John McCaslin

The public feud between Hollywood actor Josh Lucas and renowned pollster Frank Luntz has no sign of dissipating before Friday's Washington premiere of the Barry Levinson documentary "PoliWood," starring Mr. Lucas, Spike Lee, Susan Sarandon, Ellen Burstyn, Matthew Modine, Richard Schiff, David Crosby and Graham Nash.

Oh, we can't forget the cast's lone Republican, Mr. Luntz.

While the pollster has a close, personal rapport with Mr. Levinson, there is clearly bad blood between Mr. Luntz and Mr. Lucas. At the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Mr. Levinson filmed the pollster conducting a seminar for celebrities, explaining how to more effectively convey support for issues such as arts education.

But as the Daily Beast Web site reported, when "Luntz mildly suggests that the actors tone down any in-your-face rhetoric, perhaps use language to sway opponents not antagonize them, actor Josh Lucas turns as red-faced as a kid whose toy has been taken away on the playground; he's indignant at being told what to say. Actress Gloria Reuben actually compares Luntz's advice to stomping on her First Amendment rights."

At last week's New York Tribeca Film Festival premiere of "PoliWood," Mr. Lucas turned on Mr. Luntz again. At a post-screening Q-and-A session on a stage filled with "liberal actor activists" - or so Mr. Luntz describes them for Inside the Beltway - the pollster was apparently one Republican too many for Mr. Lucas, who complained that "Luntz had set me up."

Mr. Luntz's response to the 37-year-old actor: "How could I set him up? I didn't even know who he was."

As earlier reported in this column, Mr. Luntz and Mr. Lucas will soon be neighbors: the pollster to the politicians is now the pollster to the stars. He just bought a house in Los Angeles and will be moving shortly, he tells us. In the meantime, he will attend Friday's "PoliWood" premiere.

Mr. Luntz is no stranger to Hollywood. He was a consultant for NBC's "The West Wing" and Showtime's "The American Candidate." He played himself in the TV sitcom "LateLine," starring political newcomer Al Franken. Otherwise, he has appeared on virtually every network news show.


Thomas C. Goldstein, co-head of Akin Gump's Supreme Court practice (he's argued 21 cases before the nation's highest court), says nobody really knows who President Obama will pick to succeed retiring Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter.

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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