Space Cowboy Heeds Supreme Guidance

  • Capital Connections ®
  • |
  • July 05, 2000

by Karen Feld

Apollo 13 astronaut Buzz Aldrin is following Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s advice to “stay apolitical.” The two got talking on boat recently when Buzz told her the GOP had invited him to speak at their convention in Philadelphia this summer. So he turned down the gig since the number two man on the moon is now lobbying Congress on behalf of the organization he chairs — the ShareSpace Foundation. Buzz wants all the people to be able to travel into space — no partisanship there.

White House economic adviser Gene Sperling and former CIA Director William Webster defeated think tanker Ben Wattenberg and tennis pro Gabriella Sabatini in a celebrity tournament at Congressional Country Club. Of course, Sabatini didn’t once call Sperling on his repeated foot faults. Meanwhile, Wattenberg was thrilled in a later match when he won a return of serve right at the pro.

The Fourth of July at the U.S. Capitol is a big deal. Spin City’s Barry Bostwick along with Ray Charles, flutist James Galway, pianist David Benoit, Tony winner Audra McDonald and country star Lee Ann Womack perform with the Leonard Slatkin conducting the National Symphony Orchestra on the West Lawn. Kristin Chenoweth– who won a Tony for “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown” on Broadway and now has a new NBC mid-season replacement series– sang a moving tribute to Charles “Sparky” Schultz. Bostwick says he’s being lobbied by the Creative Coalition, new co-star Charlie Sheen and the Baldwin brothers, to appear at an event at the Democratic convention in L.A.

The Supreme Court decision last week on partial birth abortion puts “Dubya” in a bind. The right-to-lifers won’t stand for it if he takes his close friend, pro-choicer Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, as a running mate. But GOP insiders insist there’s not a deal with anti-abortion conservatives to keep the party’s strong anti-abortion plank in exchange for softer language on education, women’s health and immigration. We hear Gov. Bush is taking a close look at Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, Tennessee Sen. Bill Frist, and Ohio Congressman John Kasich. He’s expected to announce his running mate the week of July 24, one week before the GOP convention in Philadelphia.

In search of a summer sex scandal? The hottest one political insiders have found so far is the alleged relationship between California Republican Congressman Bill Thomas and lobbyist Deborah Steelman, an adviser to George W’s campaign. Thomas just happens to be Chairman of the powerful House subcommittee on health and Steelman represents drug industry giants– Pfizer, Bristol-Myers and Johnson & Johnson.. Thomas’ wife has moved back to California alone and Steelman is getting a divorce. But the big question remains — was legislation influenced?

The political crystal ball: Entertainer and USO fave, Connie Stevens, who also happens to be a big John McCain supporter, predicts that in four years the presidential nominees will be John McCain and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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