The Two Mr. Warners
The father is a powerful politician and dashing bachelor -- the 76-year-old chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who, like a lot of men, was once married to Elizabeth Taylor. The son is a former professional race car driver and also a dashing bachelor -- a 40-year-old filmmaker who once dated Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward's daughter Clea.
And now John Warner III, aka "Dad," and John Warner IV, aka "Johnny," have collaborated on a movie, "Wendell Scott." It's the younger Warner's look at "the Jackie Robinson of motor sports," and airs Sunday at 10 a.m. on the History Channel.
Dad narrates the hour-long documentary chronicling Scott's rise from Danville, Va., bootlegger to the country's most prominent African American in white-dominated stock car racing.
"I thought, well, why not my dad?" said Johnny, who co-produced the movie with former CNN journalist Frances Causey. "He's got a great voice, and he's a Virginian."
"I got a bit of a Southern accent," said Dad, "which I think goes with this particular film."
Johnny added: "And we always wanted to do a project together. His career and my career never really mixed."
The other day, in the elegantly furnished Senate office of Virginia's senior Republican, the two Warners said they haven't worked together since Johnny was a Senate intern 20 years ago. "He was here in 1984, and he refused to come back up here for about eight years," Dad chuckled. "Naw, that's not true," Johnny insisted.
"I've got to show you a funny picture," Dad said, and retrieved a framed photo of the two of them from that time. "Working for you is fun," reads Johnny's inscription, "but never again."
Dad: "He worked for me one summer for no pay."
Johnny: "That's right, he owes me. Although he did pay for college."
Dad: "Johnny's a tough taskmaster."
Johnny: "He is very good at taking direction. Dad doesn't get much of a chance to take orders."
Dad: "But we did a little rewriting, too. A little grammar, a little editing, a little syntax. I guess where I made some modest contribution is that I understand the ear of a listener and a viewer -- and particularly the types of folks that would be interested in this sort of film. I'd say, 'Johnny, that's too big a word. Let's go to a simple sentence and not a compound sentence.' "
Johnny: "We were on a very tight budget."
Dad: "And let it be said that one of the advantages was: his father, no cost. I worked so cheap that it's a zero."
Colin Powell's Short Course in Diplomacy
* Secretary of State Colin Powell let his hair down Wednesday night during a spirited exchange with Washington area high school students and "60 Minutes" star Ed Bradley. During the hour-long session at Black Entertainment Television's D.C. studios, Powell shared details of his relationship with President Bush, mused about his status as a powerful African American and slammed the Chile policy of his fellow Republican Henry Kissinger, a famed predecessor at the State Department.
The Post's Hamil R. Harris reports that 17-year-old student James Doubeck challenged Powell to explain why the United States is morally superior to Iraq when the U.S. backed the bloody 1973 coup against democratically elected Chilean President Salvador Allende. "It is not a part of American history that we are proud of," Powell conceded, offering implied criticism of Kissinger. "We now have a more accountable way of handling such matters, and we have worked with Chile to help it put in place a responsible democracy." Kissinger didn't respond yesterday to Powell's remarks, which were broadcast last night on BET.
On Bush, Powell said: "When we disagree about something, he hears my disagreement. He argues back with me, we have a good debate and we come to a conclusion, and he makes a decision. He is the president of the United States and my job is to serve him." On race, he said: "I am not the black secretary of state. There is not a white secretary of state. . . . I am the secretary, who is proud to be black and in a Republican administration."
Off camera, Powell told Nick Cannon, star of the movie "Drumline": "I took my grandson to see 'Drumline' and it was awesome." And he told Harris: "It was an opportunity to talk to youngsters. I love talking to youngsters. I wish I had more time with them."
THIS JUST IN...
* Swedish ambassador Jan Eliasson and wife Kerstin added a touch of the melodramatic to their intimate black-tie farewell dinner Wednesday night for their soon-departing British counterparts, Christopher and Catherine Meyer. "I have to announce that there's a news bulletin," Eliasson declared grimly at his Nebraska Avenue mansion, and steered the guests to a big screen off the living room. Then flashed an urgent BBC television report from anchor Mishal Husain and correspondent John Leyne about "the surprise departure of one of the most powerful men in Washington . . . . leaving the United States under mysterious circumstances." Mysterious indeed, as Leyne's man-in-the-street interviews indicated. "Sir Christopher who?" asked Catherine Meyer in a cameo.