Brushing Up on His Undercover Techniques?
It's only fitting that when Mike Myers, aka "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery," vacations in Washington, he'd drop by the International Spy Museum. Which he did Tuesday evening, with wife Robin Ruzan and another couple.
Executive director Peter Earnest told us that Myers offered sophisticated observations and questions about spycraft while he gave him a personal tour. "I was stunned by his grasp of the subject. And my background is 36 years in the CIA. . . . I was impressed and I'm not easily impressed."
Through a rep, Myers gushed about the museum: "Heard it was great -- and it is!"
The shagadelic star also paid a call yesterday on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), who arranged a tour of the Capitol for him. Myers holds a dual Canadian-U.S. citizenship, and records show he is registered to vote as a Democrat in New York.
For Baucus, No More Ado About Mulch
* The Great Mulch Affair appears to be over. In what her attorney called a "swift and quiet resolution," Wanda Baucus, wife of Montana Sen. Max Baucus, reached a deal yesterday to avoid prosecution on the misdemeanor assault charge she faced after that embarrassing incident at a Washington garden center in April.
Baucus, 56, accused of striking another female shopper several times in a dispute involving mulch, will enter a six-month program for first offenders and will have a clean record if she successfully completes it. The program, according to the Associated Press, is expected to include 40 hours of community service and "some type of anger management training," but her attorney, David Schertler, told us, "I'm not at liberty to discuss the requirements for the program itself. . . . I'm clamming up." Baucus told reporters outside the courthouse that she felt "good" about the proceedings.
Meanwhile, her 62-year-old husband underwent a nonsurgical procedure Tuesday at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota to correct an irregular heartbeat. Doctors said Baucus was making a speedy recovery, and the Democrat issued a statement yesterday saying he was "feeling great" and would be back at work soon.
This Time, It's the President Who Surrenders
* After pressure from troops who wanted recognition for fighting in Iraq and in Afghanistan -- and not just in one all-encompassing "Global War on Terrorism" -- President Bush quietly signed legislation Friday night establishing separate new medals for their service.
A week before launching the Iraq invasion in March 2003, Bush established a single "Global War on Terrorism" medal that later proved unpopular in the ranks. But before recessing last month, the House and Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation to create Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom medals, giving troops specific recognition for the campaigns in which they served.
Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Tex.), a Vietnam combat vet who was among the bill's original sponsors, called the Global medal a "purely political" device that sought to more closely connect the Iraq war to the fight against al Qaeda. He criticized Bush's decision to sign the law without fanfare: "In Texas we would call it chicken[poop]," he told us yesterday. "We call it thumbing his nose at something he doesn't like."
The president had until Tuesday to sign the bill. A White House spokeswoman would say only that Bush chose to sign it while Congress was in recess.
The Pentagon told us yesterday that the process of creating the new medals may take up to a year.
* Michael Moore's controversial documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" finally has a U.S. release date. It will open on some 500 screens nationwide June 25.
With Anne Schroeder