GAIL'S GOOF CORNER
* Today, a twofer of bloopers from Gail Sheehy's "Hillary's Choice":
On Page 209, the first lady's psychobiographer writes that even some of her admirers believed: " 'There's something a little Al Haig-ish about her' (referring to Nixon's chief of staff, who seized the moment of his president's resignation to tell the world he was now in charge)." Nope. Haig said it in March 1981, when he was secretary of state for the just-shot Ronald Reagan. On Page 42, Sheehy introduces Clinton pal Eleanor Dean Acheson as "E.D., as she was known," and refers to her as "E.D." repeatedly. Acheson, assistant attorney general for policy planning, is known as Eldie.
Clarence and Norman: Comfort and Joy
* In the spirit of peace on Earth and good will toward men, we can now reveal the beginning of a beautiful friendship between Clarence Thomas and Norman Lear. Yep, there are fond feelings between the conservative Supreme Court justice whose 1991 confirmation hearings polarized the nation and the lefty TV mogul whose liberal lobbying group, People for the American Way, helped deny Thomas's ideological soul mate, Robert Bork, a High Court seat in 1987.
"I don't have to agree with people to be with them. I can enjoy their humanity," Lear told us about his secret meeting with Thomas earlier this year at the behest of a mutual friend, conservative radio host Armstrong Williams, who often serves as a bridge between Thomas and his adversaries. "I met with Justice Thomas in his chambers, along with my wife and two of my older daughters. I liked him. He couldn't have been more gracious. . . . We talked a great deal about what he went through in his confirmation hearings, and we discussed our disagreements. It was nice to believe that he could be thinking about me, 'Hey, for a liberal, this isn't such a bad guy.' "
Lear said he hopes to meet again soon with Thomas (who didn't return our calls). We were so overwhelmed with yuletide warmth that we asked Lear if he'd also like to do lunch with Judge Bork. "You could arrange a lunch with Bork? I'd love to!" We await Bork's response.
Got a hot tip or a nagging question? Dish with Lloyd Grove today at 11 a.m. EDT at www.washingtonpost.com/ liveonline.
THIS JUST IN . . .
* Jerry Seinfeld's ex-girlfriend Shoshanna Lonstein burst into tears yesterday when a TV reporter in Miami asked her about the comedian's impending marriage to Jessica Sklar. Lonstein was touting her dress line at the Saks Fifth Avenue in Bal Harbour, a witness told us.
* The Post's Ann O'Hanlon reports that the folks at Mount Vernon are crushed that President Clinton won't be attending the Dec. 18 ceremony marking the 200th anniversary of George Washington's death. A White House official says Clinton is too busy with his radio address and a holiday dinner.
* Sen. Rick Santorum's wife, Karen, is suing her former Fairfax County chiropractor, David Dolberg, for $500,000, claiming he caused a painful herniated disk three years ago. Dolberg denies it. Roll Call reports that the Pennsylvania Republican told a jury this week that his wife's bad back is hurting his reelection prospects because she can't campaign. In a statement yesterday, Santorum said he's "fully supportive" of his wife, but won't comment further on this "personal family matter."
Today's Special: Interests
Pork will definitely be on the menu at the Caucus Room--not only the meat but the budget item. Washington super-lobbyists Haley Barbour and Tommy Boggs's $3 million, 240-seat restaurant for the political elite will also serve up power, influence, loopholes, money and all the other ingredients that make American Democracy great. The venture, joined by Carlyle Group honcho Ed Mathias and minority investors Terry McAuliffe and C. Boyden Gray, is expected to open next summer at Pennsylvania Avenue and Ninth Street NW.
A lobbyist-owned restaurant "at least has the virtue of clarity," said Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown yesterday when we told him about it. "There is absolutely no ambiguity here." California's former "Governor Moonbeam," whose 1992 presidential campaign was a primal scream against the "corruption" of politics by corporate greedheads, went on: "The agenda of a lot of lobbying involves eating and drinking, so it may be that this is an important new area for lobbyists to expand into. Why shouldn't lobbyists get more of their clients' money by directing it into the restaurant business? This is vertical integration, like Standard Oil."
Republican Barbour and Democrat Boggs, who run rival firms, put a less sinister spin on their high-priced steakhouse. "I think this town has been so hostile for the last few years," Boggs said, "and the restaurant is a place where people can meet and socialize and take some of the sting out of the public war going on between the parties." Barbour predicted that it will be "the kind of place where you can put the grind behind you." Boggs vowed to arrange for the business entertainment tax deduction, now 50 percent, to be restored to its formerly glorious 80 percent. "I want to get it up to 110 percent," Barbour chimed in.