Ed Rendell and Margaret Carlson at a book party she hosted for the former Pennsylvania governor at her Georgetown home on Thursday. (Amy Argetsinger/The Washington Post)

You cynics rail against Washington’s incestuous media-political culture all you want, but consider this: Ed Rendell is the reason Margaret Carlson has grandchildren!

So the pundit divulged Thursday night at the party she hosted in her Georgetown backyard honoring the former Pennsylvania governor and his new book, one of those ex-pol-plan-to fix-America tomes with the classically pugnacious title, “A Nation of Wusses.”

In 1999, when Rendell was headed to Washington as the new DNC chair, Carlson, then a Time columnist (she’s now with Bloomberg), got to know Rendell’s spokesman, David Yarkin — and quickly sized him up as A Good One. When Yarkin moved to town, she arranged to take him to lunch, and oh-so-casually invited her single daughter Courtney along at the last minute.

“It was love at first sight,” Carlson said, beaming — though the couple, now the parents of three children and colleagues in a consulting firm with Rendell, recall a blurrier start. Courtney Carlson said they started spending time together as platonic pals; their second date was at a get-to-know-Rendell gathering for journalists.

Oh, so you were dating by then? “David, were we dating then?” she asked her husband. “I was dating you,” he said, “but you weren’t dating me yet.”

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