The Reliable Source Live

Jul 31, 2013

Washington Post columnists Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts were online Wednesday, July 31, at noon ET to discuss your favorite gossip, celebrity sightings and their recent columns.

Past Reliable Source chats

Hello everyone, and welcome back to the Reliable Source web chat. Some topics on our radar this week. . .

Mystery still surrounds an incident in which Wale was kicked off a plane — possibly diverted for the occasion — for having his phone out.


Who should play Bill Clinton in the “Hillary” miniseries?


How much does it cost to dress like a first lady?


Royal baby has a name! — also, a party in his honor, mobilized by the British embassy’s amazing rapid-response party team.


What did Huma know and when did she know it?


A British aristocrat rues the day his grandfather sold a priceless artwork at a bargain.


Jay-Z thinks he does enough for society simply by existing, thank you very much.


Also: It’s like John McCain was ready and waiting for that stripper question. . .  Mark Leibovich and the politics of a book party in This Town. . .  Ever wonder how George H.W. Bush would look bald?. . .  And you’ve waited all summer for it — the Hill’s “50 Most Beautiful” list, which ranks Jeff Flake at No. 1.


Looking forward to your questions.

Has Washington DC hosted a world premiere of the new Lee Daniels movie? Is Ms. Winfrey the publicity media main figure? Thanks.

"The Butler" -- or as it is to be officially known, "Lee Daniels's The Butler," because of a complicated copyright dispute -- is set to open Aug. 16. It hasn't premiered anywhere yet: While you would assume there would be some splashy D.C. opening, we haven't gotten word of one yet, which is a little surprising. Wouldn't be suprised if the White House has a screening of its own, though. . . . Oprah will likely be a big part of the publicity campaign, but the movie is stocked with all kinds of big names for exactly that purpose.

‘The Butler’: A labor of love becomes an unlikely A-list production, 10/18/12

Read the original 2008 story by our colleague Wil Haygood: A butler well served by this election, 11/7/08

Sen. Gilibrand seemed to lose a lot of weight. Very sexy Senator. No marriage ring? She was divorced?

Nope, she's married, two kids.

Anthony Weiner refusing to say he's stopped his bad behavior, or the campaign manager's meltdown over a relatively benign story?

You tell us.

Would suggest Ted Danson (with padding) but maybe too awkward with he and Mary Steenburgen being Friends of Bill.

Ted Danson as Bill Clinton? No, I think Ted Danson is too Dansonesque. Also, he's about Clinton's age, and therefore too old to play POTUS in his early '50s in the late '90s. But thanks for the suggestion!


Who should play Bill Clinton in ‘Hillary,’ the NBC miniseries?


Who will play him? Joseph Gordon-Levitt? Shia LeBoef? (Though Weiner seems to think he should be played by Ryan Reynolds or Ryan Gosling.)

Oh, this is an even better question! Joseph Gordon-Levitt might need a prosthetic nose, but he would be fantastic in this role. It's his Oscar role.

The whole thing struck a really low note with the payments by the PAC, campaign, etc. on the inaugural gowns etc. Some friends and I were talking about this last night, and we realized that the reason we think this particularly gives us the willies is that it is prohibited for Federal candidates to spend their campaign funds this way. Categorically not allowed. The reason Sarah Palin got away with it is a weird twist that it was never prohibited by the national party, almost entirely because it never occurred to anyone drafting laws/regulations that a national party would ever waste money that way (donors: not amused). So the whole thing just is really particularly icky to a lot of people.

Lots of strong feelings about this issue. If McDonnell had spent her personal money on clothing, this would not be a story: the amounts she spent are not unreasonable to assemble a decent professional wardrobe. The legal issues aside, it's the perception that she's tapping into donor money intended for other uses. (Another intereting question, because campaign money flows like water for so many other costs.) Anyway, what surprises me most is that she wasn't aware of how this might be perceived by Virginia voters.

I am such a supporter of Woody Harrelson to play him. He is able to really bring the rogue charm out. Billy Bob is a bit too creepy.

Glad you liked the Woody idea. I don't think he'll do it, but if he wanted to, he could. I disagree about BBT. He's an actor. He can calibrate to the appropriate level of creepiness.

Why is it more inportanto give station managers a roomier kiosk then it is to provide an elevator for the elderly and disabled?

