Sorting Out Some '9/11' Huggermugger

Finally the mystery is solved: It turns out that Michael Moore and Tom Daschle have never hugged!

The senator faced a minor furor in his home state of South Dakota after Time magazine quoted Moore as saying Daschle "gave me a hug" after the Washington premiere of "Fahrenheit 9/11" at the Uptown last month. But Daschle averred he didn't even meet the rotund filmmaker that night.

Was Moore fabricating? No, he was just confused.

The hugger turns out to be Cam Cowan, a D.C. securities lawyer -- who does bear a resemblance to the Senate minority leader and has been mistaken for him before. Moore embraced him after the screening, Cowan tells us. "I extended my hand to shake his hand and he said a few words to me, including 'Thanks for being a good sport.' " (In the Time interview, Moore recalled telling "Daschle" that.)

"I was the wrong man in the wrong place, I guess," Cowan said.

To help lobbyists and voters avoid future hugging mishaps while in Washington, we herewith present a detailed comparison of both men's identifying features.

Pardon My French: The Young Teresa

* It wasn't quite their style of squealing funk-punk music, but an older couple from New York, Toni and James Goodale, swayed to the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Creative Coalition's bash last week at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. "I've raised a lot of money for the Democrats," Toni told us. "There has to be some payback for the [expletive] you have to put up with." Then she realized: "Wait, I guess you can't print [expletive]."

Soon conversation turned to her old friend Teresa Heinz Kerry. "Teresa and I roomed next to each other in a pensione in Geneva in 1962," Toni Goodale said. "I was on the Smith College junior year abroad program." Teresa, she recalled, was working as a translator at the United Nations. "I was dating a communist and she was dating Johnny Heinz."

But they shared a certain outspokenness. Also, swearing.

"She learned swearing from you!" claimed her husband, former counsel for the New York Times.

"No, I learned it from him!" Toni rejoined, indicating hubby. "Marry a newspaper guy and you become a sewer-mouth."


Straightening Out a Beautiful Case of Mistaken Identity

* And, in another case of mistaken identity, we totally goofed on a celebrity sighting at a Creative Coalition party Wednesday during the Democratic National Convention. We spotted a very lovely woman in the company of the impossibly handsome San Francisco mayor, Gavin Newsom. Perturbed at being blocked from a VIP area, the woman said, "Don't you know who I am?" while invoking the name Newsom.

But it was not Newsom's brunette wife, Court TV co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, who was in New York, far from the event. Said a Court TV rep: "Kimberly would never do that. She's not like that."

In fact, the other woman was a blond events staffer responding to a common problem for partiers all last week: VIP room gridlock. Many events were so overbooked that fire marshals had to keep beautiful people outside the velvet ropes, awaiting crowd reduction.

"That was the theme of the week," as a press aide for Gavin Newsom said Friday. Yes, you heard it everywhere: "Hope/help is on the way."

The Usual Suspects

An occasional feature revealing the secret lives of oft-quoted experts.


Occupation: Author of the new book "The Republican Noise Machine" and president of Media Matters for America, a Washington research center that tracks "conservative misinformation."

Born: July 23, 1962, in Hackensack, N.J.; grew up on Windsor Street and Sussex Road in Wood-Ridge, N.J.

Marital status: "Awaiting legalization."

Childhood pet: "A snarling white toy poodle, Pierre."

Everyone calls me: "I don't know what everyone calls me, but radio host Michael Savage has called me 'David Brockstein.' "

Celebrity I most resemble: "On a very good day, Rob Lowe as Sam Seaborn. On a bad day, Joshua Malina as Will Bailey. Both are from 'The West Wing,' the only network series I've ever seen. People can judge for themselves when they see me in the documentaries 'The Hunting of the President' and 'Outfoxed.' "

In my bedroom you'll find: "The noted D.C. restaurateur and art dealer James Alefantis."

People are stunned to learn: "That the Democratic convention was my first-ever convention, despite 18 years in D.C." (Fun fact: He leafleted against Bill O'Reilly at an arts panel discussion that included O'Reilly.)

Most notable characteristic: "Tenacity. I decided to stay and make a life here, even though in 1997 I had left a world that was my entire life: the American Spectator magazine."

When I'm good I'm very good, when I'm bad, I'm: "Conservative."

If I could be any superhero or cartoon character: "This is what I get for missing childhood. I can't really think of one."

Favorite quote: "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." -- A.J. Liebling.

Adult entertainment name (childhood pet plus street name): Pierre Windsor Sussex.

Nominate a Usual Suspect by e-mailing

With Anne Schroeder