Rep. Geraldine Ferraro summed it up best. She said her fund-raiser seemed to closely resemble "an Italian wedding."
Before it was all over last night, Walter Mondale slipped Ferraro a $1,000 check in a sealed envelope, the accordion player squeezed out "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World," everyone kissed each other on the cheek and four well-known presidential hopefuls had arrived one by one at 15-minute intervals to maximize The Entrance.
"You sure have pulled out all the heavy artillery here tonight," said Richard Royce, of Value Engineers.
Very unusual indeed to attract former vice president Mondale and Sens. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), Gary Hart (D-Colo.) and Alan Cranston (D-Calif.) to the same chicken-wing-and-meatball fund-raiser for a House member with no opposition. But she is a well-respected woman candidate whose endorsement, no doubt, they are all courting for 1984.
"Hart is expected at 6:15, Mondale around 6:30," said Eleanor Lewis, administrative assistant to Ferraro. "You know how the Senate is." Kennedy arrived at the Women's National Democratic Club promptly at 6:45 and Cranston sauntered in at 7.
They were all remarkably on schedule, considering "how the Senate is."
"I'm delighted Gary Hart is here," said Mondale. "We all know Gary is the champion of the poor and that he'll go anywhere to support the underprivileged . . . Iowa . . . New Hampshire . . ."
"I understand I made the 'Guinness Book of World Records' last week," deadpanned Kennedy. "According to another Gallup Poll, I have been elected president in more elections that haven't been held today than any candidate."
Ray Weisman, an 81-year-old woman from Queens, flew to Washington to meet a few famous people, nibble a cocktail mushroom or two, and of course lend support to her friend, Ferraro. She worked the crowd like nobody else.
"I may look like a pussycat, but I'm really a lion," she informed Hart. "I'm a pretty tough campaigner."
Moving on to Mondale, she clutched his hands and said, "We'd like to have you back."
"I'm working on it," he said.
Ferraro said she expected last night's fund-raiser to add between $20,000 and $30,000 to her war chest. So far she has survived redistricting, and, in fact, several Republican precincts seem likely to be carved out of her district.
But it is a very conservative district, and money never fails to instill fear in potential opponents--should one appear on the horizon.
"If you can show you're running a credible campaign, it helps scare the challengers off," said Ferraro, who hopes to raise $100,000. After all, she does have a huge responsibility on her back--since Archie Bunker's row house falls in the middle of her district.
"It was never, never Archie who voted for me," said Ferraro. "But I could always count on Edith."