Little (Dangerous?) Old Lady From Pasadena
* Doris "Granny D" Haddock is pretty steamed at Mitch McConnell, her Public Enemy No. 1. "Surely he doesn't like people to think of him as evil," said the 89-year-old great-grandmother of 11, who was visiting the Capitol yesterday to tout campaign finance reform. The Republican senator from Kentucky wants to kill the initiative dead. "He just couldn't like to go to bed at night and know that he's an evil man."
A long-retired shoe clerk from Dublin, N.H., Granny D has spent the past 9 1/2 months walking cross-country, collecting signatures and spreading the gospel. "I started January 1 and walked 2,300 miles from Pasadena to Nashville," she told us. "No one put me up to this. I put myself up to it. Actually, the Senate put me up to it. They say people don't care about this issue. But I can tell you they do care."
A compact five-footer, she manages to cover her 10 miles a day in about three hours while shouldering a rucksack and carrying a pro-reform flag on a pole. We wondered if she ever thought of maybe using the pole to poke Mitch in the ribs. "Why?" Granny D asked. "Would you like me to?"
No, no. Just asking.
Babe Magnet Bill
* The public knows Bill Maher as the wise-guy impresario of ABC's "Politically Incorrect," the late-night showcase for celebrities who jabber about issues of the day. But a select few know him as a babe magnet, always hanging out with models at L.A. bistros and giving Hugh Hefner a run for his money. "I would never put myself in the same league as Hef," said an all-too-modest Maher, who'll be in Baltimore today auditioning citizen-panelists for his TV show and at American University tomorrow night presenting his comedy stylings. "Hef has three girlfriends on permanent standby. He's got the twins, Mandy and Sandy, then the other girlfriend, Brandy, who preceded Mandy and Sandy but stayed around. That's the thing with Hef. You don't get dumped. You just get moved to the back of the line." Maher added: "I can't compete with him because I've got a job."
THIS JUST IN . . .
* Who Kent Cooke? Lawyers for Jacqueline Kent Cooke, the 11-year-old daughter of the late Jack Kent Cooke, are claiming that she should get the bulk of his approximately $1 billion fortune, and that estate trustee John Kent Cooke, Jack's 58-year-old son, should get zip. Jacqueline has already received $5 million, but her attorneys say John shortchanged her by giving a reported $20 million settlement to Marlene Kent Cooke, as the merry widow calls herself. Today Jacqueline's lawyers will ask a Fauquier County judge for permission to see paperwork related to the deal with Marlene, which they say will prove their case. The estate's lawyers say bollocks.
* Albany, N.Y., social worker David Kaczynski, who told authorities that his brother, Ted, was the Unabomber, has gone Hollywood, reports the Associated Press. David and his wife, Linda Patrik, who already have received a $1 million government reward for turning Ted in, will be paid consultants on a movie about their decision.
Arm-Twisting To the Millennium
Will Smith may have clout in Hollywood, but he got a sharp lesson in power Washington-style this week when his people sent the wrong signals about his participation in "America's Millennium," the White House-sponsored New Year's celebration on the Mall. Two weeks ago, White House organizers announced that Smith would serve as an emcee during the three-day mega-party produced by Quincy Jones and George Stevens Jr. But on Wednesday, when The Post's Susan Levine phoned the movie star's L.A. office, his manager, James Lassiter, wasn't thrilled. "Will was never confirmed as host," Lassiter insisted, while another of Smith's Hollywood reps--who didn't want to be identified--suggested that the White House had jumped the gun. Organizers were "a little overly ambitious," the rep claimed.
That's when the interesting part began. When Levine phoned around to get to the bottom of this ambivalence, the staff of event chairwoman Hillary Rodham Clinton was caught by surprise. "It's the first I've heard" that Smith was not nailed down, said spokeswoman Toby Graff. Producer Jones's publicist sounded equally flummoxed.
We shudder to think what forces were brought to bear on whom in the ensuing seven hours. All we know is that Marsha Berry, the first lady's communications director, phoned Levine around 8 p.m. to let her know that Lassiter would soon be calling. "Will is genuinely enthusiastic about being there," Smith's manager gushed. "I'm sure Will is going to do anything Quincy wants him to do."
Got a hot tip or a nagging question? Dish with Lloyd Grove today at 11 a.m. EDT at http://washingtonpost. com/liveonline.