The Reliable Source Live

Nov 14, 2012

Washington Post columnist Amy Argetsinger was online Wednesday, November 14, 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 chat. You just have me today. Roxanne is off competing in the Gingerbread Nationals this week, so, you know, look for her on ESPN.


Soooo, quiet week, huh -- what's new, anything?


JK! With the end of election season comes the start of sex-scandal season, because apparently, we couldn't have our broccoli and our dessert at the same time. Working through your feelings about the Petraeus saga? We offered primers on when a sex scandal ends a career, what happens to the Other Women, and what are “social liaisons”?


Still some election stuff to get out of our system: You'll want to check out our gallery on the Most Intriguing New Members of Congress. I can't decide if punk-rocker Beto O’Rourke or mixed-martial-arts-teaching plumber Markwayne Mullin will be my favorite. 


One big regret: Turns out that Mitt Romney’s sister could have been the next Roger Clinton.


And have you ever noticed how  subtly but beautifully the Obamas color-coordinate?


In other news: Axelrod’s new mustache bet. . . Meet Jermaine Jacksun!. . . Ashley Judd’s political future. . .  A Bieber breakup. . .  Bono is back in town. . . .And Bryce Harper has a girlfriend.


Looking forward to your questions.

Do you think this is another case of a high-profile man not recognizing the "crazy-eye'd" aspect of an apparent admirer? And how do you explain the bad judgement?

Hmmm. Hadn't really stopped to consider if Paula Broadwell has the crazyeyes. She does have a sparkle, doesn't she?


Anyway, as discussed in previous sex scandal coverage (yo, Rielle!), while logic would suggest that the crazyeyes should be a warning sign, they do in fact serve as a potent lure. That extra-sparkly sparkle sends the not-so-subliminal message "I am fantastic in bed."

TS Elliott's wife! Who knew she was alive enough to die?

Yes, indeed, RIP Valerie Eliot -- but how fascinating. You see, marrying someone 40 years your junior extends your footprint on this earth in some unique way, even if it doesn't make for the most exciting union.


"Mrs. Eliot later recalled that their routine included evenings at home eating cheese and playing Scrabble and trips to the theater.

"'He obviously needed a happy marriage,' she later said. 'He wouldn’t die until he’d had it.'"

With all these shinanngins and hijinks, when did these guys have time to execute a war?

Now, remember, the Petraeus-Broadwell affair did not actually begin until about a year ago, after he had moved to the CIA. (Here's the latest Petraeus-Broadwell story, and it's killing me that I can't find an online version of the Post's excellent A-section graphic timeline -- very useful.) And as Dana Priest outlined today, for all the security guys circling around the CIA director, they're very discreet.

The involvement, somehow, of Peter Orszag. (Although for a non-Orszag related scandal, this one's been pretty amazing).

Hmmm, no, doesn't seem like his scene. I'm waiting for the CEO of Waffle House to weigh in, though.

Perhaps the Patraeus case will yet veer into sad, Swartzenagger / Shriver-like territory, but at the moment I can't help but enjoy it. And now it's suddenly clear why Jill Kelley needed cracker-jack legal representation. Any guesses as to what be revealed next?

You guys are so spoiled. We've already gone from a love triangle to a love pentagon, and you want more?

According to their registry, Michael Morse & his fiancee are getting married Saturday. Can we have some information, please? And what about the other 6 Nationals who are getting married? Where? When? Who are the fiancees?

Actually, planning on a story for Monday about this. So please remain calm.

how does Jill Kelley have diplomatic immunity so she is, as she told local police, "impervious" to press camped on her lawn? Honorary consul of what?

Jill Kelley does not have diplomatic immunity, but it's an excellent bluff to use in an emergency -- try it and let me know how it works out for you. (She is also not a "social liaison," but that appears to be a phrase the media and some military flacks accidentally cooked up in struggling with how to describe her, rather than a title she threw around.)

That Judy Garland was the first practitioner of Gingham style.

