Coopersmith: A maestro with the public

  • The Washington Examiner
  • |
  • November 29, 2005

by Karen Feld

Esther [Coopersmith] is the best uncompensated salesperson we know,” said Peter Barnes, the former Washington bureau chief of Hearst-Argyle Television who is now an Alexandria-based author and children’s book publisher (VSP Books). With his illustrator wife, Cheryl Shaw Barnes, the author was signing the couple’s engaging new book at Coopersmith’s Kalorama home on Friday. “Maestro Mouse and the Mystery of the Missing Baton” was commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra on the occasion of its 75th anniversary. The book teaches kids the importance of music in an entertaining style.

And her diplomatic initiatives

The couple, who met Coopersmith a dozen years ago, has teamed up in what Barnes calls “a public diplomacy partnership” with their series of mouse-themed children’s books that address government and civics – “Woodrow, the White House Mouse,” about the White House and the job of the president; “House Mouse, Senate Mouse,” about how our laws are made in Congress (featuring the Squeaker of the House, et cetera). Whenever Coopersmith hosts a party for a visiting dignitary, an ambassador, a head of state or royalty, the couple signs copies of their books for guests as gifts from Esther and the people of the United States. That’s why they dedicated Maestro Mouse to her. “She does an enormous amount of behind-the-scenes diplomatic work that is so important to furthering dialogues among nations,” Barnes said.

But she’s not the Barneses’ only fan. First lady Laura Bush wrote that “Woodrow, the White House Mouse” is one of her two favorite children’s books about the White House.

State of equilibrium at State

One State Department insider tells me that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is doing “a better job than expected. She understands diplomacy.” The high-level employee added, “We all loved [Colin] Powell, but it felt like we were a renegade agency.”

But tough OT to recover

FedEx founder Fred Smith, recovering from rotator cuff surgery, was joined by many of his 10 kids and 11 grandkids in – of course – the FedEx box on the 40-yard line for the Redskins game on Sunday at FedEx Field. Gina Adams, FedEx’s star executive in D.C., was on hand to cheer on the Skins and then watch them lose – ouch! – in overtime to the San Diego Chargers, 23-17. Coach Kathy Kemper said that Smith’s box is always fun and lively, while team owner Dan Snyder’s box adjacent to it is quiet, tense and not nearly as much fun. Another perk when you get a coveted invitation to watch the game from the FedEx box are goody bags which include a FedEx canvas tote, a black fleece scarf and a blanket.

“Mr. and Mrs. Smith” come to Washington?

House-hunting in D.C.: Actress and would-be activist Angelina Jolie, with or without Brad Pitt.

Turkey Day sightings: Popular retired Marine Corps commandant Gen. P.X. Kelley and his wife, Barbara, at the University Club. The William Websters, Toby Moffetts and Allie Ritzenbergs at Nina and Ray Benton‘s Bloody Mary bash. – And NOT sighted: President Bush dishing turkey and mashed potatoes at a shelter to mend his image. Instead he was feasting with his family at his Crawford, Texas, ranch. “He’s the Warren Harding of our generation,” said one reader.

Day-after-Turkey Day sightings: D.C. Council Member Carol Schwartz and the former dean of the diplomatic corps, Ambassador Andrew Jacovides of Cyprus, and his lovely wife, Pamela, at Esther Coopersmith’s home. The Jacovides now divide their time among Cyprus, New York and Washington.

Back to Articles