Today FishbowlMatt and I take you inside last night’s book party at the Northwest Washington home of Daily Caller Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson and his wife, Susie, for famed ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The book: Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth About Washington Corruption From America’s Most Notorious Lobbyist. We’ll give you a play-by-play interpretation of what went down — FishbowlDC style. Some of it’s blind quoting, eavesdropping, and prison jokes, for which we make no apologies. Some of it’s petty and juvenile and involves taking advantage of people who have had a few drinks (a la HuffPost‘s Drunken Specialist Sam Stein), for which we also make no apologies. By the way, actor Kevin Spacey and former Washington Mayor Marian Barry both RSVP’d that they’d attend. Neither showed. Who did? Find out after the jump…
5:07 p.m. FishbowlMatt texts and wants to know what I’m wearing. I tell him I’m dressing down, that we’re going to a party where there will be an island of misfits and we can wear whatever we want. I assure him my outfit will not incorporate Stephanie Green golf ball-size multi-strand pearl necklaces.
6:40 p.m. We arrive fashionably early Tucker’s house and are greeted by friendly valets.
6:41 p.m. Publicist Janet Donovan arrives by cab with a giant golden handbag.
6:42 p.m. It’s 66 degrees outside. Roaring fire clearly for ambiance. Not function.
6:45 p.m. Tucker is holding court by the fireplace discussing the Politico story about The Daily Caller‘s “growing pains” published earlier in the day. He has a lot of reactions, one of which involves explaining the importance of “pissing up.” All in all, the story didn’t upset him.
6:55 p.m. We go to the more remote bar off the living room where intern Jordan Bloom is dressed in a white shirt and black bow tie and tending bar. Matt writes, “We meet Jordan Bloom, battered intern.”
7 p.m. Daily Caller reporter Matthew Boyle arrives and chats up Tucker about the Politico story. Boyle refuses to talk to any member of the press on the record.
7:10 p.m. We run into communications exec David Bass in a big fat striped suit. The suit has fat blue and white stripes; Bass isn’t plump. We start snapping his picture. He wants a do over, explaining, “I have the same stupid look on my face in every picture. Let me try not to look stupid.”
7:20 p.m. Oh look. It’s The Weekly Standard/Daily Caller‘s Matt Labash. He quickly admires FishbowlMatt’s gray tweed pants and says I’m not allowed to write anything about anything he says or he’ll break both my legs (the first part of this is true). FBDCMatt describes his trousers as a “tweed flannel hybrid.” Labash is clearly impressed.
7:21 p.m. More guests arrive. FishbowlMatt commentary: “There’s a glitterball coming in right now.”
7:22 p.m. Bathroom door locks but doesn’t latch. Not worth taking a chance. (Capitol File Editor-in-Chief Kate Bennett will later say someone walked in on her while she was in the can. She says she was just washing her hands.)
7: 25 p.m. Politico‘s Patrick Gavin and FishbowlMatt begin an in-depth conversation about no-iron shirts. Matt says he’s a “holy hell sweater.” Gavin says he plans to buy a decent wardrobe in the new year. Tonight he has worn a long-sleeved maroon shirt made of waffle material. It’s from the Gap.
7:30 p.m. I place a half-full wine glass on a stack of Jack Abramoff books for a moment and an undisclosed reporter says, “He was in prison for three years and tried not to get rimmed and look what you’re doing with a wine glass on the Abramoff books.”
7:33 p.m. An undisclosed reporter asks, “Who is that fat guy on the couch? I mean, he’s ‘stop-on-the-street’ fat. Isn’t he?”
7:34 p.m.: NYT‘s Mark Leibovich chats with partygoers. He says the book’s slowly coming along but that he must get back to regular newspaper writing soon. Guests tell him they can’t wait to read his book.
7:35 p.m. The living room speeches begin. Tucker says (in part): “I think Jack is a genuinely nice person. I don’t trust anyone who hasn’t been humiliated in public.” He mentions being on “Dancing With the Stars.”