Is there some new Gangnam Style spoof video out there I'm not aware of? Google's not helping me.

I have been an aficionado of Washington sex scandals since the Fanne Fox/Wilbur Mills days and I have never seen anything like the Petraeus upheaval. My comment on it is that both Mrs. Kelley and her twin sister (who lives in Frederick, according to WBAL-TV in Baltimore) have got mountains of financial issues. The lady in Frederick declared bankruptcy in the middle of a lawsuit brought by her divorce attorney for unpaid bills--she claimed debts of more than $3 million. And Jill Kelley and her husband are having their home foreclosed on and owe huge amounts on a commercial property as well as having big time credit card debt. Yet, somehow, they got very close to the nation's highest ranking military officers. Is it indicative of startling naivete and carelessness on the part of the officer class that they got involved with folks who would have set off alarm bells for any experienced street hustler?

Hmmm, I don't know. If it turns out that Jill Kelley and Gen. Allen did not have an inappropriate relationship -- and the explanations from Allen's pals seem compelling that way -- then I think we're going to wonder why we're spending so much time obsessing over a woman whose main problems (financial stress, social ambitions and a crazy sister) are shared by a lot of Americans.

Have you all seen that Jill Kelley is apparently facing foreclosure proceedings? Maybe she can call on her friends in high places for help.

I'll just add this one thing for you to consider about Jill Kelley. You know who else is facing foreclosure? Just about everyone else in Florida, from what I've read. bothers me that he speaks on eradicating poverty at expensive, elitist schools and receptions/dinners where only rich people can attend.

Ah, but isn't that where you have to go to influence powerbrokers, etc.? It's a tricky business, changing the world.

How do we protest reality tv?

By not watching it.

Am I the only one who thinks the Petreaus thing is like "Fatal Attraction"? And, yes, he should have resigned because of his bad judgement in taking up with a nut case. Oh, and because - depending upon where they were - adultery is still illegal in many states.

There are simple lessons for everyone here. Don't fool around outside of your marriage or someone else's. Don't get crazy-jealous. Don't send emails, ever.

Of Bryce Harper's girlfriend? I can't believe you haven't shared that with us!

Shoot, I'm sorry -- we don't have the rights to publish those photos, but I meant to provide links anyway. So here you go:  Bryce Harper and Kayla Varner from his Twitter account, and from hers. Objectively speaking, they are adorable.

The obvious award of the week goes to People magazine, who named Channing Tatum as the sexiest man alive. Not exactly a bold or surprising choice. This also does not make me feel so bad that I cannot look away from his perfect body...and I am probably old enough to be his mother.

I'm so bored of the Sexiest Man Alive thing. It's turned into "who has a movie to promote who'll agree to sit for this interview?" That said, I haven't yet perused the issue to see if they've got any interesting runners-up.

Sign me up! She is smart and focused. Too bad I don't live in Kentucky....

Ugh. Was the guy just looking for attention? This is a case where a reputation is easily damaged. Kevin Clash will always get funny looks and people will remember these stories.

Who knows what was going on with Elmo-gate, but it's pretty sad.

Betting you say it already, but just in case, the Onion headline is priceless and so funny yet so sad because it's sort of true.

Yeah, that's a little too close to real, isn't it?

Are we going to find out that the Kelleys are sort of like the Salahis of Tampa? Does every city have their own Salahis and we just haven't discovered them yet?

Yes, every city has their own, to varying extents.

Finally, a good old fashion sex scandal. This election cycle was so boring, I was starting to get worried!

Where was our October Surprise? I guess we should be glad we have something to talk about post-election.

Otherwise, it's just gonna be ugly. (I'll never understand why people think they can get away with this stuff.) Also, emotional involvement with a woman not your wife, even if there isn't any sex, is still not okay. It still hurts your wife.

Yup. Though if it turns out he did nothing inappropriate, I'll feel really bad that it's all been dragged out this way.

Cute! I am a little jealous but glad to see his girlfriend looks like the girl next door type instead of some unreal supermodel.

