bush election -- and that is, to create low expectations and/or blame failures on others. A more recent example is the conservative press' initial explanation of Jeffords's actions to join the Democratic caucus. Initially, the explanation was that Jeffords's action were either brought about by circumstances beyond Bush's control or the blame lies with the actions of heavy handed assistants, but not Bush himself.

Lloyd Grove: I'm afraid I agree that Bush should not be judged by whether or not he can win over a bunch of European bureaucrats. I think most people would say he has the right idea when he says his main job is to pursue our own interests, not suck up to the folks who supported the inclusion of Libya and Sudan on the UN Human Rights Commission while kicking the United States off. Pul-leeze! Anyhow, while Dubya is clearly no braniac when it comes to Europe, we can't spend all our time and effort trying to get them to like us--a fool's errand, at best.

McLean, Va.: Who is your girlfriend?

Lloyd Grove: Where have you been? Don't you follow my private life in the gossip columns? I thought everybody did!

NYC: But again, why Tenet and not Colin Powell? Powell seems wheeled out for big, idealistic statements and then hidden away. Do Powell and Rice get along? Powell and Bush II? What's the word inside the Beltway?

Lloyd Grove: Powell seems to get along fine with Rice, but it seems to me he's made some missteps in the Middle East -- for instance, publicly calling on Sharon to withdraw troops from Gaza instead of doing it the proper way through private diplomacy. I believe Powell and Bush II like one another--obviously, Bush wouldn't have appointed him if that weren't the case--but they are not close. Condi and Bush, on the other hand, are very very close.

20036: Hey, Lloyd! How come The Post didn't run anything about the fact that Vladimir Zhirinovsky sent a scolding letter to Jenna Bush? I would have thought that would have been perfect for you! I read in the London Times that he told her that she had to think about her parents' position, and that she should think of him as an uncle giving advice to his nieces. Also that when she was 21, she should come visit him in Moscow, where he would show her around and no one would think of offering her alcohol.

Lloyd Grove: I don't know, other than the fact that Zhironovsky is a publicity-seeking scumbag.

Alexandria, Va.: Regarding Christopher Dodd, now that he is going to be a father, do you think he will curb his hard-imbibing ways with the Senior Senator from Massachusetts? The waitress sandwich incident at the Monocle comes to mind ...

Lloyd Grove: That's old news, I'm afraid. It's been years and years since Chris and Ted misbehaved in public places.

Vienna: The CIA's involvement in the Middle East began back during the Clinton presidency. When Bush first started, he put it on hold for a while and just resumed it.

Lloyd Grove: Thanks for the info.

Washington, D.C.: Senator sighting: Saw John Kerry driving in Georgetown, 8 a.m. on Wednesday. He drives a PT Cruiser.

Lloyd Grove: Hope he wasn't driving over open manholes.

Brattleboro, Vt.outfit: An idea for "anarchists"....

... Next time you protest a big world meeting of corporate nuts, skip the anarchist outift. The news people get all hung up on your masks and black scarves and miss the point.

Instead, organize a bit more and start wearing 3-piece suits to these things. Throw briefcases. Look clean-cut. Make it impossible for the TV crews to label you. Imagine the headlines and photos....

Just a suggestion.

P.S. Lloyd ... I can't sleep at night...are we or are we not on better terms with Slovania now? It must be important if the prez goes there, eh?

Lloyd Grove: A very good suggestion. On Slovania, I give you a resounding yes (if only to help you sleep, 'cause I haven't the foggiest!).

LJ Arlington, Va.: Re: Does George W usually raise his voice when explaining things?

I think we were witnessing the American ForeignLanguagee Syndrome: If you speak English louder and slower, the foreigner will understand what you are saying. You see it all the time.


Lloyd Grove: That's true, but he does the same thing at home as well.

12th Floor Metro Center: Hi Lloyd, quick question, what are your thoughts on Ted Casablanca and his style of reporting? Do you think he makes up some of the things he teases his readers with? He'll say the craziest things and drop a few hints, but won't name who he's referring to. It drives me up a wall. (Hopeyou'ree enjoying your new condo.)

oh, and Hi Bud!

Lloyd Grove: I'm afraid I'm not a scholar on the Casablancaoeuvree. I assume he operates with different rules and regs than I do, but it's a free country, and as long as he stays out of the libel court, then I wish him well. And I am.

D.C.: What's the waitress-sandwich-Monocle incident? Or am I showing bad form by asking?