Hello there. I think you're in the wrong chat, maybe.

Here's my take on why Huma has so far stayed with the wienie. She moves in a world of hyper-ambitious, high goal people who work 12, 14, 16 hours a day regularly, where there's not enough time to simply find a potential relationship partner, much less develop a relationship. When you finally do find one, it's probably not your ideal partner, and you have to make a lot of concessions, but the human need for a partner is strong, and so you make those concessions. Huma's calculus, I suppose, is that in her hyper-ambitious world, it would be difficult to start and develop a new relationship, and so it's easier to make a concession and stay with the guy she's with, as flawed as he is.

Your guess is as good as mine. Lots of hyper-ambitious people find good spouses and manage happy private lives. I'm guessing the biggest factor in her staying is their son.

Someone needs to publish a book on how to properly get away with sexting and sending pictures to strangers. Politicians could use that.

You got some tips for us?

If they're the price I have to pay for a Clinton presidency, then I'm voting Republican. Just sayin'.

Oh, so are you saying that the Weiner association makes you less likely to vote for Hillary? Interesting.

I would prefer seeing Phillip Seymour Hoffman portraying Bill. As to Hillary, I like the choice of Diane Lane.

Yeah, she's a pretty good choice. Phillip Seymour Hoffman would be great, but I think he's too fancy to agree to a network miniseries.

So the name of the royal baby is George. None of us will be alive to see his realm, unless we subject ourselves to be being frozen for 50 years.

Well, some of us might be alive. If you're younger than Prince William (and come from genetic stock as healthy and long-lived as the Windsors) then you have a decent shot of living to see this kid take the throne. The rest of us are looking at long odds.

Dustin Diamond, aka Screech from Saved by the Bell.

It could be Dustin Diamond's Oscar role.

So last week there seemed to be a lot of sympathy for her position, but I think that has really dried up. She knew that he was continuing to do it before the mayoral run and she encouraged him anyway. The whole thing about she was doing this for her son's future is undermined pretty strongly by the fact that she had to know she was running the risk of subjecting her son's father to another round of ridicule as a national joke.


by going with a nontrendy name like George, are Will and Kate creating a new trend where old fashioned names are favored over names such as Apple and Knorth? (I hope so!).

Oh, aren't we already surrounded by old-fashioned names? Despite all the Jaydens and Madisons out there, a lot of the most popular names are old-timey chic these days.

"Oh, so are you saying that the Weiner association makes you less likely to vote for Hillary?" I'm the OP. Yes to your question because I have lost all respect for Huma. In 2013, a woman should not allow herself to be treated like a doormat and be humiliated in public as Huma has allowed herself to be, child or no child. Jenny Sanford refused to "stand by her man," and now Silda Spitzer is finally showing some backbone and kicking Eliot to the curb. If Huma is going to be part of any Hillary Clinton White House, well, you know people by the company they keep, and I've had my full of Hillary's friends and staffers.

Okay, thanks. Interesting.

Bob McDonnell has been a politician for many years, so it's not like this was all new to her. She's had time to gradually accumulate an appropriate wardrobe, and also the last I checked, it's not like she's hosting state dinners, etc. On the other hand, he husband had clearly indicated that he's either not the brightest bulb in the box, or he's a lying liar about what he knew and when he knew it.

Anybody in politics for that long should have known that actions that are legal might still be perceived unfavorably by voters.

So the Royal Baby was names after the Maryland county?

Something like that. Actually, Prince George's County was named for Prince George of Denmark, the husband of Britain's Queen Anne.

Is that list a joke? Jake Tapper?

The Hill's Most Beautiful is in the eye of the beholder, I guess.

I was confused about the list -- lots of people don't seem to work on the Hill. Some confused me about whether they were working at all, such as Carlos Gutierrez Jr. How do you end up on the list?

Well, this year, the Hill expanded the list to include people working in the executive branch. And they've always included people who work around the Hill, i.e., lobbyists, cops, reporters, etc.

Isn't he a Friend of Bill who would be an unlikely choice for the role?

Oh, I don't know -- are they close beyond the Hot Springs hometown connection?

The best thing is that there have been no new stories this week. Hopefully the British press will allow William and Kate some much-needed privacy with their new son. Between the royal security and the safeguards that Kate's parents can afford, I hope they will be left in peace for awhile.

