The inaugural cocktail party is so. . . 2009. This time, the celebration du jour is brunch.
“There’s so much competition at night,” said Susan Molinari, who heads Google’s D.C. office. Four years ago, Google threw a swanky inauguration-night party; this year it was brunch at the National Portrait Gallery with ELLE magazine and Center for American Progress. “People come in from all over the country to go to these balls,” Molinari said. “It seemed nice to have something for them in the middle of the day.”
Plus, VIPs aren’t exhausted yet. “People are fresher in the morning,” said Daily Beast editor Tina Brown, who hosted Sunday’s brunch at Cafe Milano with Harvey Weinstein, Eva Longoria, and Credit Suisse.
So. Many. Brunches: WPAS with Jessye Norman and Audra McDonald on Saturday; Emily’s List, the DCCC, Politico and ABC on Sunday — though “ours is actually a lunch reception,” said bureau chief Robin Sproul. Start time, 12:30. “We wanted to be respectful of the swearing-in” at noon, she said.
Well, we call it brunch if there are mimosas and Bloody Marys. But the real draw is names: Google got actresses Kate Walsh and Allison Williams, Susan Rice, Kathleen Sebelius, and Tony and Heather Podesta, the separating-but-still-friendly superlobbyists, who came together. ABC snagged Rice, Diane Sawyer, Anita McBride, Joe Lockhart, Arianna Huffington and Ken Duberstein; Cokie Roberts and Rep. John Dingell reminisced about attending Truman’s 1949 inaugural. (“I had just turned five,” explained Roberts.)
Biggest mob scene was at Milano: Colin Powell hugging Sir Harold Evans, Peggy Noonan cornering David Axelrod, Weinstein flattering Grover Norquist (“We’re having fun being bi-partisan,” Norquist told us), and new Miss America Mallory Hagan schmoozing Sen. John Kerry like a seasoned pro. Also: Valerie Jarrett, Gayle King, Andrea Mitchell, Gene Sperling, Chris Dodd, Ann Hand, Martin O’Malley, Star Jones and Frank Luntz. “I always like these things,” said Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Bob Hormats. He paused. “For a while. . . in small doses.” Like, say, brunch? Exactly.
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