- The Washington Times - Friday, September 18, 2009

You know the social season is whirling when you have two major events on the same night, which was the case Wednesday, leaving party girl Michelle Obama in a pickle wondering which one to attend.

“She sent her regrets. It was a school night,” explained Simone-Marie Meeks, wife of Rep. Gregory W. Meeks, New York Democrat, at the Ambassador’s Ball benefit for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society at the Washington Hilton, when asked why the first lady, whose late father suffered from MS, was a no-show.

The other lost lass was Norah O’Donnell. The telegenic correspondent for NBC was supposed to emcee the black-tie affair but was whisked off to New York at the last minute, palming off her hosting duties on White House correspondent Savannah Guthrie, who shimmered in a criss-cross-necklined evening gown, which showcased her elegant shoulders and neck to great effect.

Mr. and Mrs. Meeks were joined in the receiving line by Sen. Richard C. Shelby, Alabama Republican, and his wife, Annette, and, a little farther down the line, the always affable Rep. Edward J. Markey Massachusetts Democrat, and his better half, Dr. Susan Blumenthal. Mr. Markey, a pallbearer at the funeral of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, explained that he has not had a chance to read Mr. Kennedy’s memoir, “True Compass,” but told us that a replacement for the Senate lion’s seat would be “worked out.”

Also at the Hilton: Rep. Henry A. Waxman, California Democrat, and his wife, Janet, and former Rep. Mike Oxley, Ohio Republican, in “a tux I have had for about fifty years” and his wife, Patricia. Among the diplomatic scenesters was the young and dapper Said Jawad, the Afghan ambassador.

Latin hearts afire

Meanwhile, across town at the convention center, Mrs. Obama (evidently playing hooky from “school night”) and her hubby graced the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s gala and provided some laughs along with their glamorous presence. Comedian and actor John Leguizamo was on hand, as were diva Jennifer Lopez and her hubby, singer Marc Anthony, who was being honored at the event.

We were somewhat surprised to learn that Mr. Anthony didn’t want to discuss immigration reform, given that he and Miss Lopez had been on the Hill earlier in the day meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to discuss that, among other issues.

A tight-lipped Miss Lopez demurely nodded in Mr. Anthony’s direction and said, “It’s his night,” when asked questions by reporters.

Indeed, it was. During his remarks, President Obama not only paid homage to the sexy Mr. Anthony, but also made one of his congressional allies blush with this disclosure: “I want to congratulate Marc Anthony, not only because it’s his birthday, but also because he’s being honored tonight as an artist who has shared not only his music, but his heritage with all of us. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that [New York Democrat] Nydia Velazquez has a crush on you that you were provided this award.

“I’m telling you, J.Lo, watch out,” the president warned in jest.

We think you might have lost the congresswoman’s vote on health care for revealing her secret, Mr. Prez. Never mess with a woman in love.

Cat’s outta the bag

At what point does a band consider itself to have “made it”? For some, it might be winning a coveted MTV Video Music Award, but not for Brooklyn’s indie-pop duo Matt & Kim, who were in town Wednesday night for a sold-out show at the Black Cat.

G2 sat down with the group’s Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino before their set to chat about their recent VMA award for best breakthrough video, and we were surprised to hear that they were almost more excited about having recently acquired health insurance than the win.

“Everyone would be like, ‘So when do you think you’re going to have true success?’ We’re like, ‘When we have health insurance, that is when.’ And we just recently got it, and it feels pretty good, even though we haven’t gone to the doctor yet. But as soon as we get home, we’re going to the doctor!”

Perhaps health care is an issue Matt & Kim could take up with Mr. Obama. When they learned that he was in town, they told us they would add him to their guest list.

Good luck with that one, guys.

To contact Stephanie Green or Elizabeth Glover, e-mail [email protected]

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