I know! I think Washington can agree this is really the best case scenario.

don't hack people's emails and send threatening messages to others. or don't hack people's emails ever.

Good pointers, thanks!

Not really. Diplomatic immunity doesn't have anything to do with press attention or domestic law inforcement. She's veering into rocket surgeon territory, that one.

Oh, so you've tried it? Thanks for the warning.

Did you happen to read the review of Guy Fieri's new restaurant in the NYT? Is that level of snark really appropriate for a critic? I think it's funny, not sure if it's totally appropriate.

Why can't a critic be snarky? I thought that was pretty entertaining, but curious to know why it sat with you wrong. Critics are supposed to have opinions, you know.

Will the second Obama inauguration be low-key? Not seemly to be whooping it up if we're still headed over the fiscal cliff? Will Justice Roberts get the oath right this time?

Testing testing . . . I think it's working okay today. How's it seem to you?

Amy -- Didn't you used to have a partner named Roxanne who would work with you on this chat? Or did I make that up?

Or did we make that up? Have you ever actually seen her?

FYI, you can't find the Post Petraeus graphic because is designed specifically to thwart any efforts to read its content.

Well, there's that.

interesting that he seems to be "standing by his woman" more than Holly Petraeus is "standing by her man." Can you think of any other sex scandals where the woman involved was married? How did they work out?

We haven't heard from either of them, have we? So I think you might just be projecting. To the extent that friends of the Petraeus's have been compelled to allude to anything about her feelings in this matter -- well, that's probably driven more by the fact that that the Petraeus's are the public figures in this matter, and he's the one who has been obliged to issue statements of contrition. We haven't heard from the Broadwells at all.


Good question about sex scandals where the Other Woman was married. That is a bit unusual, I think. Examples, anyone?

Do you think she is regretting reporting the anon emails to the FBI? I do, but am enjoying the show, so glad she did.

Yes, I bet she's regretting it. In fact, that's the factor that makes me wonder if she might be fairly innocent here -- if you had something you had to cover up, you wouldn't be inclined to call law-enforcement attention to yourself. But then that assumes that everyone is a rational players, and her pals Petraeus and Broadwell certainly were not.

Your rundown of how famous mistresses are faring was depressing. I didn't realize that Monica Lewinsky was having such a terrible time of it, and I feel truly sorry for her. Yes, she [did whathaveyou] with a married, high-profile man, but it makes me sad that she remains vilified while he is the hero of the Democratic party. Sigh.

floating SAIC ad is covering up a large portion of various questions and answers - it changes each time i refresh. I seem to recall someone had a similar problem last week. what gives?

It looks fine on my end. Are you in Firefox? You probably should be.

for the military folks involved.

It's a very felicitous phrase, whoever came up with it.

I don't see a Miss Manners chapter on this, so maybe you guys can help. Who is it considered socially acceptable to e-mail shirtless photos to?

Excellent question! Anyone got any thoughts on this? I'm going to go out on a limb and say: Never.

Judy's gingham frock from the Wizard of Oz was recently sold at auction for some obscene price to an anonymous collection (I'm looking at you, Clay Aikman!)

Ha. Yes, here's the story.

I find it hard to believe the affair didn't start until after he was DCI. Total speculation but I'd guess they're saying that to avoid a potential court martial

But the accounts I've read have suggested that (1) it's unlikely they'd bother prosecuting a retired military officer and (2) it was next to impossible to fool around in Afghanistan.

your person who always asks about the nats' weddings got that in before 6 this morning! that's dedication! glad you're rewarding them (and us) with a story!

Ha, didn't even notice that. We had an unusually high number of questions that came in early today. Nothing like a little blood in the water to get you pirhanas going.

There's even an identical twin! Does it get any better?

Truly, it's a nice twist.

Until the scandal broke, had this "socialite" been on your radar in any way? Are there more General Groupies out there?

