- The Washington Times - Friday, May 8, 2009

We caught up with Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar at the Trust for the National Mall’s luncheon, where the Coloradan sported his customary bolo tie. Apparently being in the president’s Cabinet has not changed his laid-back Western approach to dressing because he told us he is not wearing a necktie anytime soon.

“I want to pass legislation banning ties,” he joked while tightening the tie around the neck of a gentleman standing nearby.

The luncheon for the Mall raised about $1 million that will be used in addition to the $56 million granted from Interior’s share of stimulus money to improve “America’s Front Yard” and its monuments, which are in dire need of repair.

At the event, we also bumped into French Ambassador Pierre Vimont, whose popularity has risen recently due to the fact that he is hosting the much-hyped Vanity Fair-Bloomberg Party after the White House Correspondents’ Dinner Saturday.

He looked a little haggard, so we asked about the steady stream of phone calls he is getting from new “friends” trying to snag an invite.

“I have been getting some calls from the other embassies, but the Vanity Fair and Bloomberg people are taking care of most it,” he said.

That’s a diplomatic way of saying, “Go bug them, and leave me alone.”

And while you’re at it, leave Christopher Hitchens alone, too. The impossibly erudite Vanity Fair scribe wishes you to know he is not a co-host of this year’s party and cannot get you in the door.

We hear Sen. Mark Warner, Virginia Democrat, will be attending Saturday night’s dinner, but the man looking to take his former job as Virginia governor, Terry McAuliffe, won’t be there.

His wife, Dorothy, was among the hatted ladies at the luncheon, and she told us they’ll be in campaign mode in the Old Dominion this weekend and will miss the dinner.

Did they ever stop to think of all the campaign donors and celebrity endorsements they could have racked up at the celebrity-packed afterparties?

Maybe they don’t need them. We hear will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas will be campaigning for the former DNC chairman on Monday all across the state.

Bipartisan dining

An eagle-eyed source tells G2 that White House social secretary Desiree Rogers and Amy Zantzinger, her predecessor in the job from the previous administration, were seen dining together in Northwest’s Bistrot Lepic recently.

Was Ms. Zantzinger getting advice from Ms. Rogers on how to become a cover model?

To contact Stephanie Green and Elizabeth Glover with a tip or to request event coverage, please e-mail [email protected]

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