Much-needed privacy? Oh, but the royal family survives and thrives on this kind of publicity juggernaut.

moved me to tears. What a great human interest story meets modern technology.

What if, god forbid, Wills, George, Charles, and Harry were all traveling together and their plane crashed?

I don't think they do travel together.

I'm just not buying that Huma decided to stay with Anthony "because of the baby." What mother in her right mind thinks that raising a child with a sex addict and compulsive liar is best for the baby? What kind of male model is Weiner going to be for his kid? I'm beginning to think that Huma lies almost as much as Anthony.

Relationships are complicated.

Any clue where that phrase came from? Just popped into my head when thinking of the new royal George.

According to various Internet savants, "by George!" is a polite way of saying "by God!" or "by Jove" without being blasphemous. In other words, it's akin to saying "Oh, fudge."

Who plays Roger Clinton?

Alas, I bet Roger doesn't even make it into the miniseries. I don't remember him making any news as late as 1998.

My husband's theory is that Will and Kate are Seinfeld fans and the name is a homage to George Louis Constanza/Jason Alexander by combining the two to get George Alexander Louis. That is why the prince is referred to as George Constanza at our house

Hard to argue with that.

Why are the already well-to-do always the most greedy and grasping for freebies? See also: Welch, Jack.

I think there's a seductive environment where people offer more and more and some folks start feeling entitled. It's also a moving target because expectations and standards change. But yes -- the more you have, the more free stuff that gets offered to you. 

I miss her! Does she ever check in? Has she started writing someone on the west coast?

Our dearly missed Lisa has started writing for out on the West Coast.

I cannot wait till that year, when George gets into trouble for partying with Prince Harry in Vegas.


Everytime I hear that name, I start singing "There's got to be a morning after..."

Maureen McGovern, of course. Whereas I think, "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!" or "I'll never wash this cheek again!"

Part of me wants to feel pity for her, but honestly, the ambition and hubris of both of them is just stomach turning. After Weinergate Round One, I was at a happy hour where a friend of a friend who works at State told a story about Huma being on a conference call two hours after she gave birth. Sadly, I think politics and power might come before family for both of these parents.

Could be. It's impossible to know what goes on in any marriage or why some people stay and others call it quits. From the outside looking in, I don't get it--but having a child together does complicate the decision.

So him just being alive is enough giving back? Are there any other former drug dealers we can say that about?

Pretty tone-deaf statement, don't you think?

Jeff Daniels.

I think he's too Jeff Danielsesque.

Who would play Monica? Who would do that?

I don't know, but I would bet that Lewinsky is not a character portrayed in the miniseries -- since this is a Hillary-centric production, and I doubt the two interacted. But who knows.

Why were they not on the Hill list? They are on the hill more than most people on that list.


Really, George ? Are they big fans of 43 ? Or is England not going the way of America with Jasons ans Zachs and Kaitlyns ?

The British royals are all about tradition. Remember, George was the name of the current queen's father, so it has a deeply personal association for the family.

My, the venom for the Clintons continues doesn't it! If you present that the reason you would not vote for Hillary is that Huma MAY be on her team, then you are not a Hillary supported anyway and would not be voting for her. Folks can see right through that "argument."

Some people just don't like the Clintons. Simple as that.

Is it pronounced Why-Ner or Wee-Ner?

Wee-ner, as he would be the first to tell you. At the 2011 RTCA dinner, he joked about how John Boehner delicately pronounces his name bainer. "Who is Boehner fooling?" Weiner said. "What am I, Anthony Wainer? I’m serious, brother, just embrace it!"

to portray Weiner, and I can't argue with that. As for why Huma stays with him, maybe it is as simple as love. Although I don't get it!

I still think Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the best idea we've heard. I mean, he's an actor.

Sean Penn should get the role. He's already done a death row murderer, a homosexual politician, a mentally disabled single father, among many others.

Hmmm, no, I don't see Sean Penn in the role. And again -- we're talking about a network miniseries, so you got to be realistic about who's going to take that role.

People defend online relationships as being "Real" (see Manti Teo'o girlfriend debacle) but Wiener argues that posting pictures of his junk online to strangers is less than real from showing himself in public. Is it different? Is it less bad? Is it worse? (not knowing WHO the picture is going to, is really bad, methinks... ) Flashers KNOW who they are exposing themselves to (say, adults)... online flashers... don't. What is the online/offline difference in exposing oneself to strangers?