No, not at all, but it seems like she was pretty much a Tampa character. And I think there are more general groupies and their ilk than you can even imagine. Honestly, our world is crowded with people who are utterly focused on befriending someone in power. And some of them are remarkably successful at it. It's not even necessarily a bad thing -- just the way of the world. When you become a powerful person, people will want to be near you.

Oh yeah, prove it! Regardless, it was clear they were having an intense emotional affair long before they, according to one source, took it under the desk. That had to have been a pretty serious distraction.

Well, that's not an unusual course for a lot of affairs. But it's kind of hard for outsiders to know exactly what's going on.

Now I had read somewhere that the relationship ended when he went to CIA, while I read somewhere else that it started when he went there. Is one of these more truthier than the other?

The accounts I've read in the past day or so indicate that they broke things off around July -- coincidentally, or not, around the time he got word she was sending Jill Kelley crazy emails and told her to stop.

Apparently the Broadwells live near Rielle Hunter in the same upscale development.

Real Housewives of Charlotte?

It will be great to hear what celebrities show up there. Other than Roxanne, obviously. I hope she crushes the competition!

She showed me photos of her entry, and it looks like a total killer.

What is extra interesting about this story, is that there appears to be a second affair, and maybe a third? I can't keep them straight? Who sent the shirtless pictures (FBI agent) and who sent the hundreds of e-mails (retired general?)...

Okay, let's step back for a second.


The only affair we know of is the one between Petraeus and Broadwell.


For all the joking about a "love pentagon," we don't know that there were any other romantic relationships going on at all.


Broadwell apparently perceived Kelley as a threat, but there have been some pretty strong denials that she had anything to do with Petraeus. And there's a pretty long history, as you may recall from high school, of girls being jealous of their boyfriends' female friends, even if nothing's happening. (Or guys being jealous of their girlfriends' male friends, etc.)


Meanwhile, the emails between Allen and Kelley have raised eyebrows -- but some have pointed out that 20,000 pages does NOT equal 20,000 emails. You've got to print up every single email, with the history trail on each one, which means a lot of blithering repetition. Plus, as noted before, Allen's folks are saying these emails were harmless friendly things that were cc'd to his wife.


But yes, then there's the FBI agent who was emailing shirtless photos to Jill Kelley. The same agent she turned to for help. Lord knows what's happening there.

according to stub hub, tickets to see the Stones in Newark are going for $300 for the cheap seats. I have never seen them before. Worth it?

I had an excellent time seeing them for $90 at MCI Center in 1999. But that's a different set of data points, isn't it?

Why are all the photogs hanging out at Jill and Paula's family homes ( and hideaway)? Why Isn't anyone stalking Petraeus?

Huh. I don't know. Maybe they are? Or maybe we have enough photos of Petraeus. Or are at least content that he'll show up to testify tomorrow and we'll get some new images then.

Any guesses on who Justin Bieber is next planning to fake date?

I don't know. Elle Fanning? Anyone ?

Who is this Channing guy? He one of the werewolves from Twilight or something?

I think his name is Tatum Channing, but who can keep it straight.

It worries me that David Petraeus surrounds himself with people, none of whom are confident enough to tell him the error of his ways. Namely, that the combover hairstyle is really bad.

He should take a style tip from Rudy Giuliani and just cut that thing off.

Wow. I hope I look 1/2 as good as she does when I am her age. She seemed like, despite her past behavior, she's keeping it classy.

I know. It's nice to see someone endure one of those scandals and land in a good place.

I'm pretty sure Lisa Nowak, that crazy astronaut, was married when she drove across the country in her space diaper (okay, so that part isn't true, but it's such a good tidbit!) to kidnap the woman who was dating the man she had an affair with.

Well, she had been married, but she was either divorced or in the process of getting divorced.

Please title your article on Michael Morse's wedding Beauty and the Beast Mode.

Ha. Thanks.

Olivia Pope

Oh, I expect Olivia Pope will be taking on a case exactly like this in a couple weeks, but with more murder and co-eds.

Why does no one ever email me shirtless photos? I'm talking to you, David Giuntoli (but I wouldn't delete Ian Somerhalder's either)!

