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During Congressman Dick Gephardt's latest ill-fated campaign for president, the candidate managed to do the impossible: look progressive on gay-rights issues. This, despite his public opposition to gay marriage, a ballsy stance in light of the fact that his 30-year-old daughter, Chrissy, is a lesbian living in a committed relationship with a woman in Washington, D.C. Chrissy was the campaign operative considered most responsible for daddy Dick's homo-friendly image.
Unreal was fortunate enough to nab fifteen minutes of phone time last week with Chrissy, who was recently named grassroots campaign corps director for the Stonewall Democrats, a prominent, D.C.-based Democratic lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organization.
Unreal:True or false: Senator John Kerry's position on gay marriage is the essence of politically motivated waffling.
Chrissy Gephardt: I think that is very much said correctly. It is the epitome of trying to be right on the issue when there is no one way or the other to please everybody. What's ended up happening is he's not going one way or the other on the issue, and he's upsetting both sides.
Who would win a Greco-Roman wrestling match between your dad and John Ashcroft?
I think my dad would win, because Ashcroft is a little weak now after his pancreatitis. He goes to the same hospital [George Washington University Hospital] that I've used. It sort of frightens me that he's been in the same hallways as I have. He's so extreme that he evokes very extreme emotions in me.
Now that your dad is freed from the shackles of having to run for office again, do you think he'll be more likely to come around on gay marriage?
Y'know, I've talked to him about it and I do think he's more likely to come around. He's never said definitely yes or no. But I think with a little pushing and persuasion, I can get him there.
How do you think your dad would react if you and your partner went to San Fran and got hitched? Would he be happy for you, or would he say, 'Chrissy, you guys should have gone to Vermont and gotten a civil union instead?'
No, I think that my dad would rather that I get married. I think that he would prefer that I did the real thing. He'd be very proud of me and very supportive.
So are you going to get married in the near future?
I'm not ready to get married. I think it's great that couples are going out and doing it, but I'm just not at that stage in my life. But maybe down the road. Once you have the right doesn't mean you need to run out and do it.
Reverend Al Sharpton supports gay marriage. Why, then, did prominent gay and lesbian advocacy groups not hop on the Sharpton presidential bandwagon before it was too late?
I think because, while they believe in supporting somebody who's aligned with their beliefs, they also want somebody who has the ability to beat Bush.
Early in the campaign, Al Sharpton was spending more time in your father's district in St. Louis than your dad was. Would you be supportive of a Sharpton candidacy for St. Louis mayor in 2009?
I like Al Sharpton. I think he'd be a great mayor. I think he's got great ideas; he's a very smart man, very eloquent. He talks a good talk, but people need to see him in action to give him credibility he needs.
In his heart of hearts, do you think Dick Cheney wants a constitutional amendment preventing his daughter from ever getting married?
I don't really know what Dick Cheney's thinking. I just know that he supports the president, that he probably loves his daughter and probably feels conflicted on the issue.
Who's the cuter Bush daughter, Barbara or Jenna?
If Mike Martz were serious about filling the Rams' perennial hole at fullback, he'd camp out at the Creve Coeur Jewish Community Center and wait for the burly Jim Bourisaw. Last year, the five-foot-eight, 215-pound Bourisaw took the gold medal at the International Powerlifting Association's Men's Masters World Bench Press Championships in the Czech Republic by putting up 420 pounds. He's 66, mind you, and didn't get serious about power lifting until a mere eight years ago, turned on to it by his freakishly buff nephew.
"He's a strong man; he lifts boulders and pulls tractor-trailers," Bourisaw says of his nephew, Pat Rankin, who can often be found on late-night ESPN competing in one of those infectiously entertaining hulkamaniac competitions featuring guys with spiked, bleach-blond hair and names like Magnus von Hugenpecs. "My nephew said, 'For an old man, you're strong.' So I found out I was the strongest in the world."
Unreal is happy to report that Bourisaw walks his talk, too, after we witnessed him throw up successive bench sets of 225, 275 and 315 pounds at the Creve Coeur J, where he occasionally trains in preparation for the upcoming St. Louis Senior Olympics competition, set for May 29 through June 2. Not surprisingly, Bourisaw, who recently moved to a country home in the Hannibal suburb of Palmyra after 65 years in Maryland Heights, expects to prevail in senior powerlifting, a new event in the 25th annual St. Louis Games.
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