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The birthday crowd was in hysterics at Brasserie Les Halles on Pennsylvania Avenue on Tuesday night, when political satirist Mark Russell heaped praise on Washington public relations mogul and presidential-inaugural parade announcer Charlie Brotman for his myriad contributions on the occasion of his turning 80.


It was Mr. Brotman, the comedian insisted, who suggested to Bill Clinton that he introduce himself to Monica Lewinsky, encouraged Marion Barry to hook up with Rashida Moore, advised Fred Thompson to enter the 2008 presidential contest late — "the people will love you" — and disclosed to Sen. George Allen of Virginia that his state's motto was actually "Sic Semper Tyrannis Macaca."

All about Bubba

In the "my, how time flies" category, that was Bill Clinton descending on the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel in Washington on Tuesday. It was in 1999 that the Mayflower provided free of charge its $5,000 Presidential Suite so that House impeachment managers could huddle privately with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Now, almost 10 years later, Mr. Clinton was at the historic landmark appealing for support for his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, in her bid to become the next president. Mr. Clinton spoke for 45 minutes to a crowd of 400, who forked over $750,000 to Mrs. Clinton's campaign, Inside the Beltway is told.

Meanwhile, the hotel's legendary bartender, Sam Bonnlek, says he will be mixing a "Super Tuestini" for anybody who could use a beverage after next month's Super Tuesday voting. Feb. 5 is really super this year, with nearly two dozen states coming into play. In 2004, Super Tuesday involved only 10 states.


Oh, and while Mr. Bonnlek says his political concoction is red, it's "nonpartisan" and will have the same effect on Democrats as Republicans.


Given that the nation is at war, unemployment is up, home sales are down, and the national debt stands at more than $9 trillion, somebody ought to give freshman Rep. Harry E. Mitchell, Arizona Democrat, a medal for trying.

Trying, that is, to save us taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars currently going into the pockets of members of Congress in the form of annual pay raises.

Along with Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, Mr. Mitchell this week introduced the Stop the Congressional Pay Raise Act of 2008, to block the automatic pay raise members are scheduled to receive next year.

"I introduced a similar bill last year seeking to prevent an automatic pay raise for members from taking effect this year," said Mr. Mitchell, who for 28 years taught American government and economics in high school. "Unfortunately ... last year's bill failed to reach the floor."

Each member is now receiving $169,300, a $4,100 increase from last year.

Money in teaching

The Washington Post Co. has raised its annual dividend 5 percent to $8.60 a share, according to Editor & Publisher, which notes that the publisher of The Washington Post newspaper now refers to itself as an "education and media company."


The Post's "education unit generates most of its overall revenue," reveals the trade magazine. The Post owns Kaplan Inc., which holds classes and provides material to help students prepare for standardized tests.

And why are so many Washington men ducking into DC Coast before lunch is even served?

It's the men-only Cupid's Cooking School, discloses spokeswoman Simone Rathle, who says the restaurant "has been packing them in."

Starting at 11 a.m., DC Coast chefs teach men how to prepare a gourmet four-course Valentine's Day dinner, including wine pairings.

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