Honestly, I don't think there's much difference.

I think there are two things here. First, the Weiner thing is amusing/a good joke because there is quite simply nothing at stake. But, if they are in positions of power again, its a distraction to important business of the nation. Second, it really does bring up this nascent thought that maybe Hillary hasn't been the greatest role model. Clearly, Huma was trying to leverage her husband for power and position and as a result let this whole mess bring her into a bad light. I haven't thought this entirely through, but sound familiar?

As I've said before: it's hard to judge other marriages, because we actually know so little about what goes on inside and how the partners feel about each other. That being said, public figures are constantly trying to sell themselves to voters as people of character and worthy of trust and expose their private lives as part of that dynamic. So I guess we'll continue to speculate because they make it so easy.

Man, that swimsuit calendar is gonna tank!

Now that the Hill has been doing this for ten years, they should consider going in a more creative route like that.

I thought former Pres Bush (41) shaving his head in solidarity with his security team and the two year old with cancer was very sweet and classy. The interview he did with granddaughter Jenna was heartwarming. I wasn't a fan when he was in office, but I'm warming to him in retirement.

Yeah, that was charming, wasn't it?

The inaugural portrait of Mrs. McDonnell.... Let's just say it is very very flattering.

It was a silly decision by the painter and the subject, because it opens both of them up for ridicule.

I haven't walked in her shoes, but can't undertsand why Huma would stay with Weiner now. I don't know much abouit her, but maybe she is ambitious and the thought of being first lady of NY is more important to her...more than her dignity?

It's probably all a lot more complicated than that. Relationships are complicated.

Do you think there'll be a time when England just decides to drop this whole monarchy thing ? Cause, honestly, it's well overdue.

So you say. Enough of the British (are you?) are still willing to support it.

Then cast Melanie Griffith and Bryan Cranston.

Fun idea!

Still think if there is a Linda Tripp character in the movie, she should be played by John Goodman.

Okay, that made me laugh.

in 6 months or so. The pattern is typical. Shock, awe, defense mechanism... when all muscles relax, cameras and lights go away, she'll take a good look at Tony and ask herself "Why?". Then she'll quietly go... The fun part will be when he rebuilds his life... a la Tiger Woods! Oooooooh can't wait! Are we there yet?

You're assuming he's going to lose. which is okay, because I'm assuming the same thing. Different ball of wax if he wins.

Your piece asking what did Huma know and when did she know it reminded me of Elizabeth Edwards. I lost a lot of respect for her when I found out she continued to promote his presidential candidacy even after finding out he father a child with Reille Hunter. I've lost respect for Huma for similar reasons. Makes me question whether these people will be truthful with the voters. (...truthful with the voters....I sounds so naive!)

But a completely fair point.

Dennis Quaid can do the smarmy charm of Bill. Tim Robbins has the piercing blue eyes of Bill. I could even see Viggo Mortensen-he has the blue eyes and charm but may be too handsome.

Dennis Quaid already had his at-bat as Bill Clinton (in "The Special Relationship") and did not get great reviews for it. . . Viggo? I think he's too . . . laconic or something.

I don't blame her for her official portrait. If I had one done, I'd insist that it depict me riding a polar bear.

Yeah! Because you're the first lady, damnit!

That is an obnoxious statement. Oh well, I am more into Wale & J Cole's albums right now anyway (not that anyone cares).

We care.

In a way, I can understand why Huma did what she did. Playing the loyal wife worked for Hillary, her boss, so why not take a page from her playbook? Yes, Hillary was First Lady at the time, and she and Bill were able to initially make the press believe that the scandal was all the fault of the "vast right wing conspiracy," but I can see Huma thinking that she can get away with the same tricks as her boss did. I'm just glad that NYC voters have decided that we we won't another pair of mini-Clintons to deal with in the near future. I predict that Huma will dump Weiner some months after he loses and goes back to his sexting ways (assuming that he ever stopped, which I doubt).

Everyone will be watching.

What intern has the cojones to think they should write a "tell all?" If you wanna eat lunch in this town again, keep your mouth shut.

It's going to be hard for Olivia Nuzzi to get that next internship, probably.

Hello, King Andrew!

