Republican Romeo And Juliet? Nah.
* Here's a good omen for a possible George W. Bush-John McCain (or is that McCain-Bush?) Republican ticket next year. Two of their fund-raisers got engaged over the weekend. The Arizona senator's deputy finance director, Alex Johnson, cashed in some high-tech stock to purchase a glittery ring for Mary Kate Kelly, the Texas governor's Northeast finance director. "Alex is definitely marrying up," said Bush's spokeswoman, Mindy Tucker. Acknowledging that Bush has overwhelmingly out-raised the reform-minded McCain, Johnson, 27, told us, "Mary Kate may want to pay for the wedding with soft money." The bride-to-be, also 27, was too shy to speak. Johnson popped the question Saturday night at the Mendocino Grille in Georgetown. Maitre d' Daniel Mahdavian put the ring, enclosed in a blue box, in the middle of a white bowl. "It was so deep and so emotional, I was almost gonna cry at the table," Mahdavian said. So overcome was he that he comped them dinner, right? "Well, no, actually. They wouldn't have liked that."
THIS JUST IN . . .
* Lawyers for Channel 4 news anchor Barbara Harrison and Ilo Day Spa owner Gary Walker donned a hair net of silence yesterday after meeting to hash out nearly $5,600 in unpaid pills the Georgetown salon claims she owes. "The parties are actively pursuing settlement negotiations in this matter," the salon's attorney, Juan Chardiet, told us. "Until they are done we'll have no comment." Settlement terms, if any, will be strictly confidential. We'll see.
* Those wild and crazy fund-raisers have done it again: President Clinton's loyal former strategist, Paul Begala, just received a plea from House Speaker Dennis Hastert for a National Republican Congressional Committee contribution to support the 13 House impeachment managers. Hastert claims that Clinton has targeted these congressmen "in one of the most vile acts of cold-blooded political retribution." Begala, co-host of MSNBC's "Equal Time," told us: "Maybe I should support them for the sheer entertainment value."
* Scary happenings for Madonna this weekend at London's Heathrow Airport. After rumors of unspecified threats, she and daughter Lourdes were protected by police and a guard dog as they disembarked from their Concorde flight from New York, Reuters reports.
* The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, hints to the Times of London that she and Prince Andrew might remarry, since Fergie wants to have the baby boy who has thus far eluded her.
The Shrivers Are Coming! The Shrivers Are Coming!
Those fabulous Shrivers--Sarge, Eunice and their thundering herd--are sharing some family synergy this fall. A deep breath is necessary before we go on. Today No. 1 son Bobby, 45, releases a star-studded rock-and-roll Christmas album benefiting the Special Olympics, while on Nov. 14 NBC will air "Mary, Mother of Jesus," a prime-time drama he and mom Eunice executive-produced. Anthony, who at 34 is the baby of the brood, is gearing up for Saturday's celeb-filled tribute to Muhammad Ali at Ethel Kennedy's McLean home, Hickory Hill, to raise money for Best Buddies, which tries to improve the workaday lives of people who suffer from mental retardation. And the indomitable Sarge, who turns 84 on Nov. 9, is laboring over his memoirs (while his agent negotiates movie rights) to meet HarperCollins's Y2K deadline, and trotting the globe on behalf of the Special Olympics. Phew.
"I have been saving, even hoarding, stories which I think are not well known," said Sarge, who grew up in rural Westminster, Md., fought in World War II, married into the Kennedys, ran the Merchandise Mart for patriarch Joe, launched the Peace Corps for JFK, led the War on Poverty for Lyndon Johnson, was ambassador to France, ran for vice president and otherwise played his role in 20th-century American history. But don't expect Sarge to dish dirt on his famous contemporaries. "I think that's lousy," he told us. "Does that mean I won't talk about anything that might upset somebody? No, it doesn't mean that."
"That kind of stuff is just not my father's style," Anthony said. "When everybody's sitting in the living room gossiping after dinner, he goes upstairs and reads a book." Bobby told us: "It's amazing to me to think that my father had a 19th-century upbringing, with a 19th-century psychology, and yet he lived in the 20th century."
The album Bobby oversaw, "A Very Special Christmas Live"--the latest in a series that has sold $45 million since 1987--was recorded at the White House last December, and features Eric Clapton, Run-DMC, Tracy Chapman, Jon Bon Jovi and others who contributed their sweat and songs. Anthony, meanwhile, told us he hopes to raise $800,000 at the Best Buddies Ball. We'll have to wait to hear from Timothy, Mark, Maria and brother-in-law Arnold Schwarzenegger.
To hear a free Sound Bite from "A Very Special Christmas Live," call Post-Haste at 202-334-9000 and press 4646.