Some people pull in $2.2 billion a year, build Saudi Arabian cities and fly Lear jets all over the world. Some people pull in $2.2 billion a year and save children.
The Lebanese Rafiq Hariri seems to do a little of both.
"If I have $350 million and I give away $300 million, then I still have $50 million left and that's enough," said Hariri yesterday, moments before he and Time Inc. Chairman Ralph Davidson were honored at the 50th anniversary celebration of Save the Children, a luncheon that turned into a virtual Who's Who of Washington society.
The menu was standard luncheon chicken, but the guest list was sprinkled with caviar: Vice President George Bush, grande dames Evangeline Bruce and Lorraine Cooper, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Charles Percy (R-Ill.), Beach Boys' lead singer Mike Love, Najeeb Halaby, father of Jordan's Queen Noor, Eunice Shriver, Carla Hills and a gaggle of present and former White House aides.
"We're here," said movie producer George Stevens, "because Evangeline Bruce asked us to come. And when Evangeline Bruce asks you to do something, you march."
Bruce chaired yesterday's luncheon at the Washington Marriott, which focused on the organization's recent philanthropic efforts in Lebanon. An international child assistance agency, Save the Children has been working in that country for more than 25 years.
Hariri's Saudi Arabian-based construction company, OGER International has sales of $2.2 billion and has almost singlehandedly borne the expense for cleaning up the post-war rubble in Beirut. In addition, he has matched $500,000 in donations to Save the Children for the country. Time's Davidson last year started American Corporate Aid for Lebanon, making Save the Children one of the organization's main benefactors.
Next to the vice president, the Beach Boys' Love seemed to be the sweetheart of the day, still reaping the benefits of his recent battle with Secretary of the Interior James Watt. He scribbled his autograph tirelessly on napkins and programs. And the vice president even invited Love into the kitchen, which doubled as a holding room, to give him some official vice presidential cufflinks.
"It's nice to see all you undesirable elements here," Love told the cheering crowd. Everyone laughed.
Bush was asked to address the luncheon after Secretary of State George Shultz canceled at the last moment. Shultz, who is practicing his version of shuttle diplomacy in the Mideast this week, was meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin at the precise time of the luncheon. Percy kept checking for reports. But there was no news.
Bush assured everyone that everything was fine.
"With good will and a lot of hard work," Bush said, "an agreement between Lebanon and Israel may not be far off."