Bob Cusack, a longtime journalist and managing editor of the Hill newspaper, has interviewed plenty of lobbyists, but on last Sunday night’s episode of HBO’s “Veep,” he played one on TV.

Cusack moonlights as a SAG card-carrying actor, appearing as an extra in such movies “Clear and Present Danger,” “Dave” and HBO’s “Game Change.” In his episode of the comedy “Veep,” he had an actual scene, and a line or two, playing Michael Cunningham, a pro-life K Street-er brought in to meet with finger-to-the-wind Vice President Selina Meyer, as she tries to decide whether she’s pro-life or pro-choice. There’s a bit of comedic business as the vice president’s staffers try to keep lobbyists on either side of the issue from running into one another (spoiler: They fail, natch).

Cusack (full disclosure: he’s a friend and former editor of mine) drew on firsthand observations for his portrayal of the smarmy-smiled, be-suited influence peddler in the show that wins plaudits for nailing inside-the-Beltway customs. “Lobbyists are always trying to get in the room, always trying to get the meeting,” he says, “so I know that kind of mentality.”

And if official Washington is fascinated by Tinseltown types, it turns out the feeling is mutual: Cusack filmed the scene in Columbia, Md., last fall and says the cast peppered him with questions about the then-ongoing government shutdown.

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