Charlie Wilson's War, which opened on Friday, is a movie I think everyone should see. Not because Julia Roberts delivers a shoddy Texas accent or because Philip Seymour Hoffman steals every scene he's in or because Tom Hanks is the lead and Americans love Tom Hanks even more than deep-fried crucifix-shaped guns. But besides being a really interesting (if not frenetically-paced) crash course in the history of the United States' involvement (and subsequent lack thereof) in Afghanistan, the movie's greatest asset is the man who inspired it: the real-life Charlie Wilson, six-term congressman from Texas, notorious womanizer, bleeding-heart genius IQ-ed anti-communist and damn they-don't-make-em-like-they-used-to Piece Of Work. The Washington Post interviewed a number of the women who worked with Wilson during his days on the Hill. And amazingly, not a one had anything less than gushingly complimentary about the man who said of his female employees, "You can teach 'em to type, but you can't teach 'em to grow tits."
Charlie did not drink in the office. At least not until the end of the day.
— Elaine Lang Cornett, former Wilson staffer.
We did not show cleavage in the office. I had no cleavage to show.
— Carol Simons Huddleston, former Wilson staffer
[Wilson's apartment] was much cheesier in real life [than it was in the movie]. It was floor-to-ceiling mirrors.
— D'Anna Tindal, former Wilson staffer
The movie made it seem like he called us all jailbait. He never called us jailbait.
— Amy Maccarone. (See, he only called the interns jailbait!)
I thought, 'Who is this Neanderthal?' and I stormed into his office. He burst out laughing. He has spent his whole life figuring out how to pull people's chains — and he was pulling mine.
— former Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder, upon being sent by Wilson a photo of a tombstone that read "Mrs. Davy Crockett" and a note which read "In Texas, we don't even let women use their first name on their tombstones."
He'd never met Farrah [Fawcett] in his life, but he reads [in a gossip column that the two are dating] and says, 'You think if I call her, she'll go out with me?'
— Elaine Lang Cornett, former Wilson press secretary
He asked me to dance, and somebody took a picture of us dancing and published it in The Washington Post and Charlie said, 'I've never been seen dancing with a woman that old! Those damn liberals printed it on purpose, showing me dancing with an old lady!'
— Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder
He used to drive us crazy because he was such a chauvinist, but he also gave us so many opportunities. For heaven's sakes, I was a woman on Defense Appropriations, where there weren't very many of us. I'm a big fan.
— D'Anna Tindal
Sticking To His Guns [Washington Post]