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Drew Carey, a Man of 'Reason'

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Monday, October 29, 2007

So it turns out Drew Carey isn't practically the only Republican in Hollywood after all. He's practically the only Libertarian!

"Just because I make fun of Democrats doesn't make me a Republican," the comic smirked when we asked about his politics at a Dupont Circle reception Saturday for the Reason Foundation, the libertarian think tank that helped Carey find his way. "I picked up an issue of [its] magazine and agreed with every word in it. You don't know what you are sometimes until someone puts a name to it."

Now he's returning the favor with a series of Web videos (the latest extols private-sector roads to reduce congestion) that try "to take the wonkiness out of Reason. . . . I want to make it all pie charts and bright colors." Is it hard for libertarians to make their case? "Clearly!" he said with a laugh. "The free-market part of it the Republicans like, but they don't like the free-mind part, while the Democrats like the free-mind stuff but not the free markets."

The former Marine reservist (who put on his trademark glasses here only to pose for photos) arrived with a gaggle of young women in sparkly black dresses -- co-hostesses from his new "The Price Is Right" gig who visited Walter Reed with him Thursday.

So are these free-market/free-mind kind of ladies, Drew? "I don't know -- I've never really talked politics with them."

Cosmetic Surgery for the Meridian Gala

Is your gala showing its age? It's the secret fear of every host in town, scrambling to attract a younger crowd to charity balls. No disrespect to Greatest Generation and boomer types, but they won't always be around to write the checks.

There was a certain passing-the-torch vibe Friday at the 39th annual ball for Meridian International Center. Sure, there was the usual establishment mix (all the VIP Mikes: Homeland Security's Chertoff, CIA's Hayden, Joint Chiefs' Mullen). But the room was skewing younger, thanks to such fun-boosters as a second dance floor (with a Cuban band) and a high-end silent auction at what used to be the kids' table, the lively pre-ball dinner at the White-Meyer House (most gray-hairs dine at various embassies). Youthful first-timers included Michelle and Mayor Adrian Fenty, who skipped the dancing for fear of straining something before yesterday's marathon.

"People, more and more, are looking for a fun party," ball chair Isabel Ernst told us. "They don't want to be stuck having a four-course meal." Some of the young pretty people said they'd been nudged to attend by Meridian's new president, former diplomat Stuart Holliday, 42. "We've broken down the generational barrier," he said. "People of a younger generation are now in a position of responsibility. They see Meridian as their place." Translation: Finally, Gen-Xers can afford the $500 ticket!

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

* Jodie Foster lunching at M Cafe in Chevy Chase with three female friends Saturday. The two-time Oscar winner (eyeglasses, black jacket, boots over skinny jeans) had soup, salmon carpaccio, a mimosa; unclear what brought her to town.

* George Clooney dining with another guy at Cafe Milano on Friday night. The jeans-clad star, here shooting the Coen brothers' "Burn After Reading," sat facing the room at the central see-and-be-seen table. No car service -- walked away after dinner into the pouring rain.

LOVE, ETC.

* On Hold: Multimillionaire Joe Robert, 55, and model-boutique manager Ashley Taylor, 25, have indefinitely postponed their wedding. The international real estate investor and the dazzling blond granddaughter of social titans Lloyd and Ann Hand dated a year before their July engagement (sunset on a yacht in Capri). But plans for a lavish June ceremony at Italy's Grand Hotel Quisisana and a mammoth reception back in D.C. have been scrubbed. Unknown whether Taylor is still wearing her ginormous emerald-cut Graff diamond.

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