Peter Pan or Power Man?

  • Capital Connections ®
  • |
  • March 14, 2002

by Karen Feld

Even the powerful senator, Ted Kennedy, will never grow up. The pudgy solon appeared at his 70th birthday bash dressed in green tights, an enthusiastic attempt at impersonating the fictional Peter Pan. Perhaps his wings were clipped, or in his fantasy, the U.S. Senate may be Never Never Land. .. at least in terms of judicial confirmations.

President and Mrs. Bush rolled out the Red Carpet for the nation’s governors at The White House the other evening. Broadway star Bernadette Peters (she checked her guns with security), a self-proclaimed independent, belted out favorites from her hit musical revival, “Annie Get Your Gun.” The engaging actor compared President Bush’s guest list to President Clinton’s when she last performed at The White House, the previous to honor the President of Italy. “This is a rowdier bunch.” But even they agreed “There is Nothing Like a Dame.”

Bo Derek, still an almost perfect “10” at age 45, is proud to be a Republican and tour with the USO to visit troops abroad. When she’s not cheering on the troops, she’s maximizing her exposure in Washington. President Bush appointed the actress to the prestigious Kennedy Center Board. And her new gal pal, Ivonne A-Baki, the alluring Ecuadoran Ambassador to the U.S., recently hosted Derek on a personal tour of the Galapagos in her homeland. Perhaps Bo will expand her line of pet grooming products to pamper animals in the wild. But first things first. The fledgling actor is busy flogging her new book, “Riding Lessons: Everything That Matters in Life I Learned From Horses.” The diplomatic community turned out for the launch, a lively bash at the Ambassador’s DC residence.

Speaking of new books, Michael Gelb, author of the must read, “Discover Your Genius: How To Think Like History’s Ten Most Revolutionary Minds,” says he moved to Washington “because it was where creative thinking was most needed.” He reminded me today, Albert Einstein’s birthday, that “Einstein’s wild hair flying in different directions was a metaphor for his thinking going in all directions.” Gelb says “Einstein’s unique genius combines childlike imagination and play. He would be a great role model for the President and our other political leaders.”

He can’t go home again. That’s because Ben Jones, better known to TV fans as “Cooter,” the loveable mechanic on “Dukes of Hazzard,” can’t shake his Potomac fever. The actor-turned-U.S. Congressman is running once more, this time for a Virginia House seat. Jones served two terms in Congress as a Democrat from Atlanta, and after his defeat, opened Cooter’s Place, a museum and gift shop in a converted garage 70 miles from the center of power in Sperryville, VA.. “Dukes” fans truck down to the Shenandoah Valley on weekends to check out memorabilia (circa 1980) from the one-time hit series, sing along with Cooter and his Garage Band, and shake hands with their hero in the re-created idyllic place known as Hazzard County. Now they can pick up a Cooter campaign button as well.

Boxing buzz! Mike Tyson is coming to DAR Constitution Hall, but the biggest fight is outside the ring with the oh-so-traditional Daughters of the American Revolution. Old-timers remember when the DAR didn’t permit Marian Anderson, a sister, to sing in their elegant Beaux Arts building, once the home of the National Symphony. They’re shaken once again now that Mike Tyson, whose behavior toward women they can’t condone, is the main event in their Hall. So much for a first in their 73-year history! And to add to the controversy, the D.C. Boxing Commission not only granted a boxing license for Mike Tyson to fight in the nation’s capital, but quietly approved fight promoter licenses for three political players who are lined up to get a piece of the action.

President Harry Truman was proud of his daughter Margaret’s vocal talents so when Paul Hume, the Washington Post music critic, gave her a “lousy” review, he did what any proud dad would do and wrote a letter to the critic in her defense. That was 52 years ago, and now Christie’s anticipates that handwritten note signed with President Truman’s initials to bring anywhere from $70,000 to $100,000 in an auction later this month.

An interior designer renovating the late Edward R. Murrow’s DC home, marvels at how the legendary newsman had 27 phone lines. And that was then!

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