A Party for Pig Tales
Who says you can't go home again? Not author Arianna Huffington, who not only returned to Washington for a book party Thursday at the residence of Ron and Beth Dozoretz but stayed overnight in their guest room. She probably didn't need to ask where the bathroom was, because the Dozoretz manse used to be Huffington's very own home when she lived in Washington. "She slept in the room her mother lived in," said Beth. "She said she had wonderful dreams all night long."
Small world, after all. We didn't have time to get all warm and fuzzy because we wanted to poll the VIP guests on Huffington's latest volley at the Bad Guys du Jour: "Pigs at the Trough: How Corporate Greed and Political Corruption Are Undermining America."
We spotted Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. John Kerry inching toward the door. There are nuanced economic, philosophical and moral issues in the book (not to mention big-time campaign dollars), but we kept our query simple: Corporate greed, for or against? "Oh, come on . . ." You could almost see the politically correct gears furiously clicking in Kerry's head. "Obviously I'm against corporate greed."
In search of someone with an actual sense of humor, we grabbed Wall Street Journal editor Al Hunt. "I'm agnostic right now," he told us. Fred Malek, Elizabeth Drew, Greta Van Susteren, Wolf Blitzer, Nini Ferguson, Gale Hayman and some other of the 200 guests weighed in (when they weren't munching on pigs in a blanket -- the culinary pun of the night). Super-lawyer Bob Barnett looked, as usual, on the bright side: "I'm totally in favor of corporate greed as long as it results in major legal fees!"
And book sales? Huffington has a knack for catching the populist wave and surfing on its crest. Her campaign against those gas-guzzling SUVs is gathering steam, and right now CEOs are Most Wanted -- in the bad sense of the term. Anyway, she's convinced things are going to improve any minute, telling the crowd: "One of the good things about having spineless leaders is that they scare easily."
Yikes. Next thing you know, she'll start telling us what she really thinks.
A Woman of Substance (and Style)
Ivonne A-Baki is a woman who does it all -- and looks darned good doing it. "She is a beautiful person," said Alfredo Palacio, Ecuador's vice president. "She's seductive, and she's an attraction for many important people to our country -- not for her beauty, but for her intelligence."
Talk about international relations! A-Baki, Ecuador's new commerce minister (first woman to hold the position), has quite the fan club. The Harvard grad and former Ecuadorean presidential candidate/ambassador to the U.S. was honored last Thursday by the Inter-American Economic Council and friends like Sen. John Warner, Sen. Christopher Dodd, actor Fred Thompson and Reps. Bill Thomas and Phil Crane. " 'Eclectic' in the dictionary has her picture next to it," former ambassador to Ecuador Peter Romero joked to the crowd of 220 gathered at the Organization of American States.
The black-tie celebration boasted a rum-tasting, dinner and dancing -- perfect for the evening's high-spirited honoree. "She's a party woman, and she doesn't take herself too seriously," said old pal Fadi Nahas. "When you talk to her, she's not 'Ambassador.' She's Ivonne."
Laura Bush, Speaking
Of, and From, the Heart
First lady Laura Bush followed a heartwarming tradition Friday by attending the 55th annual American Heart Association Woman's Board Valentine luncheon and fashion show. Every first lady except Jackie Kennedy and Hillary Clinton has graced the event since its inception, and Mrs. Bush -- wearing a red suit -- received two standing ovations from the 1,100 women at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.
"My daughters would be really happy that I'm here as well, since they think my wardrobe needs major work," she said (every mother laughed knowingly). We're not sure if she found anything in the spring collection by designer Rena Lange or evening wear from Saks Jandel, but there was plenty of applause from the audience.
The heart of the matter, though, was looking good on the inside. "Reach out to every woman you know -- every mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt and friend," Bush said. "Talk to them about the risks of heart disease and encourage them to visit their doctor. We must take better care of each other and ourselves, so that we can continue to take care of all the people we love."
With Beth Buchanan