Israel’s new prime minister, Ehud Olmert, we’ve learned from trusted sources, plans to meet with President Bush in Washington on May 8 and 9. The brief visit, which is being kept under wraps and hasn’t been officially announced or confirmed by the White House, is expected to cost the Israeli government about $1 million per day in security. No word on whether Bush will entertain the prime minister at lunch or dinner, but it’s certainly an important priority for Olmert to meet with the president, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at this critical time in the Middle East. Topic A on the agenda will be Iran.
DOD’S RACQUETBALL WARRIOR
Rumsfeld is not about to give up his post anytime soon, but he does take a break on occasion. There he was, wearing a Navy wrestling T-shirt, headband and goggles, fighting his own battle on the racquetball court at the Pentagon gym on Easter Monday evening. Usually, when in town, Rummy can be found on the sport court on Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m., but he missed his court time this week when he made a surprise trip to Iraq Tuesday evening. Sometimes work just gets in the way. And some evenings, we hear, he can’t control his temper: “Where the [bleep] are the towels?” It’s even worse if his opponent runs late.
PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF ADMIRATION
Security was especially tight at the dinner at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel for Chinese President Hu Jintao last Thursday evening. Hu and his elegant wife, Madame Liu Yongqing, held hands much of the evening. Spotted in the power crowd: former Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Henry Kissinger; former Gen. Al Haig, who is popular with the Chinese; Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman; President Clinton’s national security adviser Sandy Berger; Clinton’s first chief of staff, Tom “Mack” McLarty, and McLarty’s wife, Donna; Labor Secretary Elaine Chao; Ambassador Carla Hills; retired newsman Tom Brokaw; Zbigniew Brzezinski; Brent Scowcroft; Sen. Norm Coleman; Jay Carney; Mayor Anthony Williams and mayor-wannabe Linda Cropp; Export-Import Bank President Jim Lambright; and Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, who engaged his dinner partners with tales of when he was a fighter pilot in China during World War II. Because of his great affection for China, he and President Hu got along well.
RATNER IS NEXT REALITY STAR
Did Dennis Ratner, Hair Cuttery CEO, style Donald Trump’s locks? The Northern Virginia-based stylist taped an episode of NBC’s “The Apprentice.” It airs on May 1.