- The Washington Times - Monday, December 4, 2006

She’s running

“Diving in with Hillary,” answered former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, when asked by Inside the Beltway what’s on his plate for the next two years.

That leaves little doubt about Mr. McAuliffe chairing a likely 2008 presidential bid by New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is sitting atop an impressive $20 million campaign war chest left over from her easy re-election last month.

And get a load of this: Mr. McAuliffe told us he would be orchestrating any future Clinton presidential campaign from “the inside,” while Democratic strategist James Carville would be heading the Hillary charge “from the outside.”

Stay tuned for this unprecedented campaign of characters.

Fran’s future

Speaking of seeking higher office, don’t be surprised if Hollywood actress Fran Drescher, who grew up in Queens, N.Y., throws her hat into the congressional ring in 2008 or 2010 to represent New York. And yes, as a Democrat (figuring she made financial contributions to this year’s re-election campaigns of New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rhode Island Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy).

Best known for her TV role as “The Nanny,” Miss Drescher, a cancer survivor, already spends a good deal of time on Capitol Hill lobbying on behalf of cancer research.

She’s in Washington as we write, having attended yesterday’s 29th annual Kennedy Center Honors, Capitol File magazine’s first birthday bash on Thursday at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and private gatherings at Kincaid’s and Teatro Goldoni, where the actress and chef FabrizioAielli created a special pasta dish for her table.

Coming soon

Come January, the balance of political power will shift Capitol Hill prominently to the left. And on hand to salute the slide will be Hollywood’s Creative Coalition, which every year holds an annual “bipartisan” tribute — “with a Hollywood punch” — to the incoming powers-to-be.

Inside the Beltway has learned that Hollywood hosts of the Creative Coalition’s Jan. 31 Salute to the 110th Congress will be actors Heather Graham, Bridget Moynahan, Alan Cumming and Rachel Shelley, as well as Creative Coalition co-presidents Joe Pantoliano and Tony Goldwyn.

As for the honored, invited guests can plan on mingling with, among other lawmakers, Democratic Sens. Max Baucus of Montana, Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas; Democratic Reps. Henry A. Waxman of California, Mark Udall of Colorado, Nick J. Rahall II of West Virginia, and Ed Pastor of Arizona; and Republican Reps. Mary Bono of California and Tom Feeney of Florida.

Cotton queen

West Virginia Sen. Robert C. Byrd and California Rep. David Dreier offered eulogies, while former Louisiana Sen. John B. Breaux read from the New Testament at Friday’s funeral service for Mary Miller Arnold, who for the past two decades served as doorkeeper supervisor in the U.S. Senate.

Also filling the pews of historic Christ Church in Old Town Alexandria (both George Washington and Robert E. Lee worshipped there) were Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, and outgoing Virginia Sen. George Allen and his wife, Susan. The silver-haired Mrs. Arnold, who was 68, interacted on a daily basis with senators, and welcomed presidents and vice presidents alike into the most hallowed chambers of Congress.

A longtime resident of Alexandria, she was born in Jonesboro, Ark., and had the honor of serving as lady-in-waiting of the Cotton Carnival in Memphis in 1956. She was a flight attendant for the old Eastern Airlines in the late 1950s, before joining the staff of Republican Illinois Rep. Roger Zion in the late 1960s.

She’s survived by her husband of 48 years, Edwin Arnold Sr., daughter Mary and son Edwin Jr.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin @washingtontimes.com.

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