I'm thinking there's some kind of unofficial rule that those four would never be allowed on the same plane together.

Does Darrell Hammond do drama? He was a spot-on Clinton look-alike (except for the height) on SNL for years.

Yeah, but I think when you're in a dramatic role, you don't want an impressionist. It's better to get someone who may not have the pitch perfect intonations but can convey the dramatic sentiment of the role.

Didn't Billy Bob play a thinly-disguised Bill Clinton in some Hugh Grant film, in which Grant played the British Prime Minister? The American president in that film is clearly a skirt-chaser. Sorry, I can't remember the name, but I think it had "love" in the title.

Love, actually. Chick flick classic. Good movie, too.

Out of leftfield - Loudon Wainwright III. He was on MASH the first year or two.

Let's see -- wrong physical type, wrong demeanor, wrong age. . . . But thanks for the suggestion!

should go on that wife swapping TV show (if it's still on).

Hey, yeah, everyone loves a third act.

I also totally laughed out loud when I read the Jay Z comment. Um, wow - such hubris! Almost as bad as Weiner's arrogance...

And you watch the video thinking, "well, maybe it sounds better when he says it than it looks in print" -- and it doesn't.

Maybe he should consult with Alec Baldwin when it comes to airline etiquette.

Sounds like he already did. Except that Baldwin woudln't stop talking about it after it happened, and Wale hushed up in a hurry.

They don't always needs to be complicated. Huma's got a career, presumably makes enough money. She could uncomplicate her life very quickly. They treat you bad, they cheat on you, they humiliate you, they keep doing it...get out!

Sounds easy until you're in the middle of it. Just sayin'.

How about Emma Thompson and John Travolta? Seems like it could work...

Worked before, didn't it?

The amount of money this family has received from third parties amazes me. Why did they think they could get away with all of this, or is that the way politics used to be and we are just now becoming critical of it? I just don't know how you have someone else pay for an over-the-top wedding and just pass it off as though it is your doing.

I don't understand, either. The response has been is that everything is legal. But it looks so compromising that I'm baffled by the choices.

Wasn't there a line like that in My Fair Lady? Rex Harrison says "By George I think she's got it!"


before Weiner is on dancing with the stars?

Not soon enough!

He should use Skype.

Is that safer?

Can you believe the mouth on Weiner's director of "communications"? What kind of third-rate outfit is this guy running? And he thinks he's fit to be mayor of NYC?

Have you heard the mouth on the mayor of Chicago?

She "kicked Elliot to the curb"? Link, please!

That's simply the scuttlebut in New York these days, based in part on the fact that she's not campaigning with him. But Eliot Spitzer is not discussing the state of their relationship.

wow. That's kind of assuming you know a lot about their relationship that there is no way you can know if you're not in it. i would think in 2013, we would know enough about life in general not to throw such very large stones when judging women who are clearly intelligent and clearly dealing with familial issues that probably are more complex than what we as outsiders know.

Yep, it's complicated.

Yeah, he's too good for TV. But if he wants Hillary to win in 2016, he should offer to take the role of Bill. Having him in the role would make the Clintons seem Kennedy-esque.

You know who is too Clooneyesque for the role? George Clooney. It is very, very hard for him to disappear into a role at this point and for viewers to not think "Oh, George Clooney." It would distract from the narrative.

Wait, isn't that what SnapChat is for? Or so I hear?

That's the one where you text someone and the message self-destructs in 10 seconds?

Is there anything--any tawdry revelation--that could cause Anthony Weiner to drop out? Does he still have people funding his campaign at this point? Don't big donors sometimes tell the candidate to pull the plug?

At this point, he's got nothing to lose by staying in.

Sean Bean, Sean Bean, Sean Bean. Actually not because I think he'd necessarily be the best choice, I just like him (see: Sharpes Rifles, etc.). I wouldn't care if he couldn't do the Southern accent and just spoke in broad Yorkshire. I'd watch!

I heartily endorse the Sean Bean idea. He's at the right level of fame, he's got the right physicality, and he'd (probably) be very good at it.

Doesn't she have a mom?! One doesn't learn relationship lessons from the boss... right?

Hillary is like a second mother to Huma. So their relationship is complicated, too.

Chatters, time for us to get to work. Send your tips and sightings to reliablesource@washpost. com. We'll see you next week.

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