- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Few people have enough clout to get top Democrats and Republicans together at the same private social affair in this partisan town.
Give credit to Buffy Cafritz. Not only did the (Republican) hostess and (Clinton administration-appointed) Kennedy Center trustee have prominent members of both parties mixing it up comfortably at the Fairfax Hotel last Thursday night, she actually got them to do it at a celebration for an adulatory new tome about Ronald Reagan.
Picture Ken Duberstein, former chief of staff to President George Bush the Elder, happily engaged in a lengthy chin-wag with first-pal-to-Bill Clinton Vernon Jordan in one corner of the room as former Sen. Paul Laxalt, a fiercely Republican conservative, had an amiable talk with die-hard liberal Democrat Rep. John Dingell only a few paces away.
Given that the fete was in honor of Peggy Noonan and her book, "When Character Was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan," it wasn't too surprising the guest list had a somewhat Republican tilt. (Robert Higdon Jr., a longtime Reaganite who co-hosted the party with Mrs. Cafritz and her husband Bill, made sure plenty of mutual pals from the Reagan days were on hand to toast the former president's principal speechwriter for her recent effort.)
The presence of Vice President Dick Cheney, the evening's surprise guest, made it seem like a doubly Republican roundup. Democrats in the room were hardly about to object, since nothing repeat nothing has more cachet than being able to say you just had a little chat with the president or vice president, political affiliation notwithstanding.
That hardly prevented Mr. Dingell from prediciting he would be "swearing in the next speaker [of the House]" within earshot of several GOP colleagues, although he did resist reiterating his New York Times Op-Ed piece that day, which urged Mr. Cheney to give up his Enron-related energy task force documents for investigation by the General Accounting Office.
The Enron scandal seemed farther away than Afghanistan as Mr. Cheney cheerily greeted anyone with the patience to wait his turn in line in the 150-strong crowd that included Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao, Mary Matalin, Lloyd Cutler, Chris Wallace, Mike Deaver, Lucky Roosevelt, Ann McLaughlin Korologos, Craig Fuller, Penne Korth, Ann Stock, Lloyd Hand and the ambassadors of Great Britain, Brazil and Ireland.
Guests quaffed cocktails, ate mini-crab cakes and what else? talked politics in the hotel's ballroom as Ms. Noonan inscribed books for political friend and foe alike.
Count Mr. Cheney among the former, of course.
"Marrying up someone like Ronald Reagan with a Peggy Noonan, who has a great talent for language, is not only vital," Mr. Cheney said, "it's a tremendous accomplishment."
Much like that of the evening's hosts, whose party was, too.

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