NCUA's Northup Rubs Elbows with the Rich and Famous at the Kennedy Center
WASHINGTON - By day, he traverses Capitol Hill with some of the nation's most powerful lawmakers and works at NCUA, and at night Director of Congressional and Government Affairs Cliff Northup hobnobs with the stars. This was Northup's ninth year volunteering at the Kennedy Center Honors program held two weekends ago. The event will be televised Dec. 27 on CBS, he said. "This is a personal thing my wife and I do every year," Northup explained. "My wife's been doing it about 25 years. When we got married, I got involved." For 2005, Northup served as the escort for Willie Nelson and his crew. It was a challenge given Nelson's penchant for traveling everywhere by bus with D.C.'s tight tunnels and even tighter security, but everyone made it to the rehearsals, show, and dinner on time. "We made it through the tunnels, but just barely," Northup said, explaining that the bus had to let the air out of its suspension system. Security for the dinner at the State Department, where Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice presented the actual award, was difficult to convince to allow Nelson's bus through, but he managed. Northup did not attend the dinner ceremony. Late Sunday, Dec. 4, Northup was charged with escorting Paul Newman and his assistant back and forth from Dulles airport. Nelson, Newman, Glenn Close and Tom Brokaw gathered to help the Kennedy Center honor Robert Redford. Northup was able to watch from backstage. "It makes for a fun evening," Northup said. When asked about his favorite and least favorite celebs to work with, he said, "I don't have any least favorites. There are some stars who are high maintenance, but I haven't gotten any of those people." He added his new favorites are Nelson and Newman. Northup announced he is leaving the agency in January.