- The Washington Times - Monday, February 16, 2004

Power couples

Seated atop the 2004 Washington “A List,” as is tradition, are President and Mrs. Bush. Joining the first couple this year are 127 of Washington’s most powerful party people — or at least those folks you’d like to have show up for your party.

“These people don’t have to be extremely social, but if you walk into a party and they’re there, then it’s a good party,” Nancy Bagley, editor in chief of Washington Life magazine, tells Inside the Beltway.

Compiled annually in a secret committee, this year’s A List reveals the usual suspects — the die-hards of the Washington social scene — as well as a few newcomers. Making room for the new arrivals means others have to be dropped from the list, most notably this year former basketball star Michael Jordan.

On the other hand, Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and his wife, Vicky, could pack their bags, retire to Hyannis Port and they still wouldn’t be erased from the list. Ditto for Ethel Kennedy and Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

Nor could one pry away Watergate editor Ben Bradlee and his socially conscious wife Sally Quinn, Joe and Barbara Jean Allbritton, Mrs. Paul (Bunny) Mellon, Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, Sen. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller IV, and Mr. and Mrs. Jack Valenti.

We should point out the 2004 list was finalized when every Democrat and his mother was running for the presidential nomination. This year’s party roster, therefore, includes Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman and wife Hadassah, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and wife Bitsey, and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and his ketchup heiress wife Teresa (whatever you do, don’t pronounce her name “Theresa”) Heinz.

Ohio Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, unfortunately, did not make the cut. (The poor guy can now concentrate on finding a wife.) And barring a political miracle, it seems former Gov. Howard Dean, like Al Gore, will never be coach of Washington’s A team.

To grill the surviving candidates, this year’s A List includes Sunday talk-show hosts Tim Russert and George Stephanopoulos. And that’s Ted Koppel, Andrea Mitchell, Jim Lehrer, Al Hunt and wife Judy Woodruff standing patiently in the buffet line waiting their turns.

After the Democratic field is narrowed to one, the social “journalists” can turn their attention to Bush administration officials on the A List: Vice President Dick Cheney, presidential adviser Karl Rove (his first year), White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr., Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge.

Other notables include actor Robert Duvall (first year making the grade), former President Bill Clinton and New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole and North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole, and everybody’s favorite survivor, Sen. John McCain.

And when tired of politics, who better to pull aside and ask if Patrick Ramsey will be around this year to quarterback for the Washington Redskins than team owner Daniel Snyder? Better yet, let’s ask his better half, Tanya.

Suing for credit

For Valentine’s Day, Richard Berman, executive director of the Center for Consumer Freedom, sent George Washington University Law School professor John F. Banzhaf III a note saying that, “I’d like to send you a nice box of chocolates as a gift.”

“I do this in spite of your absurd insistence that milk companies, diet food companies, pork farmers, school boards, fast-food restaurants, and perhaps, even mom with her apple pie should be sued for facilitating the activity of enjoyable eating. You have done as much as anyone to make the United States the most litigious country in the world,” Mr. Berman noted.

He enclosed a “Valentine’s Day Chocolates Liability and Indemnification Agreement” — “so that I can be sure you won’t sue me for providing you with a ‘hazardous’ gift or some such nonsense.”

Inconsistent candidate

What could birth order have to do with this year’s presidential campaign? Perhaps more than you think.

Dr. Kevin Leman, a medical psychologist and best-selling author, reveals that 23 out of 41 U.S. presidents (56 percent) were firstborns (natural leaders, highly motivated to achieve, reliable, conscientious, perfectionists and don’t like surprises).

President George W. Bush is the firstborn of three brothers.

Sen. John Kerry, the leading Democratic presidential candidate, is the second of four children.

John McCaslin, a nationally syndicated columnist, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]

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