In Georgetown at the home of Sen. and Mrs. John Heinz they got arroz de pato a Portuguesa and mousse of Pennsylvania trout with generous portions of Andy Warhol, Jamie Wyeth, Sen. Nancy Kassebaum and special bonus guests Sen. and Mrs. John Warner. At other places around town, fare and faces were equally impressive.
The event was the Women's Campaign Fund (WCF) fall fund-raiser, with some 400 supporters last night paying $80 apiece to feast with the famous. The take will be apportioned to selected women candidates.
Everybody started out with cocktails in the Georgetown garden of WCFer Joan Bingham. By 7:30, when it was too dark to read nametags or recognize faces anyway, they began splitting up to attend 15 dinner parties around town.
Andy Warhol, who likes Washington because they don't take celebrities here for granted the way they do in New York, found the leave-taking a little hazardous in the darkness and thanked Ina Ginsburg for wearing a white dress. "You got us out," he told her.
At the Heinz residence, Warhol was an old acquaintance, having met the Pennsylvania senator a couple of years ago. That was the time Heinz asked him why he chose a Campbell's soup can to paint and Warhol, who came from Pittsburgh originally and probably should have known better, answered with something like, "I couldn't afford catsup."
Anyway, last night it wasn't canned soup or catsup for anybody. Among the dinner party hosts and hostesses were Gloria Steinem and Stan Pottinger, Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), Nancy and Miles Rubin, Leezee Porter, Frances Barnard, Vic Kamber, Elizabeth and George Stevens and Polly and Clayton Fritchey.
Among their guests were several of the 23 congressional candidates who won WCF endorsement this year. Some won their primary races, some never ran in any, some lost. One of the latter was Mary Codd, a New York Democrat who came in second in her race against incumbent Democrat Rep. John Murphy, one of the Abscam defendants. Now on the Liberal line in New York, Codd is getting a second look from WCF on whether she'll get more campaign funds.
"I don't know what we'll do," said Pam Fleischaker of the campaign fund.
"Say a prayer for me," Codd urged a new supporter.
Under a different kind of pressure is Iowa's Lynn Cutler, a Democrat running to fill Rep. Charles Grassley's traditionally Republican seat. Grassley is running for the Senate. Her race, she said, is "a dead heat now -- absolutely even-steven according to all the polls. My opponent is a multimillionaire who just keeps writing checks. When he puts up 400 billboards at $500 each, we go into our basement and do barnsides."
Money, of course, is what separates the women from the men. Gloria Steinem said she had raised a lot of it over the last 20 years.
"One can go to the same people on the same issues and get $1,000 for a male candidate -- in the days of no restrictions -- and $100 for a woman. If you averaged out the amount spent by women candidates, it would be less," she told Codd.
"I came in second and spent between $25,000 and $28,000. Murphy spent over $300,000," said Codd.
Sen. Kassebaum said she thinks women should get into state legislatures and city councils where they have a chance to shape laws like those on domestic violence. She got her own start, however, on the school board.
"I don't believe we should serve more than two terms in the Senate and I've said when I'm finished here I'll go back and run for the school board. Friends there told me they'd hold me to that," she said, laughing.
Back at the Heinz residence, painter Jamie Wyeth was somewhat surprised to learn that he is one of 692 Wyeths in the United States.
"Listen," said artist Wyeth, upon meeting another Wyeth who is no relation, "I hope you don't paint."
"Just words," said Nancy Wyeth, an editor for the Smithsonian's Exhibit Central.