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Two Parties, One Event

By Richard Leiby
Wednesday, January 19, 2005; Page C03

Bipartisanship: What a concept. "We wanted to start the week with unity," said jewelry designer Ann Hand, passing out star pins to Democratic and Republican bigwigs as they filed into Georgetown's Cafe Milano on Monday night. The GM-sponsored party put the likes of Sen. Joe Lieberman, ex-Clinton official Sandy Berger and Terry McAuliffe, the departing DNC chief, in the same room as presidential inaugural co-chairman Brad Freeman, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson and Homeland Security Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson.

"You celebrate a new beginning," Lieberman told us. "It's an American celebration." But will the unity vibe last? Said Jackson, a longtime Dubya friend: "I think the president made it clear when he said he had a mandate but he was going to reach across the aisle. . . . When he says something, he means it."


Two stars: Laura Bush's chief of staff, Andi Ball, and HUD's Alphonso Jackson at Cafe Milano. (Lauren Victoria Burke - For The Washington Post)

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Republican lawyer Victoria Toensing surveyed the mixed crowd and observed: "How ecumenical." Precisely the goal of the hosts, who included Abigail Blunt, wife of House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, and Debbie Dingell, wife of Democratic Rep. John Dingell. But for media celebs who showed up to schmooze, eat and imbibe -- among them Chris Matthews, Jeff Greenfield, Chris Wallace and Wolf Blitzer -- the fun may already be over. "This is my first and last party," Blitzer told us. "I'm working all week." Well, somebody has to.

America's Courageous Troops, Put to the Test Once More

• Rivaled only perhaps by Las Vegas, inauguration week boasts an uncanny ability to pull "Where are they now?" celebs out of the woodwork. Tony Orlando will sing tomorrow night at the Veterans Inaugural Ball, and soft-rocker par excellence Michael Bolton performs that night at the Heroes Red, White & Blue Ball to buck up the troops, including wounded vets of the Iraq war.

He'll be playing at the charity event with disco guitar legend Nile Rodgers and Chic. "We're gonna jam on some things and try and keep spirits up," Bolton told us. It's strictly nonpartisan: "I'm not a part of the celebration of any candidate or any president at this event. I'm there celebrating the heroes who have served and are serving. I wouldn't even think of discussing the upsides and downsides of the war in Iraq. The only thing I think about is getting these troops support. Just the thought of politicizing that is grotesque to me."

Tickets to both of the veterans support balls are still available; more info at citizenshelpingheroes.org and veteransgala.com.

IRS vs. Richard Hatch: Who's the Survivor Now?

• Some 51 million people tuned in when Richard Hatch, the fat naked guy from "Survivor," became a millionaire winner on the CBS reality show's first season. But we guess he didn't realize that at least one of those viewers might be an IRS agent. Yesterday, after the feds charged Hatch with evading taxes on his windfall, he agreed to plead guilty.

Prosecutors said Hatch filed false 2000 and 2001 tax returns, omitting his income from the show -- which turned out to be $1,010,000 -- and an additional $321,000 he was paid as a personality at a Boston radio station. Hatch, 43, a corporate trainer in Newport, R.I., is scheduled to be arraigned Monday. He faces five years and a $250,000 fine, but the penalty is expected to be less since he copped a plea.

Hatch didn't return a call left at his office yesterday. But his attorney Justin Holden told The Post's John Maynard: "Our official position is that between now and next Monday we have nothing official to say."

SQUIBS

Gregg and Evan Spiridellis, the wacky brothers who encapsulated the presidential campaign in a cartoon set to music by Woody Guthrie, have set the Bush inaugural festivities to "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain." Starting today you can hear and see it on JibJab.com. One verse, according to a preview given to Washingtonpost.com reporter Robert MacMillan, has the president proclaiming: "I will stabilize Iraq in my second term! I will amend the Con-sti-too-she-un! Then I'll eliminate the taxes that are breakin' all our back-siz!" The cartoon also jabs Democrats, but, as Gregg Spiridellis said yesterday, "The thing about the Democratic Party is that there isn't much that defines it at the moment, which makes it a hard target to hit."

• While Republicans are painting the town red, a PAC called Next wants to paint it blue. Volunteers have been passing out blue light bulbs and posters around town, aiming to "illuminate D.C. as the blue zone that it is," explains chairman Brian Komar. At its "Blue Ball" tomorrow at Cafe Asia downtown, the effort culminates with a blue spotlight and blue-tied people sauntering onto, yes, a blue carpet.

With Anne Schroeder


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