Lloyd Grove: Well, it wasn't at the Monocle, it was a La Brasserie, allegedly in an upstairs room. The two of them, quite drunk, were said to have manhandled their waitress, throwing her on the table and slobbering all over her--it was reported in a Mike Kelly profile of Kennedy in GQ, I believe. But this is from the 80s--pre Vicki Kennedy and pre-Jackie Clegg.

Bethesda, Md.: I was disappointed to find that everything in today's Names & Faces came from articles I had already read yesterday night on the AP. It seemed like a cop-out by Zanko to me. Is this customary? What percentage of info for The Reliable Source do you get from the AP?

Lloyd Grove: Names & faces is designed to be a compilation of staff and wire reports. As for me, I try to keep the column as fresh and original as I possibly can, and when I use wires I let people know.

Arlington, Va.: Lloyd, if you had over $100,000 in INTEL stock, would you know better than to meet with INTEL lobbyists so as not to create an apparent conflict of interest? Did Karl Rove?

Lloyd Grove: maybe I flatter myself by saying I wouldn't do something as incredibly stupid and dunderheaded as Karl appears to have done. I expect Dan Burton to call hearings immediately. Oh maybe not.

Capitol Hill Phil: Hello Lloyd.
I'm in the mood for some good DISH this muggy D.C. day. Who is the most arrogant, me-me-me celebrity you've met in the past year? Who's your all-time worst? Who's the Nicest?
Dish on, dude !!!!

Lloyd Grove: Most arrogant celebrity? That's difficult because when i meet them they tend to be nice. I still find it amusing that William Styron got all huffy with Beth Berselli -- a nicer person you couldn't find--when he discovered that she hadn't read every last word he had ever committed to paper. As for nice celebrities, I was charmed by Sarah Jessica parker when I met her at the Vanity fair oSCAR party recently.

Lost in the Ozone Again: Hey! It's June already! Ain't it about time for another Barbra Streisand farewell concert tour?

Lloyd Grove: Sure why not. Better that than another political memo.

Arlington: Where's Dave from Herndon?

Lloyd Grove: Good question. Maybe he's out beating the pavement looking for a job. He tells me he was fired recently from the dot-com he worked for.

Somewhere out there: I saw Senator Dodd and his wife at a benefit for the Very Special Arts on Tuesday at the Brazilian Embassy, and he did announce, in a booming voice (much to her consternation), that his wife is indeed pregnant and expecting in September. He said "I'm just so happy, I want everyone to know!!!" She was heard to mutter "he's so obnoxious" as they walked off the stage...

Lloyd Grove: I'm sure she was speaking in the humorous vein. or at least I hope.

Chicago: How come nothing fun ever happens in Chicago? I never should have moved out here.

Lloyd Grove: Really? The City of Big Shoulders is a great place, I would have thought. Have you had more fun and amusement in another locale? Any thoughts about how to have a good time in Chi-town? If so, post them here.
Post SOMETHING here, anyway. Are you guys punishing me for having deserted you last week?

Georgetown: Don't you mean Slovenia?

Lloyd Grove: Yes of course I do. I think Slovania is the country between Slovenia and Slovakia.

Tysons: Word over in the "Tell Me About It" chat two weeks ago was that Carolyn finds you the most attractive of her Post Columnist buds...

Are you unable to control your appeal at the staff meetings? Please do so for Nick if nothing else!

How do you feel about your readers turning your column into a Melrose episode?

Lloyd Grove: I heard that quite the contrary, Carolyn believes me to be a fastidious prig who nevertheless agrees with her politically. And I think we should do everything we can to turn our efforts into a primetime Generation-Y soap, absolutely.

LJ Arlington, Va.: Re: . But this is from the 80s--pre Vicki Kennedy and pre-Jackie Clegg ...

Doesn't this fall behind the President's officially approved veil of silence? Nothing counts when it was that long ago (or does that only apply to Republicans?)


Lloyd Grove: It turns out that nearly 50 percent of the electorate--based on Bush's popular vote, only half a million behind Gore's--agrees with you.

Sacramento, Calif.: What would you say if you knew the Sacramento Bee plagiarizes your column on a daily basis?

Lloyd Grove: I would be quite disturbed. Tell me more.

Re: Taking Europe by Calm: In the article, it said that First Lady Bush carries credit cards?

Aren't all their personal effects stored somewhere?

Lloyd Grove: I wouldn't think so. The first lady is allowed to go shopping, and even the president has to buy birthday and Christmas presents.

Laurel, Md.: Hey Lloyd! Do you think DC Mayor Williams will escape the exploding manholes problem? Just his tough luck that it plagues Georgetown instead of, say, Anacostia.

