ABC's Executive Merger

It's official. ABC News President David Westin is engaged to ABC communications exec Sherrie Rollins.

Never mind that he's not quite divorced from his second wife, Victoria Westin, who lives in Bethesda with their young son.

That didn't stop David, 45, from dropping to one knee at the top of the Empire State Building and popping the question Thursday night, Sherrie's 40th birthday. A number of tourists with no idea who the couple was started clapping and snapping pictures mid-proposal.

The bride-to-be, who was divorced from Republican political consultant Ed Rollins last July, is now flashing an antique ruby and diamond ring. Last spring, Sherrie Rollins vigorously denied published reports that she and Westin, separated from their spouses, were an item. A close friend of Ed's, however, said at the time that Rollins discovered the liaison "by accident" and confronted his wife of 10 years, who admitted it.

But these days, the couple are celebrating quite publicly.

Indeed, no less a quasi-newlywed than British Ambassador Christopher Meyer -- who tied the knot with Catherine on Halloween -- announced the engagement before 100 guests at a black-tie party at the embassy here Friday night. An ABC spokeswoman told The Source that Westin's divorce is "imminent." His wife's lawyer, Rita Bank, said that while the financial settlement "is done," the divorce "is likely to be at the end of the summer." No wedding date has been set. Sen. McCain's Act of Contrition

Remember how President Clinton hotly claimed he wanted to punch New York Times columnist William Safire in the nose for writing that the first lady was "a congenital liar"?

Well, he doesn't feel that way about Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), his sometime political ally. McCain has apologized to Clinton for the vile joke he told last week at the expense of Chelsea and Hillary Rodham Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno. And the president has accepted. While declining to release the senator's letter to the president, both sides are describing the apology as "abject, contrite and profuse."

The joke -- which McCain, through his press secretary, first denied telling -- was too vicious to print, and not funny besides. But the Clintons have decided to play it down. The senator did not apologize directly to the first lady for the remark he made at a Republican Senate fund-raiser, and she won't respond to the episode, said her press secretary, Marsha Berry.

"The president certainly understands how you get caught saying things you ordinarily wouldn't have said," White House spokesman Mike McCurry told the Arizona Republic on Friday. Yesterday, he added: "To make a further issue of the matter would lend further exposure to an offensive joke. In light of the senator's apology, they decided to drop the matter." Well Connected Early On

Looking at the families of sixth-graders from Lafayette Elementary School yesterday, one could try guessing who snagged Hillary Rodham Clinton as graduation speaker.

Was it Betty Currie, President Clinton's secretary and aunt of student Davie Yarborough, who lured her to the District's affluent Chevy Chase neighborhood? Or Roy Neel, Clinton's former deputy chief of staff and father of Sam Neel?

Nope. It was Susanna Ashley, 12, whose family has been sitting with the Clintons at Foundry Methodist Church for the past three years. After the third-grader gave Mrs. Clinton a book report she had written about the first lady, the two became friends, said Susanna's mother, Inge Ashley.

"I just, like, asked her if she would come and she said she'd try," Susanna told The Source of the January invitation.

Mrs. Clinton praised the 67 graduates, their parents, the faculty and such school activities as visiting the Russian Embassy, learning to write everything from U.N. resolutions to letters about cafeteria food and staging "Bye Bye Birdie."

"I was told I could be in Bye Bye Birdie' . . . if I didn't sing," Mrs. Clinton told the audience.

After the first lady's departure came Ashley's critique: "She did good." QUOTE: "I tell you, that Michael Jackson is unbelievable, isn't he? He's just unbelievable. Three plays in 20 seconds . . ." -- Vice President Gore, at an event here yesterday, throwing a pop culture air ball while talking about Michael Jordan's sixth NBA championship. CAPTION: McCain, "abject." CAPTION: Sherrie Rollins and David Westin, not wasting any time. CAPTION: The first lady mingles with the grads after her speech.