The Washington Post

Arlen Specter book: naked senators, stiff drinks and a ‘hobo’


Sen. Arlen Specter’s assessment of Sarah Palin isn’t the only interesting tidbit in his book. (Gerald Herbert/Associated Press)

Tuesday, we brought you the squirm-inducing revelation from its pages that Specter thought Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin “radiated sensuality,” and for those who can’t get enough — there’s more where that came from.

We’ve sifted through the tome to bring you the best parts:

— He’s seen Ted Kennedy naked (p. 67). “For years when constituents or activists groused about Senate perks, I’d reply, ‘You wouldn’t say that if you had to see Ted Kennedy naked in the gym.’”

— And many other naked senators (p.68). Senate-gym protocol apparently calls for waiting your turn for a massage — but an unnamed colleague broke the unwritten rules. “I was walking undressed to the last [massage] table. Another senator, also naked, walked briskly, perhaps at a slight run, and slipped ahead of me. That was something senators just don’t do,” Specter wrote. We wish he’d named names.

Also, massages and long sits in Senate’s steam room seem to have fallen out of favor. But “Ted Stevens, Sam Nunn, John Warner, Dale Bumpers, and Ernest ‘Fritz’ Hollings were also big massage guys,” Specter recalls.

— He likes a stiff drink (p. 18, 292). Are you over cosmos? Try an “Arlen-tini,” a concoction he favors that consists of Beefeater’s gin, dry vermouth, heavy on the olives, straight up.

— Dick Cheney eats fried chicken and is a messy eater (p.65). In 2000, the soon-to-be-Vice President dined with Specter in the senator’s hideaway office. “I worried when he ordered fried chicken, after just suffering his fourth heart attack. But he devoured the bird, even dropping a piece that left a stain on the white carpet,” he wrote.

— Ben Bernanke dresses like a “hobo” (p. 75). Specter, a natty dresser himself, ran into the Fed chairman at a Phillies-Nationals game at RFK Stadium “I saw a bearded man in scruffy blue jeans, a baseball cap obscuring most of his face. He looked like a hobo,” Specter wrote.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.

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