- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Big apples

Republican heavy hitters in New York City are going to bat for Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, the first black to serve in a Maryland statewide office, as he continues his uphill fight to win the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes.

The glamorous cosmetics queen Georgette Mosbacher will host a cocktail reception for Mr. Steele starting at 5:30 this evening in her elegant Fifth Avenue residence. We have it on good authority that White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. will be in attendance.

Mrs. Mosbacher, ex-wife of former Commerce Secretary Robert Mosbacher, who served in the administration of President Bush’s father, happens to be one of the country’s most sought-after Republican fundraisers. The price to sit on the dazzling redhead’s silk sofa: $1,000 per person and $2,000 per political action committee attendee.

Immediately afterward, at 6:30 at their residence on 71st Street, Mallory and Elizabeth Factor will host a fundraising dinner for Mr. Steele. Requested contribution: $8,400 per diner and $10,000 per PAC.

A New York public relations mogul, Mr. Factor has been a major fundraiser for Mr. Bush. And Mr. Steele, no doubt, can use all the publicity — and financial support — he can get his hands on. Having announced his candidacy in late October for the Nov. 7 election, he trails Democratic Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin by as many as 14 points, according to a recent Rasmussen Reports survey.

However, the polling company as recently as January had Mr. Steele holding a slight lead over Mr. Cardin. Also running for the Senate seat as a Democrat is Kweisi Mfume, former president and chief executive officer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Woodrow’s due

He has got a beat-up Potomac River bridge named after him — one of the most treacherous spans a motorist can cross in this country — but no official presidential library overseen by the National Archives and Records Administration.

His birthplace and adjoining property in Staunton, which includes a library and museum, is overseen by the private Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Foundation, which was chartered in 1938 by the commonwealth of Virginia to purchase and preserve the site.

Now, if a Virginia congressman has his way, Thomas Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president of the United States (1913-1921), will receive proper national support for exhibits and other materials to create an official presidential library.

Republican Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte has introduced the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library Authorization Act, to honor a “statesman, scholar and president” who faced “economic crisis, democratic decay and world war.”

Mr. Goodlatte’s legislation mandates a public-private library partnership in which a private entity raises at least twice the money to be allocated by Congress.

Once the library is complete, the legislation states, the federal government will have no role or responsibility for the operation of the library.

The field

Time to check in with oddsmakers tracking Republican and Democratic horses as they approach the 2008 starting gate for the White House.

The latest Political Derby “Jockey Wire” forwarded to Inside the Beltway shows that Virginia Sen. George Allen remains the Republican favorite. Although Mr. Allen doesn’t poll as well with the general public as some of the horses trailing him, “D.C. insiders still rate him No. 1,” according to the wire.

Behind Mr. Allen, in order of Republican popularity, are Arizona Sen. John McCain (given his popular ethics reform platform, he “owes [former lobbyist] Jack Abramoff a steak dinner,” says the wire), former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

On the Democratic track, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton remains so popular that she owns first, second and third place. (“She can still walk down any street in any major American metropolis and Democrats practically throw their wallets at her,” notes the wire.)

In her rearview mirror, in order, are Old Town Alexandria resident and former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner (“Though he’s still an unknown across most of the country, the self-made gazillionaire won’t have problems buying his way onto the backstretch.”), Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Delaware Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (“He has already acknowledged Hillary as the one to beat and is formulating a strategy to do just that.”) and finally former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota.

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

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