One Congressional Record (Or Was It?) That Everybody Read
Hill staffers possessed of naughty imaginations -- and perhaps too much time on their hands -- were madly swapping theories yesterday about the identity of a young Senate aide who kept what appeared to be a detailed online diary boasting of her many sexual partners. The woman's explicit accounts of her alleged frolics -- including an affair "with a married man who pays me for sex" -- were given wide notice this week by Ana Marie Cox, the Washington cyber-gossip at www.wonkette.com, who posted the diary.
"I just took a long lunch with X and made a quick $400," the low-level staff assistant, who calls herself Washingtonienne, wrote Tuesday afternoon. "I heard that my boss was asking about my whereabouts. Loser."
That was her last entry before the Web log mysteriously vanished from its hosting site, Blog*Spot. She had earlier described "X" as a married "chief of staff at one of the gov agencies, appointed by Bush."
The scandal-provoking staffer works in the office of Ohio's senior senator, Republican Michael DeWine. "We're looking at it right now. We're looking into the situation," DeWine's communications director, Mike Dawson, told us yesterday, but declined to provide any details.
It's unclear whether any of the entries were written on Senate computers or, for that matter, whether the diary is a work of fact or fiction. But certain details ring true, such as her salary ("how can anybody live on $25K/year?") and descriptions of office romances ("The intern did not show at the party on Saturday. . . . I don't need anymore sex scandals at work. But I'm bummed that he is not as interested as I had imagined.")
Cox, who has not made public the aide's name, said: "It is no more fictional than anybody's diary. My gut feeling is that it's true. She's pretending to take pride in her own degradation and I don't think you can fake that. I do think she's a good writer. I hope that she gets a book deal and gets some therapy."
A Family Effort
* Those fun-loving Bush twins are joining the ranks of campaign kids. They've opted to spend the first few months after their college graduations working on their dad's reelection effort, Laura Bush says.
"Barbara and Jenna have not decided what role they will have on their father's campaign yet, but they will be volunteering their time," the first lady's spokesman, Gordon Johndroe, told us yesterday. They'll most likely end up at the Bush-Cheney '04 headquarters in Arlington, but may hit the campaign trail "if they have the confidence," Laura Bush told Reuters.
On "The Tonight Show" last night, host Jay Leno bantered with the first lady about her relationship with George, her workout routine and the persistent impression that the president doesn't read newspapers.
"He really does read the newspaper, just not the reporters that follow him," she said.
"Now why is that?" Leno asked.
"Because he says he doesn't want to be mad at them the next day. Also, because he was there at the event, so he doesn't need to really read their coverage of it." (Guffaws!)
She told Leno she works out with weights with a trainer two or three days a week. "I'm getting quite buff." (Wild applause!)
"Do you think in a fight you could you take Teresa Heinz?"
Laura Bush laughed. "Very funny."
Asked about the last time she had a "disagreement on an issue" with her husband, the first lady, who just visited Las Vegas, quipped: "Jay, what happens in the White House stays in the White House."
On the West Wings of Love
* Former Clinton White House economic adviser Gene Sperling, once dubbed Washington's most eligible bachelor by W magazine, is finally engaged at 45. The bicoastal relationship started three years ago when Sperling met Allison Abner, 38, at a Hollywood lunch for staffers of the NBC series "The West Wing," where she was a writer and he a consultant. He proposed last month beneath the same oak in Big Sur, Calif., where Abner's parents had wed. (How romantic!)
They expect to tie the knot by summer's end. It's the second marriage for Abner, mother of a 9-year-old son and now a writer and producer for the CBS show "Without a Trace." Sperling told us: "I've been in the quasi-spouse-parent role for a while now, so I'm comfortable and overjoyed by it."
Meanwhile, "The West Wing" crew was spotted filming in Washington this week.
* In the wee hours yesterday morning, William Harrison Frist Jr. -- Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's son, who goes by the name Harrison -- was pulled over in Princeton, N.J., for improper passing, which led to his being charged with driving while intoxicated, police reported. The Princeton University sophomore, who turned 21 two weeks ago, was "polite and calm," Lt. Dennis McManimon told us. Frist was released shortly after 4 a.m. and has a court appearance next week. A spokesman for the senator offered no comment except, "This is a personal family matter."
* Congress: a thing of beauty? It was for more than 750 staffers and a few lawmakers yesterday in the Cannon Caucus Room, where they availed themselves of free haircuts, facials, manicures, makeup applications and massages from the Professional Beauty Federation, which came not just to lobby but also to prettify our elected leaders. Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.) got a manicure. Rep. Henry Brown (R-S.C.) opted for a massage. "This is the greatest part of a free government, when people can come and petition to their member of Congress [and] showcase what they do," Brown told The Post's Juliet Eilperin. "They're small businesses. This is what makes America strong."
CHRISTIE'S Founding Father and First President George Washington laid claim to a new title yesterday: the Six Million Dollar Man. This 1780-82 oil portrait by Charles Willson Peale was sold at Christie's in New York for $6,167,500 -- a record for the artist, according to the auction house. The buyer was identified only as an American private collector.
With Anne Schroeder