Phelpstival host appreciated the love

October 08, 2008|By LAURA VOZZELLA | LAURA VOZZELLA,laura.vozzella@baltsun.com

Access Hollywood host Billy Bush schlepped all the way from L.A. to Baltimore to host the Phelpstivities at Fort McHenry, but he didn't spend the night in town. He stayed instead at the Ritz in Georgetown.

Charm City not swanky enough?

Not at all, said Michelle Butt, news director at WBAL, the NBC affiliate that helped stage the event.

Bush wanted to lodge in Washington because the only direct flight he could get was in and out of Dulles, Butt said. The former Washington DJ also wanted to visit with some friends and relatives down there. (His cousin, George W., lives in town, though there's no indication they met up.)

"We weren't going to put the guy up in a Hampton Inn," Butt said. "No offense to Hampton Inns. My family stays in the Hampton Inn all the time."

The luxury hotel seems to have been the rare bit of glamour on Bush's itinerary. Before he got to rest his head on the Ritz's 400-thread-count Egyptian cotton bed linens, Bush endured a day of antibiotics, Purell and U.S. 40 fast food.

Bush was feeling sick when he rose way before dawn Saturday in L.A. to catch his 4:30 a.m. flight to Washington. He called his doctor, who phoned an antibiotics prescription in to a pharmacy somewhere between Dulles and downtown Baltimore.

Upon landing, Bush was taken by Town Car to Walgreens in Catonsville. He swung by a nearby Chick-fil-A for a bite, then continued on to Fort McHenry. While there, Bush warned everyone whose hand he shook that he was sick, offering squirts of Purell.

Not as dreary as it sounds. Especially the part about stopping in Catonsville. The town apparently knows how to make a fuss over minor celebrities. Butt said he was "greeted like a rock star."

"In Catonsville, I couldn't believe it, it was like I was Brad Pitt," Butt said Bush told her. "In L.A., who cares?"

We all just like Mike

How much love can an Olympic superhero be expected to take?

Last weekend, Michael Phelps traveled a parade route filled with teeny-boppers screaming like it was the second coming of The Beatles. (Most disturbing sign spotted along the way: "Michael, I'm legal in four years. Wait for me.")

That evening, Phelps was feted at Fort McHenry as if he'd personally beaten back the Brits in 1814.

So can you blame Phelps if he's had his fill? We can only assume that's the case from Meadowbrook News and Notes, the newsletter for the North Baltimore swim center where Phelps has trained and which he has talked about buying.

"We are asking that members refrain from asking Michael for autographs when he is at Meadowbrook," writes Meadowbrook general manager John Cadigan. "You can send things to the pool and we will include it in his fan mail pile, but we would like Meadowbrook to be a 'sanctuary' type place for him to train and feel comfortable and at home."

The newsletter does note that Meadowbrook plans to put on a "Michael Phelps day for members to meet and greet and get things signed." No date has been set.

Losing a grand old pal

At 90 years old, Anne Morton Kimberly says with a wry laugh that she's "had time to be widowed twice."

The lifelong Republican - her first husband, Rogers C.B. Morton, was a congressman, interior secretary for Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, then commerce secretary under Ford, and chairman of the Republican National Committee - seems to have outlived something else: her allegiance to the GOP.

I called to ask about a fundraiser she had hosted at her Easton home Friday, the first she'd ever thrown for a Democrat. She said the event raised more than $25,000 for Frank Kratovil, a Democrat running for her husband's old 1st District seat.

"I was crazy about Wayne Gilchrest, and I think he's one of the best congressmen I've ever known, and I was so horrified when the Republican Party decided to do everything they could to defeat him in the primary," Kimberly said. "I decided I would support Kratovil, and I ... met him and heard him speak. He is a centrist, which I am, too. He's good on the environment. He's good on pro-choice. He's good on lots of things like that."

A spokesman for Andy Harris, Kratovil's Republican opponent, declined to comment on the event, which was first reported on Politickermd.com.

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