Does this help?

who finds the idea of stoic military bureaucrats having sex an utter turn off?

Aw. Stoic military bureaucrats need love too.

I think this means someone has to write a new biography on Petraeus. Because 1. We now know the biographer was heavily biased and 2. The current bio omits the best part and what the General will become most famous for: this scandal.

Oh, it will happen.

Clearly, Jill Kelley not only needs to have a twin, but she needs to have an EVIL twin who pretended to be Jill and reported the emails to the FBI to expose her sister's torrid affair and ruin her reputation and marriage. Mwah ha ha ha...

Well, it's only Day 5 -- be patient.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt's mistress Lucy Mercer got married in 1920.

True. But she was a secret mistress, not a sex scandal. No one knew about their affair until after everyone was dead.

Former Idaho Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth admitted to having an eight-year affair with a married rancher in the 1980's.

Kind of different from what we were talking about. The famous person was the one who was single at the time.

People actually look at the Nationals' wedding registries? Wow. That's all.

Online wedding registries are a fantastic reporting tool.

Henry Hyde?

Good one -- thanks for thinking of it.



Is Petraeus the first guy to lose his job over a sex scandal in awhile? Seems we had moved beyond that -- forgiving Clinton, Vitter, Gavin Newsom. Last guy I remember losing was Gary Hart. Am I missing someone?

Anthony Weiner. John Ensign. Dominique Strauss-Kahn. David Wu. Chris Lee. Eliot Spitzer. Obviously, you came to the right place with this question.

So I hear Ms. Broadwell's driver's license was found in Rock Creek Park. Did they find her license only? Was it in a purse? Was she mugged? Or she dropped it so that we know she is in Washington now? Mmmmmmmmm.

It's all so bizarre.

Am I the only one fixated on her arms and shoulders? The woman is built like a jockey

Oh, that's so unfair, judging this poor woman, hasn't done anything to draw your scrutiny to her arms and shoulders -- oh, wait, never mind. Look at those!

Are you a Chippandale (sp?) dancer? Is this a promotional mailing for your, er - services? If so, maybe yes. Otherwise, no.

There's one exception.

Do women really get....excited by those? Or is it one of those things that men think that since they like to see photos of shirtless women, then vice versa is also true.

Yeah, I think it's that mistaken assumption -- and a bit of "I'll show you mine if you show me yours."

Read any good books lately?

I liked "Cloud Atlas" and "Swamplandia."

What strikes me about this is that the woman is almost always far less well known than the man. That means that, to the general public, they are defined by the affair, whereas the men had a preconceived public reputation that they can play on. Are there examples of a Washington scandal where the woman was better known?

Good points, yes. . . . The Chenoweth affair is the only one we can think of, but that didn't leave a lot of ripples.

Senator John Ensign of Nevada? He fired his mistress's husband and her teenage son.

Yes, good point. The Ensign scandal really blew my mind, when all the details came out, and I thought it would set everyone's hair on fire -- but then, from what I recall, the DSK scandal broke just days later.

"don't **** the help." Yes it's offensive, but really, don't **** the help..

Yes, but doesn't one's biographer (or, say, campaign videographer) fit in a different category?

Is this a reality show I've missed?

My plan has been to turn it into a Lifetime movie, starring Sela Ward as Roxanne, and [Actor TBA] as her romantic interest, because you need a romantic subplot in this movie, and I can only assume that gingerbread competitions are a fantastic way to meet men.

Not fixed, for me at least. There's a Lord & Taylor ad blocking part of the chat.

Well, go buy something then, quick!

I laughed as I read until I came to the dissing of the great and humble Calvin Trillin, whose shoes this critic is not worthy to clean.

I actually didn't quite get the Trillin reference, and wasn't sure that it was a dis of Trillin.

Oh gosh. Not this guy again. is FREE!!! And, actually pretty great! Suck it up, dude.

And you know where you can see this great graphic? In the newspaper, which you can shell out some spare change to buy -- and should, in fact.

