- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 23, 2005

By his own admission, Alberto Gonzales, the attorney general-designate, had a very good time at last week’s inaugural festivities. He and his wife, Rebecca, were “only going to three events” Thursday, Mr. Gonzales said after being spotted early in the evening at the quietly elegant reception hosted by Ford Motor Company at the Phillips Collection.

The experience wasn’t so “blurry” as in 2001, the couple admitted — referring, presumably, to their higher profile and heavy security detail. Secret Service stood guard while guests flocked around the couple, preventing them from seeing much of the Alexander Calder and Joan Miro exhibit on the walls.

The automotive giant’s fete drew an unusually high number of government VIPs, including Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, David BreyerandRuth Bader Ginsburg; Secretary of TransportationNorman Mineta; Sens.James Jeffords, Debbie Stabenow, John SununuandRon Wyden; Reps. Sheila Jackson-Leeand Christopher Shays;presidentialspeechwriterMichael Gerson; andmedia heavyweightsAlan Murray, Kathleen Matthews, Bill Kristol, David Brooks, Jeff Greenfield, Morton Kondracke, Clarence Pageand Nina Totenberg. Also spotted: Debbie Dingell (off to the Michigan ball in a glam red gown); Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen Schwarzman,Fredand Marlene Malek, Vernon and Ann Jordanand Richard Perle.

The scene had a comforting air after the day’s hectic doings, and Ford officials were openly proud of its long association underwriting some top Phillips exhibits — especially, of course, of the Calder-Miro show that closed yesterday. Ford Group Vice President of Corporate Affairs Ziad Ojakli called the corporate-museum relationship one of “love.”

Buffy Cafritz also stopped by with husband,Bill, after attending the 75th birthday party for astronaut Buzz Aldrin at the Four Seasons. It would be the weary couple’s last inaugural event.

“After this,” Mrs. Cafritz declared, “we are going home to bed.”

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