THIS JUST IN . . .
* Forging ahead with his charm deployment, Vice President Gore traded quips yesterday with antagonistic shock jock Don Imus--who posed this question (transcribed by the Hotline) about high-priced feminist sexologist Naomi Wolf: "Why would you want an adviser who has taken a highly public and controversial position recommending adding both masturbation and oral-sex instruction to our public school curriculum for young people?" Gore's reply: "I think she would probably challenge that interpretation. . . . Incidentally, Don, I need an adviser to tell me how to communicate to old men, and I was wondering if you might have some free time." Imus: "I probably could free up some time--for 15 grand a month."
* Really, we don't make this stuff up: Former secretary of state Alexander Haig somehow got himself booked on Britain's TV-news spoof "The 11 O'Clock Show," in which the anchor, known as Ali G., specializes in incendiary interrogation. According to The Post's T.R. Reid, Ali G. asked Haig: "Is it true, looking back now, that Reagan and Thatcher were actually, well, doing it?" A gob-smacked Haig replied: "Doing it? At that point in Ronald Reagan's life, he couldn't have done it if he'd wanted to."
* Singer Bonnie Raitt announced yesterday that after eight years of marriage, she's divorcing Michael O'Keefe, who's currently starring in the Kennedy Center's "Side Man."
More 'Fun Couple' News
Here's the latest weird twist in the four-month-old Gingrich divorce-- which is fast becoming the marital equivalent of the Microsoft suit: House staffer Callista Bisek was grilled yesterday morning by boyfriend Newt Gingrich's lawyers. During the 2 1/2-hour deposition at an Alexandria law office, the 33-year-old Bisek said she and Gingrich began their intimate relationship in November 1993, when Newt was separated from wife Marianne.
According to Newt's lawyer Randy Evans, Bisek also answered questions about gifts the 56-year-old former House speaker has given her. Aside from wine purchases, Newt apparently is not a big spender; before this year, his only presents were two CDs--a Johann Strauss collection and a Christmas album--and a book about Pope John Paul II. This year, Newt gave her a pearl ring, a set of golf clubs and some luggage. "There was just nothing to hide," Evans told us, adding that Bisek refused to answer queries about "the unseemly details of their physical contact."
Because of a scheduling snafu, Marianne's lawyers did not attend the session--which was odd because they've been trying to grill Bisek since August. "I have never seen a court case where a husband seeks to take the testimony of his own alleged paramour under oath, particularly when the alleged paramour will not agree to be deposed by the other spouse," Marianne's attorney, John Mayoue, told us. The parties are scheduled to appear in D.C. Superior Court on Nov. 23, while tomorrow down in Cobb County, Ga., Marianne's attorneys will try to force Newt to answer a long list of their own questions.
Life After ABC
* We got worried when we heard that Washington television journalist Renee Poussaint--a former correspondent for CBS News, then the longtime anchor at WJLA-TV and then a correspondent for ABC's "20/20"--is starring in an instructional video for jurors at the D.C. Superior Courthouse. "I cut that video ages ago," the fifty-something Poussaint told us with a laugh when we phoned to check up on her. "The awful thing is that I have had to sit there as a juror and listen to myself. What a wonderful experience."
Poussaint said she has been plenty busy with her real career since she left ABC three years ago: hosting "On the Inside," a celebrity profile show for the Discovery Channel (for one installment, Tony Bennett sketched an elegant portrait of her), and last December launching Wisdom Works, an independent film company. Her current project--for PBS's fall 2000 schedule--is "A Journey Towards Peace," a documentary about race relations in the United States and Africa, in which Archbishop Desmond Tutu and U.S. Race Commission Chairman John Hope Franklin play leading roles. Camille Cosby, wife of Bill, kicked in about $400,000 for the movie, and tonight South African Ambassador Sheila Sisulu hosts a reception at the embassy to introduce it.
The film features a multiethnic group of 21 high school students from the United States, Senegal and South Africa who spent a week talking with Tutu and Franklin on Goree Island, Senegal's onetime slave port. "This project is near and dear to my heart," said Poussaint, who lives in Adams-Morgan with husband Henry Richardson, an international law professor at Temple University. She added that she's exhilarated by her new adventure flying solo. "It's terribly terrifying," she said, in a tone that suggested that's a synonym for "fun."
Scouting for A Senate Ghost
* The Senate's nine women are looking for professional help to write an inspirational tome about overcoming obstacles and functioning successfully in Powertown. Lawyer Robert Barnett negotiated a solid six-figure advance from William Morrow, which wants to publish in time for next summer's political conventions. "We're looking for somebody with good creative-writing ability and executive organizing skills," Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), said oxymoronically. Her co-authors are Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins (both R-Maine), and Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein (both D-Calif.). After expenses, proceeds will go to the Girl Scouts of the USA.