"We've got 15,000 people here, we've raised $250,000, and Maurice Stans is under the table collecting money," said Mark Plotkin, a media-smart political organizer who knows a good quote when he says one.

Plotkin, chairman of the D.C. Kennedy for President Committee, was stretching the truth a little. A lot, actually. Maurice Stans wasn't anywhere in sight, nor were 15,000 people. And neither was the reason for last night's fund-raiser, namely presidential noncandidate Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.).

What was there was this: a healthy crop of young, liberal lawyers who looked as if they had gone to prep school; a sizable collection of young, liberal women, a lot of them blond; a smattering of old Udall and Muskie people; a college student or two; lots of reporters and a definite sense that this was the place to be last night for anyone 30ish, professional and social.

The stars among the media people were three NBC cameramen who poked lights and microphones at guests. Nobody minded. "I think they're kind of cute," said one of the guests of the crew. "Young and rich," said one of the crew of the guests.

"The TV people called me , I swear to God," said Plotkin.

The fund-raiser was at the Reservoir Road home of Geoffrey Gitner, a 35-year-old lawyer who said he's "into" giving good parties. Confirmed one of his friends, lawyer Ed Cohen: "This is the old watering hole for everybody who's cool in Washington."

And the politics? Well, everybody talked a lot about Kennedy "leadership" and "charisma" and "morale." Issues? They apparently got lost somewhere between the Massachusetts fried chicken and "Teddy beer" that guests consumed at red-checked tables in Gitner's back yard.

"I'm not very well informed about any of this yet, to tell you the truth," said Nina Sommaripa, a sophomore at American University.

"I wanted to come and get an idea of what some of Kennedy's views are -- I'm still learning," said Dorian Scherer, a nutritionist at the Georgetown Child Development Center.

Meanwhile, Marie Towey, a Massachusetts veteran of the JFK and RFK campaigns, stood on the sidelines and offered a critique the 200-plus crowd. "There are always a lot of cutesies around a campaign, you know what I mean?" she said.

At one point during the $30-a-head fund-raiser (nicknamed F.T.B.Y.K., which means For Teddy Before Yom Kippur), the crowd gurgled with anticipation when a committee member announced that Kennedy was due to arrive in 45 minutes.

But the Democratic senator was really at a reception at the Army Navy Club, and by 9 p.m., most guests had given up hope of a Teddy sighting.

"While we're here waiting for nothing to happen," complained Monday night football fan LaSalle Caron, "Dallas and Cleveland are going at it."