How about a special edition for Anthony Weiner, David Petraeus, John Allen--dancing on a keyboard like Tom Hanks in Big?

That is a nice image.

And there was a typo in my comment! I am so ashamed, I must retire from polite company to hang my head in shame.

I thought "rocket surgeon" was intentional, no? I liked it.

If you conduct an affair via electronic media (cellphones, email, Twitter, etc.) then use either no-name, throw-away phones or encrypt your email. And definitely don't use Twitter.

A lesson we didn't think we had to learn, but Anthony Weiner made sure we did.

How is this even remotely possible ? I mean what did he do, occasionally sent here the entire text of War and Peace or something ?

You know how it goes -- if you and a friend exchange just six or seven short messages, and you both keep hitting "reply with history," then suddenly each of those emails grows to 10 pages of headers and coding and reptitive junk. 

the list begins and ends with Damian Lewis. People Magazine decision-makers are idiots.

Yes, the star of "Homeland" -- I can't tell if he's skin-crawlingly creepy or devastatingly hot or a mixture of both. I guess that's what we call acting.

I don't know how they do it. If I were one, I'd want all male staffers around my husband. but that's not even foolproof--who was the tickle fight guy?

Eric Massa. Yeah, that was a good one.

Can't remember whether it was your famous rule that got people all worked up.

Was it the rule about how you should only have an affair with someone who has as much to lose as you do? Or the rule about not sleeping with anyone who is more screwed up than you are?

Don't forget Wayne Hays and Elizabeth Ray, his secretary who didn't even know how to answer the office phone.

That was a good one . . .

But Mary Bono Mack is leaving town, right?

Yes, sadly -- Mary Bono Mack and her husband Connie Mack both lost their elections. Sorry. They were a cute couple.

And apparently you won't have your Brauchli and your dessert at the same time, either.


When Paula Broadwell appeared on "The Daily Show" to promote her bio of Petraeus, Jon Stewart astutely observed that the only controversy re the book was a matter of how adulatory it was. I wonder if he totally saw through Broadwell's obsession at the time, as opposed to making a comment that only in hindsight fits the situation.

A friend of mine said he knew they were having an affair just by reading her book.

Somehow, someway this Petraeus scandal will become a Lifetime movie in the next 2 years and I will be watching!

But will it be an episode of Law & Order?

Liz Taylor, who coincidentally, is being played by Lindsey Lohan in an upcoming movie.

Ah, but Liz Taylor is in a category by herself.

If you're doing a movie with Sela Ward and need a male love interest I'm your guy. No questions asked. On affairs, it's not quite the same but does Princess Diana qualify as a married woman more famous than her man?

Oh, that's true. And someone also pointed out (somewhere in this sprawling-out-of-control thread) that Camilla Parker Bowles was of course married.

I wonder if Paula Broadwell simply considered Jill Kelley unworthy of the friendship of the Petraeus family, like some sort of parvenu.

Maybe. Whatever it was, she was clearly not a rational player. . . .

Do ALL generals and admirals have groupies and entourages of the magnitude that the Petraeuses do?

They all have groupies, but I would imagine that your entourage grows with your rank and prestige.

ooh, or use a code, like in the Wire, and then reporters will have to be smart like Prez to crack it!

Exactly. I mean, it takes some work, but this isn't supposed to be easy, right?

What kind of author goes on TV to promote her supposedly serious book, while wearing a frilly black silk halter top? When I go on book tours I wear a tailored suit jacket and a simple neutral top, with either tailored slacks or a longish skirt, in order to look professional and be taken seriously.

Yes, but . . . . has it occurred to you that TV bookers, and the publishing company execs who want their authors booked on TV shows, might have a bit of a bias towards bright-eyed, toned-tricep authors? And there are male authors, too, who benefit from this bias.

Well, this has been a healthy conversation. Can't even begin to answer a fraction of your questions. But thanks for a thoughtful and entertaining chat. Catch you back here next week at this time, but stay in touch all week long at

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