Ted Stevens, Back On the Scene
Oh how the world turns. While his prosecutors are now under investigation for misconduct, the curmudgeonly ex-senator Ted Stevens is back on the Washington party circuit - vindicated, shrimp cocktail style.
The famed former senator from Alaska, who narrowly lost reelection in November after he was convicted on corruption charges, showed up at a fancy book party Thursday night for Philadelphia radio talk show host Michael Smerconish.
Stevens, 85, hinted to us that he's beginning work on his memoirs, sifting through mounds of archives of documents and mementos from his 39 years in the Senate, all of which are now housed at the University of Alaska.
"It's a hell of task," the famously gruff Alaskan groused. Though underneath his quintessential grumpy veneer, Stevens seemed more relaxed and at peace than he has in years, standing poolside at the home of Marina Ein, the publicist for Smerconish's book, "Morning Drive."
Could have a lot to do with that federal judge having dismissed Stevens' corruption conviction and appointing a special prosecutor to investigate the six Justice Department prosecutors who brought corruption charges against the senator.
In a classic Washington moment, also mingling at the party last night, grazing off the same buffet table as Stevens, was hotshot defense attorney Bill Taylor, a partner with Zuckerman Spaeder, who is defending the head of the Justice Department's Public Integrity section against potential criminal wrongdoing in the Stevens case.
We don't believe Stevens and Taylor had a chance to chat.
Sounds to us like Stevens may be looking for a ghostwriter to write his story. He told the Sleuth, "Well, I don't know that I'm writing it," suggesting that maybe he'll get a collaborator.
As Pennsylvania politics was the theme of last night's book party for Smerconish, Stevens counseled a concerned fan of Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) not to worry about his pal and old colleague being stripped of his seniority after switching parties.
"Arlen Specter is Arlen Specter. He'll maneuver just fine on the Senate floor," Stevens huffed. He said he sent Specter a letter of support after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's surprise move to deny Specter any committee chairmanships even after he had switched to the Democratic Party.
He also predicted Specter would win the general election in the Pennsylvania Senate race.
Speaking of which, both Smerconish and MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews, who had contemplated running for the Senate seat that Specter holds, told us that Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) has definitely decided not to run against Specter in the Democratic primary.
Matthews, who was getting in his car to leave the party as we were arriving, also pointed out (unprompted) that in one recent poll, "I beat Specter by 28 points." (He's just sayin', Arlen.)
Later, as Stevens was leaving the party, we asked him if he felt vindicated with the tables having turned on his prosecutors, or persecutors as he might call them. "As I said on the floor of the Senate, I don't have rear view mirrors. I only look forward."
With that, the octogenarian sauntered down the steps of Ein's Georgetown home and out into the free world.
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