7:37 p.m. Jack: “I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart,” he tells a packed room of guests. “This is my first book and may be my last if no one reads it.” He explains that his publicist Janet “is working me to the ground. I had 17 interviews today. I don’t have a tail and horns.” He says his wife, Pam, doesn’t read newspapers or watch TV. He also says she kept removing herself from the book until he explained that he had to explain where their children came from. Jack on prison life: “It’s a horrific place.” Jack on the kindness of others: “I’m not sure we deserve it, but I hope we keep meriting your friendship.” He recounts being on FNC’s Sean Hannity’s program last week. He told Hannity he was going to appear on MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell’s show. Hannity tried to talk him out of it, telling him it was a waste of time. Jack appeared on O’Donnell’s “Last Word” anyhow and grew frightened as he spotted Michael Moore. He thought to himself, ‘We better hide.’ Soon he hears Moore inquiring, “Where’s Jack?” Moore approached and said, “God bless you. Keep up the great work. It’s fantastic.” Jack’s reaction: “Am I dreaming?” He calls the evening at Carlson’s home “the finest night of our lives in the last eight years. This tops them all.”
8:30 p.m. (roughly): A guest is ready to leave. He remarks, “I think I’ve done my time here, so to speak.” Reporters in the vicinity laugh.
Find out which reporter with a liberal agenda crashed the party…
8:31 p.m. Capital File‘s Kate Bennett announces that she’s on a restroom hunt.
8:32 p.m. Make way for the arrival of The Hill‘s A.B. Stoddard and TWT‘s Charlie Hurt. It’s time for a serious discussion regarding FBDC’s weekly artistic penis pictures in the kitchen. There’s a variety of views. Hurt likes them framed.
8:35 p.m. Daily Caller scribe Grae Stafford, dressed in a sleek, gray suit, puffs away on a smokeless cigarette in the kitchen. The Englishman says he has them shipped in from Hawaii. He says he quit smoking cigarettes some 14 months ago and these have less nicotine.
9 p.m. FishbowlMatt sits on the couch with Abramoff and tells him he’s dating TWT‘s opinion writer Emily Miller. Miller was a witness in implicating her former fiance Michael Scanlon in the lobbying scandal. Abramoff falls for it and says he hopes she’s doing well. (This is funny on multiple levels.)
9:15 p.m. In the dining room, where there’s a gigantic antler chandelier, Tucker is showing off infected dog’s teeth that he had made into cuff links.
9:17 p.m. FishbowlMatt wanders into the dining room and meets Roll Call‘s Daniel Newhauser. FBDCMatt asks earnestly, “What’s Roll Call?” Newhauser has no idea who FBDCMatt is and replies, “It’s like a blog.” We keep up the charade for a little while.
9:20 p.m. Roll Call‘s Shira Toeplitz is very excited that Abramoff autographed her book in Hebrew.
9:30 p.m. Slight chaos breaks out as a woman in a floral dress enters the dining room to inform Tucker that Media Matters writer Joe Strupp (normally based in New Jersey) is outside the house interviewing partygoers as they leave. Security was considered but will not be called. The woman says Strupp is being polite and is not hanging out on the lawn.
Here’s a sampling of who was there (and no bitching at us if you don’t see your name):
NYT‘s Mark Leibovich, Politico‘s Patrick Gavin and wife, Anne, Susan G. Komen’s Kiki Ryan and Tim Burger, The Hill‘s A.B. Stoddard, Roll Call’s Shira Toeplitz, Jonathan Strong and Daniel Newhauser, Capitol File’s Kate Bennett, and TWT‘s Charlie Hurt. From The Daily Caller: David Martosko, Neil Munro (who is Irish, not Australian or English), Alex Treadway, Matthew Boyle, Jeff Poor, Kells Heatherington, Caroline May, Alex Pappas, Matt Lewis, Grae Stafford and Jamie Weinstein.
David Bass strikes a pose.
Daily Caller’s Nick Ballasy lectures Matthew Boyle
Politico‘s Patrick Gavin, in his waffle shirt, chatting with Tim Burger
TWT‘s Charlie Hurt livens up the party with his hair.
Daily Caller’s Grae Stafford and his smokeless cigarette