Euan goes to Washington

It's a raunchy life on Capitol Hill. 'Infamous' intern offers advice to PM's son
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The Independent US

Bright, perky things from across the US, who spend up to six months working for their member of Congress, put aside political differences and work hard at having a raucous good time.

On this particular evening, there was no sign of the latest eager intern to arrive in Washington: Euan Blair, son of the Prime Minister, who will spend three months working for the Republican Senator David Dreier, followed by a spell with the Democratic Senator Jane Harman. But there was no shortage of insights into what the 22-year-old can expect during his six months in the city.

"The social life is very exciting," Samantha, a 25-year-old "Hill staffer" from New Orleans, shouted above the din of conversation and the classic rock blasting from the bar's speakers. "I'm out after work until the early hours, then get up the next day and do the same again."

Samantha, standing with her 21-year-old friend Alexis - neither was willing to give her full name - suggested the Prime Minister's son would not have problems making friends. "He needs to get in touch with us," she said. "We'll show him a good time."

That the young Blair's British accent and European manner will draw the attention of the young women of Washington was confirmed by one of the city's most famous former interns, Jessica Cutler. She was fired from her temporary position after being exposed as the author of the "Washingtonienne" weblog, which gave raunchy details of her sex life.

Euan's transatlantic aura would be specially effective, she predicted, "on those girls from the South or the Mid-West who maybe have not yet met someone from overseas".

Ms Cutler, who wrote a book based on her sexploits entitled The Washingtonienne: A Novel, added: "It's very much like spring break. For one thing, you know you are not around for more than a month or two. You can pretty much do whatever you want. You would have to do something really bad to get fired, like keep a blog."

The real lure of an internship, other than the socialising, is that it looks good on the CV. As a result, although interns get a monthly stipend of only $1,000, competition for places is tough indeed.

At the same time, one thing that former and present interns agree on is that the workload is not particularly onerous. If Mr Blair's son is treated typically, he will be making photocopies, opening letters, answering the phone and hand-delivering messages to other members of Congress, an opportunity, apparently, to flirt and socialise with other interns. Much effort is expended trying to slip unnoticed into catered events put on by lobbyists, where the young workers can load up on free food and drink.

"All they do is get out of work as early as they can and go out and drink," said Kate Heiberg, who interned for Senator John Kerry in 2002 and now works for a New York production company. "It's a sea of young people drinking. All these young people are hooking up."

Leo Wood, who was at Bristol University at the same time as Euan Blair, and who interned at the libertarian Cato Institute in 2004, said that Washington was packed with young people from all over the world. Presumably speaking from experience, he agreed Blair junior would find his accent a social asset.

Mr Wood now works in public relations in London. How was his time in Washington? "I loved it."

Intern Life: The Monica factor

Interns and improper behaviour have probably existed side by side since work experience was invented. But the link was firmly fixed in the popular imagination as a result of Bill Clinton's "inappropriate" relationship with the then 21-year-old Monica Lewinsky, an affair that ultimately led to the President's impeachment by Congress.

It was reinforced by the affair between the married Congressman Gary Condit and intern Chandra Levy. Ms Levy disappeared in the summer of 2001, and her remains were found in woodland on the outskirts of the city the following summer. While police never linked Mr Condit with the murder, he lost his subsequent campaign for re-election.