Feisty, conservative television commentator James J. Kilpatrick was robbed at noon yesterday outside The Washington Star building as he was getting out of his green Volvo sedan.
"Give it to me! Give it to me," demanded one of two teen-age boys, who, according to police, reached into his coat pocket, pushed a hard object against Kilpatrick's chest and shoved the syndicated columnist back into the car.
Kilpatrick, the tough law and order advocate who formerly singed liberal ears as the resident conservative on CBS' "60 Minutes," handed over his silver Timex watch, his checkbook, wallet containing $30 to $40, credit cards and his White House press pass.
Kilpatrick, 59, who was not harmed but mentally "shaken," according to a person who saw him, told D.C. police that he thought the robbers had a gun.
"He wasn't physically hurt but he was terribly upset by having what appeared to be a gun poked at him," said Anna Molster, a Washington Star editorial assistant. "He had to sit down and get himself together. It was unnerving. Imagine, of all people to attack, a right-wing conservative. . . ."
Kilpatrick, who lives with his wife Marie and a collie on a farm nestled in the Blue Ridge near the crossroads of Scrabble about 70 miles from downtown Washington, was sleeping fitfully at home yesterday afternoon and unavailable for comment, according to his family.
"Right now he just doesn't want to talk about it," said Kevin Kilpatrick, 29, one of Kilpatrick's three sons. "He was a little shaken up, but he's feeling fine. He's resting right now."
Kilpatrick had gone to The Star to pick up mail and deliver a regular column he writes for The Washington Star-Universal Press Syndicate. "He's probably writing a column about it right now," said Molster.
After he was held up, Kilpatrick phoned his editorial assistant, Sheila Geoghegan, in Woodville, Va., and asked her to report his stolen credit cards -- including American Express, Exxon, Sears, Visa -- stop payment on his missing checks and notify the White House about the purloined pass.
"Couple of hoodlums," he said of the two robbers, who held him up beneath the underpass at the corner of 2nd Street and Virginia Avenue SE, ran into a nearby park and disappeared on foot.
Kilpatrick described the two as 17 or 18 years old, but "couldn't recall enough of a description" for police to put out a bulletin that would identify the robbers, a police spokesman said.
The White House thanked Geoghegan for calling. "You never can tell who might try to use the press pass," said a Secret Service spokesman.
"Do you mean the James Kilpatrick on TV?" asked a Sears credit department clerk. Indeed, she did.
Kilpatrick skipped an informal Gridiron Club lunch and the taping of the weekly "Agronsky and Company" television show. The program will air tonight on WDVM without him.
Detective T.A. Johnson and his partner, Bob Kiddy, drove beneath the Interstate 395 underpass and found Kilpatrick resting in his car, his head tilted back against the front seat. "He was very shaken up, which is normal for robbery victims," said Johnson.
Kilpatrick said he needed some fresh air and walked into The Star building, where a nurse administered smelling salts. He lay down, telling Johnson he thought he could have been killed.
"He said he felt funny," said Johnson, who tried to comfort Kilpatrick. "He'd never been robbed before. He was in awe and total amazement" that it had happened to him. "He was perplexed at the whole situation."