- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 10, 2005

If blond and beautiful Rima Sabah, wife of Kuwaiti Ambassador Salem Sabah, ever wants to quit her day job, she would make an excellent casting director for Hollywood movies about Washington. Especially Washington party scenes. No one else seems to get just the right mix, and her penchant for “mixing it up” has won her kudos as the modern-day Perle Mesta.

“She’s better than Perle Mesta,” Washington doyenne Esther Coopersmith said the other night, arriving for Mrs. Sabah’s black-tie dinner party for newly appointed Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Peter Pace. “She spends her own money.”

Masses of full-blown red roses decorated the scarlet and glittery silk-covered tables. “I never thought I’d see a Marine as head of the Joint Chiefs,” said silver-haired Virginia Sen. John Warner, tucking into his sirloin with bernaise sauce and sitting next to crimson-haired Georgette Mosbacher in a red feathered outfit, sparkly eye shadow and dragon-lady red nails. She told us she’s introducing a new line of cosmetics for Costco and is still very happily single.

When the huge chocolate birthday cake arrived, Gen. Pace took the microphone and joked that he had been pleased when the ambassador’s wife, wearing a plum silk Ungaro, had invited him for a “nice, small, intimate birthday party,” adding he was stunned by the “over the top” guest list and the gyrating Arab dancer snaking to music and waving her red-and-gold veil.

So very Hollywood on the Potomac, and Mrs. Sabah always gets the casting right.

For example:

Blond Journalists: Sally Quinn, Jan Donaldson, Chris Matthews

Distinguished Lawmakers: Sen. Warner, Rep. Edward Markey

Tall Diplomat: Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte

Medium-Size Diplomats: Bolivian Ambassador Jaime Aparicio, former White House Chief of Protocol Selwa “Lucky” Roosevelt, Saudi Arabian Ambassador Prince Turki Al-Faisal

Small in Size but not in Power: Cafe Milano owner Franco Nuschese, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta

Bald West Wing types: Karl Rove, Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff

Gray Eminences: Paul Wolfowitz, Ben Bradlee, Leo Daly, Elizabeth Drew, Lloyd Hand, Mandell Ourisman

Bespectacled Black-Haired Alpha Males: Ken Duberstein, Justice Antonin Scalia

If Candice Bergen Is Busy: Mary Ourisman, Ann Nitze, Buffy Cafritz, Debbie Dingell

Get Me a Young Jacqueline Bisset: Pamela Aparicio

As Himself: John McLaughlin, Sam Donaldson, District Mayor Anthony A. Williams

There was much laughter, some table-hopping, a little gossip, talk of politics and international affairs, and everyone got his lines right. On cue, the party ended at 10:30 — because this is, after all, Washington.

Cut…. and print.

Stephanie Mansfield

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