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The Reliable Source

By Annie Groer and Ann Gerhart
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, September 15, 1998

  The Reliable Source

Eleanor Mondale on Her Presidential Visit
    Mondale Mondale, moving to end speculation. (Paul Hurschmann/AP)
When we last took note of Eleanor Mondale, she was nuzzling Revlon exec Ron Perelman at a dinner party at the home of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Teresa Heinz. Now the leggy TV reporter has a cameo in the Ken Starr report, flowing from a private visit she paid President Clinton last December that sent Monica Lewinsky into a paroxysm of rage.

The former White House intern went to the White House Dec. 6, 1997, to deliver a letter and gifts to Clinton, according to the report, but she had to cool her heels for 40 minutes outside the northwest gate. Betty Currie sent word that Clinton "already had a guest," a Secret Service agent let slip that Mondale was inside, and Lewinsky grew "livid" and "stormed away." Lewinsky suspected that Mondale was "romantically involved" with Clinton, the report offers in a footnote. The president then was "irate" that Lewinsky had been told.

Yesterday Mondale, who grew up in Washington as the daughter of former senator and vice president Walter Mondale, told The Source, "Ms. Lewinsky's speculation is baseless, and has absolutely no foundation in fact." She also issued this statement through CBS: "I was in Washington, D.C., to cover the Kennedy Center Honors. I briefly stopped at the White House to say hello on my way from the airport to interview the honorees, as our families have been friendly for decades.

"I have no knowledge of anything else that may have taken place that day."

Mondale, CBS "This Morning's" entertainment reporter, has been a sometime jogging partner of the president. She went for a bracing 7 a.m. run with him two summers ago in California, after she and others stayed up late with him nibbling fruit.

Attention, Bartlett's
Our Five Favorite Passages in the Starr report:

5. "According to Ms. Lewinsky, a senior adviser to the chief of staff, Barry Toiv, observed that she was getting a great deal of 'face time' with the President."
4. According to Lewinsky, White House aide Timothy Keating " 'told me I was too sexy to be working in the East Wing and that this job at the Pentagon where I'd be writing press releases was a sexier job.'"
3. After Lewinsky had a hissy fit outside the White House when she learned that Eleanor Mondale was visiting with Clinton, "the President told Captain Jeffrey Purdie, the Secret Service watch commander for the uniformed division at the time, 'I hope you use your discretion.'"
2. Referring to her soiled Gap dress, Lewinsky said "she had dined out after the radio address, 'so it could be spinach dip or something.'"
1. White House secretary Betty Currie "opened the door and said [referring to Lewinsky], 'Sir, the girl is here with the pizza.'"

The Mission
"Hang in there, wrap yourself in God and hang on to your child."

That's the expert advice that Effi Barry – no stranger to spousal disgrace – has for Hillary Rodham Clinton. The woman who wed Mayor Marion Barry in 1978, sat through lurid testimony about his womanizing and left him after his 1990 misdemeanor crack cocaine conviction told Oprah Winfrey yesterday that political marriages differ from other unions. She said she learned to "take in a room in 60 seconds" and know which women would catch her husband's eye.

When Winfrey asked why she thought the first lady keeps standing by her man, Barry replied: "It's about the mission. It's about public service."

Old-Fashioned Courting
When Krystal Bridgers met Phil Chenier at a friend's birthday party four years ago, he asked her out that day. She said, "No, thank you." She was younger than he and from Atlantic City, so his fame as a starting guard on the Bullets' only championship team (in 1978) did not carry the day with her. He had to pique her interest the old-fashioned way: with perseverance. In February, she agreed to a date. "And we've been together ever since," said Bridgers, 31, an account manager at radio station WASH-FM.

She and Chenier, 47, got married Saturday at the People's Community Baptist Church in Rockville, witnessed by many of his former teammates, including Kevin Grevey and Bobby Dandridge, and the assistant coach of that team, Bernie Bickerstaff, now coach of the renamed Wizards.

The Capitol Hill Chorale from the Capitol Hill Seventh Day Adventist Church, directed by WHUR-FM's Rocky Twyman, rocked the rafters. It's the first marriage for former model Bridgers; the second for Chenier, who broadcasts the Wizards games and is Howard Community College's student life director.

Questions, comments or enthralling inside information? Let the Sourcettes know about it!
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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