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Come the TomKat Kickoff, Dan Snyder Will Be There

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Thursday, November 16, 2006

Even Oprah got shut out, but we can now report that Dan and Tanya Snyder received one of the coveted invitations to Saturday's wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes in Italy. Snyder and Cruise became business partners in August, and the celebrity couple stayed at the Redskins owner's Potomac home two months ago -- the two families bonded during an after-hours visit to Six Flags amusement park and the season opener at FedEx Field. Cruise and Holmes have returned the hospitality with an invite to the Wedding of the Year.

The Snyders, who flew to Rome yesterday, will leave right after the reception and fly straight to Tampa in time for Sunday's game against the Bucs. Now we really wish we were in the owners box!

Renee Zellweger, Eva Longoria -- We're Becoming the Stars' Riviera on the Potomac

Stars -- they're just like us! They weep over sad stories, they cast votes for "Dancing With the Stars," they command the attention of packed hotel ballrooms . . . oh, never mind.

D.C. got twin blasts of Hollywood cover-girl starpower in a whirlwind 18 hours. First up, Renee Zellweger, who presented "Beat the Odds" awards at a Children's Defense Fund dinner Tuesday. As she recognized five local teens who overcame hardships, Zellweger got a little verklempt. "Sorry!" she said, wiping back tears in an adorable Dorothy Boyd kind of way. "Mmmmmfff -- sorry. Ahh!" It's always a tear-jerking kind of event: This year's winners -- Natasha Bridge, Michael James Downey, Chloe Khan, Tuan Nguyen and Charlette Nicole Smith-- each got a laptop, a shopping spree and a scholarship (which we're told was doubled in size this year, to $10,000, through a quiet gift from the night's emcees, George Stephanopolous and Ali Wentworth).

The Oscar winner wore a deceptively simple Narciso Rodriguez dress (stark black with a shiny exposed zipper down the back). She told us she met CDF founder Marian Wright Edelman at a women's conference in Jordan: "She's a great inspiration." Alas, Zellweger said she'd be leaving D.C. that very night. (But did she? She was spotted later with friends at the 18th and U Duplex Diner, sharing pigs-in-a-blanket and tipping the bartender $100.)

The very next morning, and at the very same Capital Hilton: Eva Longoria, keynoting at a Latino Leaders Luncheon Series confab, in a fitted navy skirt-suit and lacy top. She was there, she told us, at the behest of lobbyist Mickey Ibarra, a pal from before she hit it big with "Desperate Housewives."

She spoke about -- oh, all kinds of things. "I'm here today to announce my candidacy for president . . . Oh. Wrong speech! Can you imagine the ads they would run with [her TV character] Gabrielle? . . . I'd probably win in California." Longoria also touted the importance of affordable housing for all -- "I'm not just talking about Kevin Federline."

Fun girl! But we really wanted to know what she thought of her pal Mario Lopez's final "Dancing With the Stars" performance. "He was great! Dang that British judge for not giving Mario a perfect score. I voted from the hotel line, my cell line, my assistant's line, my publicist's line and then I talked to Mario and said, 'They only let me vote five times,' and he said, 'That's all you get!' I thought something was wrong with my phone."

DeLay Staffers Abandon Their New Boss

While newly minted lame-duck Congresswoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs was happily explaining her seven-week action plan to our colleague Peter Carlson, a group of staffers in her office (who all previously worked for ex-Rep. Tom DeLay) resigned en masse Tuesday morning. The walkout occurred during Sekula-Gibbs's crowded open house, so it wasn't clear until later in the day that five DeLay loyalists in the Washington office and two in Texas's 22nd District office had abruptly jumped ship, according to chief of staff Lisa Dimond.

What gives? Roll Call reported yesterday that the unnamed staffers felt Sekula-Gibbs, who won a special election to serve the balance of "The Hammer's" term but lost the regular election to represent the district, was "mean" and pitched a fit when President Bush didn't drop by her party. Dimond denied the allegations, saying her longtime boss never expected the president and has "excellent people skills." The ex-staffers did not respond to requests for comment.

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