Obama's Very Tall NSA Adviser Hobnobs on Holiday Circuit
Barack Obama's pick to be his national security adviser, Gen. Jim Jones, is a hit on the holiday party circuit. At least he was Tuesday night at the one of the more festive Christmas parties held annually in Washington: Rep. Ellen Tauscher's (D-Calif.) fete at her mansion near Embassy Row.
Jones has been regular at Tauscher's party for years as he has transformed from commandant of the Marine Corps to Supreme Allied Commander of Europe to CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (where he is now) to national security adviser-designate. After Obama's news conference last week announcing his national security team, Jones was more of celebrity than he'd ever been.
Reporters immediately glommed on to him. In as few words as possible and standing straighter than we though humanly possible, Jones told us he has been preparing for his next job by consulting former national security advisers, including perhaps the most famous of them all: Henry Kissinger.
Jones, who could well be the tallest member of the Obama administration, came to the party with Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was several heads and shoulders shorter than Gen. Jones.
Asked whether he'd more accessible to the media than his Bush administration predecessors, the general deftly demurred.
Tauscher, chairwoman of the fiscally conservative and hawkish New Democrat Coalition, drew some 300 guests to her party, including dozens of her House colleagues. Among them: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer; Reps. Joe Crowley (D-Conn.); Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.); Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.); Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) and Melissa Bean (D-Ill.). Bean was peppered with questions about her state's amazing scandal involving Gov. Rod Blagojevich trying to sell the Senate seat Obama vacated.
Also mingling at the party amid the festive tunes of a jazz trio and clanking of pink champagne cocktails was another very important man, at least to Tauscher - Jim Cieslak, the congresswoman's steady squeeze. (Sorry for burying the lead for those of you who have long been wondering who Tauscher, a single mother, is spending time with these days.)
Cieslak is a retired Marine aviator and Delta captain. And we suspect the romance could be serious, given that we were able to coax the information from sources who have long been tight-lipped about Tauscher's private life.
December 10, 2008; 5:30 PM ET
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