Richard Nixon, who can't even plan his presidential library without controversy, will open the facility to all researchers and scholars regardless of their viewpoints. Library officials had said earlier that researchers would be screened based on the "slant and content" of their intended work. Author Bob Woodward was cited as an example of someone who would not be permitted into the library because he "is not a responsible journalist." Nixon supporters have long memories about Washington Post Assistant Managing Editor Woodward's role with Carl Bernstein in reporting the Watergate break-in that set in motion the scandal that subsequently forced the president to resign his office.

A statement issued Monday through Nixon's personal assistant, John Taylor, said those wishing to use the library in Yorba Linda, Calif., which is to open in the fall of 1991, will be admitted "without regard to their opinions on any subject," as long as they are "qualified and responsible." The wording still seems to give library officials a right to exclude some scholars, but Taylor said the statement "is not artfully worded to rationalize excluding certain people."

Out and About

It will be a star-studded though intense Congressional Arts Caucus luncheon tomorrow in the Rayburn House Office Building. The subject will be the reauthorization legislation that will set policy for the embattled National Endowment for the Arts for the next five years. Some 100 members of the caucus will hear from director Joseph Papp, actress Kathleen Turner, and actors Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline. Papp is an outspoken critic of any restrictions on NEA grants, and the three stars, all supporters of the endowment, will plead for as few restrictions as possible. Sen. Jesse Helms, the NEA's biggest critic, is not a member of the caucus and won't be there. Among the caucus members expected are Sens. Alan Simpson, James Jeffords, Bob Packwood and Chuck Robb and Reps. Sid Yates, Vic Fazio and Bob Carr ...

In a touching note read to the mourners at the memorial service for Steven Martindale last night, actress Lily Tomlin sent her regrets for not being there, saying she "preferred not to mourn his death, but to celebrate his life." And then capturing the essence of Martindale, best remembered for his social presence in Washington, Tomlin said, "Wherever he is, let's hope he's on the A-list. " About 200 friends gathered at the All Souls Episcopal Church to pay tribute to Martindale, who had AIDS and died last month. Among them were Lady Bird Johnson's former press secretary Liz Carpenter, former presidential aide Michael Deaver, hairdresser Robin Weir, socialite Buffy Cafritz, Ford's Theatre Director Frankie Hewitt, Sen. Claiborne Pell (D-R.I.) and former senator Gaylord Nelson ...

Washingtonian magazine National Editor Martin Schram has signed a six-figure contract with Little, Brown and Co. for a book about The Washington Post and the New York Times. His agent, Ron Goldfarb, said the working title of the book is "Dueling Giants: Tales of Power, Arrogance and Glory Inside the New York Times and the Washington Post." Schram is a former Washington Post reporter ... Washington writer Patricia O'Brien, author of two nonfiction works, "The Woman Alone" and "Staying Together," has signed a contract with Simon and Schuster for her first novel. A former Knight-Ridder and Chicago Sun-Times reporter, O'Brien doesn't have a working title for the novel, but it has a very Washington topic -- families and politics and what happens when they collide ...

Hospital Report: Jazz great Ella Fitzgerald has been admitted to a hospital in the Hague, suffering from dehydration. The 72-year-old music legend was in the Netherlands for the North Sea Jazz Festival. She is in stable condition in intensive care and is being given fluids ...

If you listen carefully in the slam-bang film "Die Hard 2," you'll notice that the name of the obnoxious television reporter, the same as in the first movie, is Dick Thornburgh. People at the Justice Department are greatly, albeit carefully and quietly, amused ...

A special five-foot tombstone was erected on Mel Blanc's grave yesterday to coincide with the first anniversary of the death of the versatile voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester the Cat and so many other cartoon characters. It is engraved with his famous Looney Tunes sign off: "That's All Folks" ...