President Bush and the first lady had some prominent overnight houseguests following the formal dinner in honor of the nation’s governors on Sunday evening – the president’s brother Jeb (governor of Florida) and his wife, Columba; Guam Gov. Felix Camacho and his wife; Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas and Mrs. Douglas; Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn and his wife; Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne and Mrs. Kempthorne; Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and his wife; Alabama Gov. Bob Riley and Mrs. Riley; and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Mrs. Huckabee and their daughter, Sarah. Wouldn’t you love to have been a fly on the wall in the residence that evening? They’ll have something to talk about at the National Governors Association conference this week aside from the National Guard, port security and Medicaid.
Louisiana still recovering
Musical sensation Aaron Neville entertained the governors in the East Room after a dinner of Maryland crab and Alaska venison. President Bush made a point of calling the Grammy winner “a son of Louisiana.” But Neville has relocated to Tennessee since his home was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina. When asked about that, a nervous-looking Gov. Kathleen Blanco, D-La., brushed it off: “Everybody is so fluid now. They’re in and out. I think New Orleans blood runs very thick.” To emphasize her point, Blanco said she was going home Monday evening “to catch the last day of Mardi Gras.” The first spouse of Louisiana, Raymond Blanco, wore sneakers with his tux. Perhaps his dress shoes were lost in the flood.
Rendell harboring concern
A very chatty Gov. Ed Rendell, D-Pa., talking about port security, called the odds “good for terrorists.” Rendell said: “I’m concerned that we don’t spend more of our tax dollars to check more than 5 percent of goods coming in.”
‘Crash’ an Oscar sleeper?
MPAA head honcho Dan Glickman has always been a politician. Before heading to the other coast for the Academy Awards next Sunday, I asked him his picks. “I think every movie is perfect,” Glickman said. But he added, “I think ‘Crash’ [the film about race relations] is a sleeper.”
We don’t smoke anymore …
The Glickmans were among the guests Saturday evening at the national premiere of “Thank You for Smoking,” based on Christopher Buckley‘s Washington novel. The event and after-party at Blue Gin, hosted by Capitol File magazine, attracted Judy Woodruff and Al Hunt, Frank and Mary Fahrenkopf, Harold Brazil, Jason Binn, Buckley and the star of the film, Aaron Eckhart, who plays a tobacco lobbyist. Writer/director Jason Reitman said, “I needed today’s Robert Redford, and I found him in Aaron Eckhart.”
… Or less
Glickman called the film “very timely” and added: “There’s a strong movement to get any film with cigarette smoking rated R.” The comedy, with its strong message, didn’t deter some hardy (or foolhardy) guests from lighting up outside the theater. We’re sure it won’t deter lobbyists either.