After the Democrats' bitter gubernatorial primary last year, who'd expect the guys from Doug Duncan's campaign to start hanging with Martin O'Malley's camp? But they're new best friends now thanks to Chris Dodd. The Connecticut senator has managed to unite these erstwhile enemies - to work on his presidential campaign.
Scott Arceneaux, who was Duncan's campaign manager, is Dodd's national political director. Jonathan Epstein, who was O'Malley's campaign manager until one of those abrupt, this-is-mutual, we-think-three-months-before-the-primary -is-a-great-time-for-a-campaign-shakeup departures, is a senior Dodd adviser. Hari Sevugan, communications director for the O'Malley campaign, is Dodd's national deputy communications director. There's also an O'Malley finance person in Dodd's finance operation and a Duncan field guy in Dodd's political operation.
So do they ever kick back at the end of the day and talk about the good ol' days? You know, when the Duncanites were trashing O'Malley's crime stats and churning out the biting Top Ten list du jour? And when the O'Malley camp was - crueler still - ignoring Duncan?
If they're reminiscing, they're not doing it with me. I got a big, fat no-comment. Nor are they saying just how they all wound up with Dodd.
Campaign workers are a nomadic lot. They've got to find somebody who's hiring after their last race wraps up. But there are a lot of Democrats running for president. And Dodd isn't exactly a frontrunner. Is there something about this Nutmegger that appeals to Duncanites and O'Malley alums alike?
Sevugan would only say this much: "Chris Dodd's the type of guy that brings people together."
My guess: Like Duncan, Dodd's the underdog; and like O'Malley, he thinks he should be president.
Where are we anyway, Russia?
We all figured after Election Day that Maryland would shift leftward, but not this far: A Brewer's Hill bar is flying a Soviet flag out front.
Grundys sits in the shadow of the winking Natty Boh sign. Might as well be Lenin's bearded mug as far as owner Bob Urbach is concerned. He's upset about the city and statewide smoking bans. The hammer and sickle banner his way of protesting.
"There's more rights being taken away and I can't do nothing about it," he said.
Nothing, it seems, except send away for a $62 Soviet banner - can you believe his local flag shop didn't stock one? - and unfurl it outside the bar. The Vietnam vet, who flies the Stars and Stripes inside, said some of clientele seemed worried that he'd gone Commie.
"A lot of them look and say, `Urb what's that?'
"I say, `Well, take it for what you think. ... I say, `Stop and think on what's going on. They're dictating to you.'"
"They say, `I think you can get in trouble for that.'
"And I said, `I don't think so.'"
At least not yet.
If a madam answers, hang up
Rep. Al Wynn and Tucker Carlson, about the D.C. Madam's client list, according to an MSNBC transcript from yesterday:
Carlson: "I know you're not on there. But let's say a member of Congress turns up on this list, and you get a call from ABC saying, `We found your phone number on the list.' How do you respond? Do you say, `I'm not going to dignify that with a response'? Do you say, `I misdialed'? Do you say, `I was getting a massage'? Or you say, `You know what, I like hookers'? What do you say?
Wynn: "Emphasizing again, not me."
Wynn: "The hypothetical congressman that you refer to would probably say it was a misdial. That's the first quickest, cleanest one to get out."
Connect the dots
Who would have blamed first lady Katie O'Malley if she'd just told the reporters swarming her hospital discharge to mind their own beeswax? But should a District Court judge duck the nosey questions this way: "It's so complicated. I wish I could explain it all. They used a lot of big words"? ... Rudy Giuliani's people were in Maryland this week courting Republican lawmakers, including Del. J.B. Jennings. Reps from the former NYC mayor's campaign met them for breakfast Tuesday at the Double T Diner in Perry Hall. Jennings, who has also heard from John McCain's campaign, said he's still undecided. ... Sen. David Brinkley, the minority leader, never heard from Giuliani's camp. But last week Mitt Romney's crew came calling, and McCain's camp reached out before that. ... Michael Steele has a new job: political contributor at Fox News Channel. Does that mean the former Lt. Gov will have regular appearances on a particular show or shows? Or will he just pop up when the news of the day demands his punditry? A Fox spokesman wouldn't say. Here's what he would disclose: "Steele will offer his experience and expertise to political coverage." ... House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer will be the University of Maryland's commencement speaker May 20. Hoyer is a Maryland alum. ... Hopkins will go even more highbrow, which you'd expect, because it is The Johns Hopkins University after all. Its commencement speaker on May 17 will be Ravens head coach Brian Billick.