Moguls at the Moguls: The President's Team

Laura Bush Waves Before Boarding Plane
Laura Bush and daughter Barbara boarding their plane to Rome. The first lady's visit will be packed with official meetings and Olympic viewing. (Charles Dharapak -- AP)
By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Thursday, February 9, 2006

Laura Bush , head of the U.S. presidential delegation to the 2006 Winter Olympics, is cramming in some VIP sightseeing in Rome before heading to Turin. Today, she meets with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican and lunches with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi before attending a breast cancer awareness event in Rome. She'll drop by Aviano Air Base Friday morning and meet with members of the U.S. team in the Olympic Village before the big opening ceremony tomorrow night. The first lady will attend a few competitions Saturday before heading home.

Joining FLOTUS and daughter Barbara are former Olympic medalists: figure skaters Dorothy Hamill and Debi Thomas , speed skater Eric Heiden , gymnast Kerri Strug and football star/bobsledder (remember that ? ) Herschel Walker . U.S. ambassador to Italy Ronald Spogli and presidential pals Roland Betts and Brad Freeman complete the delegation.

What exactly does the delegation do? As far as we can tell, they hang out with other big shots at the festivities: Spain's King Juan Carlos , Norway's King Harald , Prince Albert of Monaco and Cherie Blair , wife of British Prime Minister Tony Blair , lead the list of 40 kings, queens and heads of state or government appearing at the Snow Bowl.

And why is Jenna missing all the fun? She's stuck in Washington at her teaching job.

Mail Bonding: McCain and Obama Make Amends

Barack Obama with John McCain
Playing nice: Sens. Obama and McCain.(Kevin Lamarque - Reuters)
Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama appeared to make up yesterday after their unusual public poison-pen exchange (McCain accusing Obama of "partisan posturing" and "disingenuousness"; Obama expressing hurt that McCain "questioned my sincerity") over lobbying reform.

As Obama entered the crowded Senate Rules Committee hearing room, he playfully brandished a fist while putting an arm around the seated McCain. Awwwwww! Many pictures were snapped. "I value his input," McCain told the panel. Said Obama: "I'm particularly pleased to be sharing this panel with my pen pal John McCain."

Ehrlich Has a Reason to Fear the Turtle

Raise our tuition, will you?!? Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich , sitting courtside with wife Kendel at the U-Md. Comcast Center for Tuesday's basketball game, was loudly booed by the home-turf crowd when his image was flashed on the big screen. In front of all those Virginia fans, even! Supporters broke through the noise with applause (perhaps remembering he did throw state campuses an extra $100 mil this year -- and hey, he is trying to score $1.5 mil to fix up the Terps' golf course!).

No booing for 6-year-old son Drew , who was a veritable boogie machine on the sidelines, aping the moves of the Maryland Dance Team.


· Smooching : Finally! Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were snapped (drum roll, please) . . . kissing! The two locked lips in Paris on Sunday, and People magazine posted the picture on its Web site yesterday. Does this mean they'll finally admit to being a couple? Pitt's publicist, Cindy Guagenti , managed to say "We just don't comment on their personal lives" without laughing.

· Magnetic attraction : Bill Nye , PBS's Science Guy, jumped into his greatest experiment ever: marriage. The 50-year-old Nye tied the knot with oboist Blair Tindall on Friday; cellist Yo-Yo Ma and MIT professor/pianist Michael Hawley performed a wedding march. First marriage for both.

· Not to be : Actor Ralph Fiennes and longtime love Francesca Annis are parting after a decade of older woman/hot young guy bliss. The 43-year-old actor met the 61-year-old actress in 1995 when she played his mother in a production of "Hamlet."

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

· Reese Witherspoon , exiting a Burger King Tuesday near the White House with a bag of carryout, while husband Ryan Phillippe films the Robert Hanssen FBI spy drama "Breach" over in Vienna. Oversize sunglasses, nice scarf, hat, and "very, very, very cute," according to the guy who held the door for her and pegged her as the Oscar nominee in an instant -- that smile, that chin. Does Burger King do salads these days?

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