Lloyd Grove: In the end, I think he'll be able to surmount this issue if he does enough sucking up in the right places. (Also, it might help if he fixed the damned problem!). And your point about Anacostia, for the moment, is well taken. Until politicians start feeling the heat from those and other precincts, they will always pay more attention to the areas that give them the most grief.

D.C.: I saw an ad in the Weekend section last week -- a call for extras for a movie shooting in D.C. with "an Academy-award winning director and star." Any idea who's involved or what the movie is? I meant to go to the casting call just to find out, but I fell asleep.

Lloyd Grove: You know I haven't any idea--I've been on vacation. But if anybody knows and can post an answer in the next eight minutes, please do so.

New York, N.Y.: Lloyd-

In announcing the eventual ending of the bombings in Vieques yesterday, President Bush referred to Puerto Ricans as "our friends and neighbors." Who exactly does "our" refer to? Does he not know Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens?

Lloyd Grove: That's a very good question. But I suppose, speaking charitably, he can argue that they can be our friends and neighbors and our citizens. But that's speaking charitably.

Dave from Herndon: Hi Lloyd,

Sorry for my absence. I was out beating the pavement looking for a job. As I told you, I was fired recently from the dot-com I worked for.

Let's see, what's new...no big celebrity sightings to speak of. I started the DailyQuiz again. (I'll send you an invite.) Had a date with Ingrid tonight, but she got a ticket to U2 and canceled. I think that's about it. I promise to improve my attendance.

Your pal,


Lloyd Grove: Thanks for the report, Dave. I guess this is further evidence that I am very well briefed on your comings and goings.

Tucson, Ariz.: You avoided my question on mooning the President? While mooning would not be my favorite method of protest, I think I prefer the method of the young gentleman from Notre Dame who turned his back and knelt in prayer when Bush gave the commencement speech, still you have to admit a couple of thousand very pale Swedish backsides is effective in signaling disdain.

Lloyd Grove: Is that they were doing? I thought it was the European branch of Deke, showing solidarity with President Dubya.

Bethesda, Md. again: To Chicago---hey, what do you mean there is no good gossip in Chicago? Just check out all the antics of Mayor Daley, by far the most humorous and anecdotal politician in this day and age. When asked once why didn't he stop the cheating that was going on during the police examination, he proclaimed (and I'm not kidding): "What do you want me to do? Let them pee in their pants?". Chicago is great for political gossip--I truly miss it

Lloyd Grove: There you go.

Washington, DC: I believe the movie "casting call" for extras here in D.C. last week features Ben Affleck and Denzel Washington. I'm not sure if there is a female lead or what the movie is titled.

Lloyd Grove: Thanks for the scoop.

D.C.: Overheard someone say they heard Lelyveld was going to the L.A. Times earlier this week. Have you heard anything about this?

Lloyd Grove: Well, if true, it won't happen till after he retired from the NY Times. The Times does have a strict age policy, but maybe the LA Paper does not. I know that here at the Post, you can work till you drop.

D.C.: Vernon Jordan drives a PT Cruiser too.

Lloyd Grove: I used to know Vernon when he drove a fire-engine red Cadillac Cimarron convertible.

Washington, D.C.: Lloyd,

There's plenty of stuff going on with D.C.'s TV news reporters that you're not covering too well. For instance, I noticed that Shari Macias of Ch.4 news had a pretty shiny rock on her hand. Since I'm getting married soon, I am registered on www.weddingchannel.com. Just for fun, I entered her name and lo and behold, a wealth of juicy tidbits on her engagement and the man she's about to marry. I guess she'll be leaving this area real soon.

Lloyd Grove: thanks for the tip. I'll take a look at the site when I return next week.

Arlington: "The Sum of All Fears"...Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman. In case anyone really cares.

Lloyd Grove: Thanks.

Alexandria, Va.: Is it just me, or do PT Cruisers look an awful like those cars the Nazis used to drive around in?

Lloyd Grove: You're right. That's EXACTLY what they look like.

Overpriced Arlington: Hi Lloyd -

Happy belated Flag Day. Has Al Gore really gained the 40+ lbs. I keep hearing about?

Lloyd Grove: The figure I hear is closer to the 30 pounds. But, hey, I personally get around that question by refusing to weigh myself, for any reason, ever.

Lloyd Grove: Well, I seem to be out of questions or comments, and it's noon, so I'll be getting outta here. Thanks everybody for taking part, and I'll see you back here next Friday art 11 a.m. Drink plenty of liquids this weekend. Bye.


That was our last question today. Thanks to everyone who joined the discussion.

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