That was quite an evening last Wednesday at French Ambassador and Mrs. Jean-David Levitte’s Kalorama residence when, along with the Distilled Spirits Council, they co-hosted the Congressional French Caucus to the spirits of France. “One part of our civilization is spirits,” said the ambassador. It certainly is. They export French spirits to the tune of $1 billion. The ambassador called George Washington the honorary chairman of spirits in America because at Mount Vernon he created one of the first distilleries in America.On this particular evening the ambassador was celebrating the spirit of friendship and alliance with members of the Congressional French Caucus. Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis., chairman of the French caucus, said: “It may be called cognac in France, but in my part of the world, Wisconsin, it’s called brandy.” Either way, the group – including Reps. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., Nancy Johnson, R-Conn., Dale Kildee, D-Mich., and Bart Gordon, D-Tenn. – enjoyed the cognac so much that some even chased it with French champagne.
Chiming in on Roberts
There was lots of buzz about Supreme Court nominee John Roberts. When asked how her boss felt about the nomination, Juleanna Glover Weiss, an aide to former Attorney General John Ashcroft, said: “He’s five hours away, and can’t be reached anytime soon!” As for her own opinion, “his confirmation depends on what he’s been promised.” The former Cheney aide expressed concerns: “If he’s pro-life, he has to communicate with the grassroots.”
Dialing for votes
And much talk about the Central American Free Trade Agreement as well: There seemed to be a consensus among guests from both political parties that if CAFTA doesn’t pass it will cripple President Bush. Several congressmen noted that the White House has been working feverishly to cut deals. One Democrat got a call: “Tell us what you want.” The dilemma some expressed is that the White House hasn’t spent much time cultivating relationships on the Hill, particularly with the newer members.
Georges likes George’s suits
Famed presidential tailor Georges De Paris, at 71, and still with a gorgeous thick silver mane, also enjoying the hospitality at the French ambassador’s residence, calls President George Bush the “best dressed” president he’s known – with the exception of Ronald Reagan, that is. He’s dressed them all over the past 40 years. And he now designs suits for White House Chief of Staff Andy Card as well.
A Gore’s novel take on the Hill
For those readers still longing for a Democrat fix, Al and Tipper Gore’s daughter, Kristin, an Emmy-nominated comedy writer for TV’s “Saturday Night Live” and “Futurama,” will read from her debut novel, “Sammy’s Hill,” now in paperback at Olsson’s Books & Records in Penn Quarter on Thursday. It’s about the likable and idealistic Samantha Joyce, who spends her days working as domestic policy adviser to the noble Ohio Sen. Robert Gary while carving out a social and romantic life for herself.
Mayor spins more than politics
D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams was fitting in a REV (spinning) class early yesterday morning at The Sports Club/LA. With security detail waiting outside the fitness studio, Mayor Williams seemed to have been inspired by Lance Armstrong’s seventh Tour de France title this weekend, as he was wearing a LiveSTRONG yellow band during his 6:15 a.m. cycling workout.
U.K. publisher uses checkbook
Taking advantage of our celebrity culture, Dirty Des, as onetime adult publisher Richard Desmond is known in London, is launching a controversial weekly gossip tabloid in the United States next month. It’s called OK! We’ll wait and see if his deep pockets pay off and if stars will talk for the big bucks he’s promising – a journalism policy frowned upon in the U.S. This won’t be exactly objective journalism, since not only is he paying personalities for exclusives, he’s giving them editorial and pictorial control as well. Initial press run is 1.3 million copies, and he’s investing $1 million to start. Desmond, also publisher of the U.K.’s Express Newspapers, is more concerned about making a name than breaking even in this already overcrowded field.