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Who's the scariest motherfucker you've ever dealt with?

Well, it's not the unnamed studio head I mentioned in the Los Angeles Times piece, telling me: "I'm the scariest motherfucker you'll ever have as an enemy in this town." And it's not Marty Singer, the celebrity lawyer who's always writing demand letters on behalf of Lindsay Lohan and the Olsen twins when not calling up and threatening to sue. I must say, if you scare easy, you should be writing obits, not doing a gossip column.

But thinking back, one of the more bracing, stomach-churning encounters I ever had was with Carl Bernstein when I was doing the column at the Washington Post. Carl wasn't happy that I was writing about him bouncing a paycheck to an assistant, and he must have phoned me and several of the editors once every ten minutes at deadline to get the item either killed or revised to his liking. Being at the business end of Carl's relentlessness gave me a new understanding of how he helped break the Watergate story.

Are you gonna request

I guess a lot of folks read the LAT thing as a job application. Alas, they're not doing a lot of hiring these days — from what I've been reading, quite the opposite. And I really like living in New York and intend to stick around.

The folks at Page Six were making out like Conde Nast assistants let into the Teen Vogue fashion closet, grabbing all kinds of goodies that other newspaper reporters would get fired for taking (much less demanding). What was the most amazing freebie you were offered but rejected? What's the best that you didn't reject? And how does NYC gossip swag compare to DC gossip swag?

There's just no comparison between DC and New York when it comes to swag. Number one, The WP had a very strict ethics policy — and it was basically, you can't take nothin' from no one. The New York Daily News was a lot looser, leaving it up to "good taste." I've been offered all sorts of lovely gifts — exotic travel, hand-tailored suits, etc. — nothing especially eyepopping, but certainly things I didn't accept. Various PR companies were always sending bottles of this and that, which I would either pass out to colleagues or, depending on whether I was in the mood to lug heavy stuff on the subway, take home. But when I attended fancy events, my assistant was always berating me for forgetting to bring back the gift bags.

In your time in DC, who was the hottest politician's wife? Did you ever get lucky in a federal office building? Ever get drunk enough to skinny dip in the Potomac? If you were forced to make a choice, would you rather have sex with Jessica Cutler or let a dude jerk you off? Essay question: What do you REALLY think of Ana Marie Cox?

Well, it wasn't Elizabeth Dole — or for that matter, Bob. I always liked Sonny Bono's wife Mary — who later took his congressional seat after that spot of bother on the ski slope — especially when she wore that leopard print getup. I undoubtedly did get drunk enough, but I at the time was nowhere near the Potomac — which is teeming with all sorts of lethal microbes and pollutants — so I remain alive and healthy enough to be with you today. As for your either/or question, that is such a false choice. I like Ana Marie and think she's really done well for herself.

—Lloyd Grove

Earlier: Ask Lloyd Grove: On Paris Hilton and Head