As we mentioned earlier, last night Team Wonkette found itself at the book party for Peter Beinart’s The Good Fight. The festivities took place at the elegant Georgetown home of Mark Penn and Nancy Jacobson, and numerous superstars attended — including Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Sen. Hillary Clinton chats it up with author Peter Beinart and his lovely wife, Diana Hartstein. Over Hillary’s shoulder: Third Way’s Matt Bennett.
This truly was one of the best parties we’ve attended — and as you know, we go to a lot of them. It did require us to shower and leave our apartments, but all in all, it was worth it.
Author Peter Beinart and host Mark Penn (in jeans; it’s his party, he’ll wear what he wants to).
Venue: Excellent. Mark Penn and Nancy Jacobson — he’s Hillary’s pollster, and she’s John Edwards’s finance queen, as the Hotline points out — have a stunningly gorgeous home, as well as an impressive art collection. Most of the guests congregated on the patio and in the well-manicured side garden, replete with reflecting pool.
Part of Team Wonkette, accompanied by foolhardy FishBowler Patrick Gavin,
took an unauthorized tour of the upstairs living quarters got lost upstairs on their way to the bathroom. (Intrepid Girl Reporter Liz Gorman was against it and went under protest/embarrassment.) The mischievous trio peeked into Mark Penn’s private study and left proof of their visit:
Starpower: Off the charts. Bill and Hillary Clinton — need we say more? (As previously noted, they came and left separately, and didn’t overlap — which was probably a good thing, considering the star-struck reactions they engendered individually.)
Even Hillary by herself would have lit up the heavens. To paraphrase JFK on Thomas Jefferson, “This is the most extraordinary collection of starpower in D.C. since the White House Correspondents’ dinner — with the possible exception of when Hillary dines alone.”
Of course, in addition to the Clintons, Penn, and Jacobson, there were lots of other boldface names. We were too busy drinking and devouring hors d’oeuvres, but the eagle-eyed Patrick Gavin spotted the following: Leon Panetta, the Newshour’s Anne Davenport, Alexander Barnes Dryer, Rita Braver, Kenneth Pollack, Andrea Koppel, William Galston, and Sen. Ron Wyden.
Marc Ambinder’s additions to the list of notables: “Andrei Cherny, the wunkerkind former Gore speechwriter / Kerry adviser whose new journal of ideas, Democracy, launches next week”; and “Doug Band, Clinton’s erstwhile and harried-looking senior travelling aide.”
Food: Excellent. A wide-ranging selection of delicious hors d’oeuvres, served in copious amounts throughout the evening. The offerings included asparagus in puff pastry; crackers topped with tomato, mozzarella, and pesto; and our personal favorite, crispy tortilla-like shells filled with a scrumptious southwestern chicken salad. The only disappointment were the miniature roast beef sandwiches.
Entertainment: Excellent. The formal part of the evening was brief — warm introductory remarks by Mark Penn, followed by Peter Beinart’s eloquent precis of his new book. But the conversation and the people-watching — including eavesdropping on conversations involving either Bill Clinton or Hillary Clinton — were more enjoyable than pretty much any speech we’ve sat through this year.
Even conversations not involving the Clintons were amusing. One woman at the bar asked one of us who we were, where we worked, etc. She was familiar with Wonkette and asked how we learned about the party. We explained that we learned about it through a Harper Collins publicist, then said something about Peter’s agent.
The woman immediately turned to her husband and said, “See, Harold, Peter has an agent. You know, Harold wrote a book, but he doesn’t have an agent.” Her husband agreed that, yes, having an agent might be helpful.
If they were looking for a book agent, they came to the right party. Also in attendance: super-lawyer Robert Barnett of Williams & Connolly, who negotiated the eye-popping book deals for Bill and Hillary. Hopefully they caught him before he left!