The Nation’s governors attended their annual State Dinner last night in the East Room of The White House hosted by President and Mrs. Bush. It’s a tradition that began with Teddy Roosevelt 100 years ago. The governors dined on Hudson River duck rather than the Maine lobster and Colorado lamb served last year. But that wasn’t the only difference I noticed throughout the evening.
Betsy Stuart’s puzzles are a cut above the rest and so was Stuart, herself, who this week at age 60, lost her valiant decades-long battle with cancer. For Barbara Bush, the pieces all came together during a vacation many years ago with husband George –the hand-cut pieces of her Betsy Stuart jigsaw puzzle, that is. The former First Lady had brought along the 500-piece puzzle–a picture of Manhattan’s skyline–on the couple’s 12-day Aegean cruise. “It drove us crazy,” she said later. “We loved it.” Now she’s a member of Stuart’s rental club, the Netflix of the puzzle world.
It doesn’t take long to discover that there are dog people and non-dog people. The latter don’t understand when I talk to my “kids” — as I often refer to my toy poodles — Biscotti, 9; and Campari, 4. My fur-babies are an integral part of my daily life. I’m told we even look alike, the same reddish hair color with the same wavy texture. They sense my moods, never judge, know when to play and when to comfort me. My holiday cards feature them, and friends always ask how they’re doing.
Want a retreat from your daily routine? How about a night in a bona fide two-story Log Cabin? You’ll sleep in a four-poster timber bed with an aquarium built right into the headboard and bathe in an environmental habitat room – all this in the heart of D.C.?Or are you in the mood for a cruise? Try the windowless Stateroom, with its king-sized waterbed and nautical detail. Beatles fans can soak in the tub immersed with not only the sounds of John Lennon, but his face reflected on the bathroom floor of the Lennon room. I hunkered down in the magnificent Fifth Dimension suite while my house was undergoing renovation. After a whirlpool bath and a dreamy nights sleep in a hand-finished mahogany Sleigh bed from Milan, I worked out on my private treadmill.
Virginians rejoice! Governor Tim Kaine has promised to serve out his full four-year term. When I ran into him Sunday evening at President Bush’s annual dinner for the nation’s governors at The White House, I pressed him as to why he felt the need to endorse Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination so early in the election cycle. After all, Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois, Obama’s home state, is so far the only other governor to do so. Most savvy politicians sit back and wait rather than make such an aggressive move a year before the primary. It’s significant because Kaine, respected among Southern Governors – the south is an important voter block –supported a mid-westerner over a fellow southerner, former Sen. John Edwards (N.C).
Terry McAuliffe is ready for the challenge, any challenge.”I’ll do anything once,” boasted the McLean resident and author of the recently published, “What A Party! My Life Among Democrats: Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators, and Other Wild Animals.”
Red, white and blue balloons reminiscent of a political convention decorated the ceiling of the Fountain room at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York City on Monday evening. The energy in the room was high and filled with buzz of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for the nomination. The occasion was the launch of the publication of Clinton best pal and golf companion, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe’s book, “What a Party! My Life among Democrats: Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators and Other Wild Animals.”
Dolly Parton dressed in a dramatic white gown and teased beehive hairdo looked around at the guests at the White House reception, Sunday, “I’m honored to be here with all these people wearing all these fancy clothes.” The occasion was a reception for the honorees before the 29th Annual Kennedy Center Honors performance and late night dinner. And although President Bush and the First Lady, The Cheneys and Secretary of State Condolezza Rice took part, this evening was show biz before politics.
South African President Thabo Mbeki, as well as many of the country’s other influential leaders including Nelson Mandela, come from South Africa’s eclectic Eastern Cape. The region is rich in natural beauty but economically the poorest of South Africa’s nine provinces. South Africans are also proud of their top diplomat in the U.S., Ambassador Barbara Masekela. Also from the Eastern Cape, she was an anti-apartheid activist, former chief of staff to Nelson Mandela, and the sister of the great jazz trumpeter, Hugh Masekela.
For Millions of Americans, Sunday mornings mean couching it in front of the tube, favorite coffee mug and bagel in hand, watching political TV talk shows. This viewing ritual is deeply rooted, traversing affiliations – party as well as personal. The guests and hosts of these shows are the political equivalent of rock stars: For die-hard fans with a little imagination, Robert Novak bears a resemblance to Ed Sullivan (with slightly less hair), while Donald Rumsfeld brings to mind Anthony Hopkins (with slightly more hair). The only thing missing from the weekly performances are the live audiences. Except, of course, in Washington, where “Meet the Press” takes on an entirely new meaning.