Swifty Nifty Ginsberg
Although he resigned amid controversy as outside counsel to the Bush campaign, Ben Ginsberg will still party with his party here in New York this week. In fact, he remains the headline “special host” of the lavish late-night bash that his law firm, Patton Boggs, is throwing for the Bush-Cheney ’04 team on the final night of the convention at ultra schwanky Avalon on Sixth Avenue.
“The official invitation refers to him as special host. Nothing has changed,” Patton Boggs spokesman Brian Hale said a day after Ginsberg stepped down from the Bush campaign over his moonlighting for the anti-Kerry Swift Boat Veterans.
Ginsberg confirmed that he will, indeed, be attending the Avalon party. (Stay tuned for a possible cage-dancing follow up.) He said the party never was supposed to be in his honor but, rather, “in honor of the folks from the campaign and the convention and the RNC.”
Hundreds — if not thousands — of conventioneers are praying and proselytizing to get tickets to Thursday night’s much-touted “Wrap Party” at Avalon, housed in a towering former Episcopalian cathedral whose last incarnation was the Limelight, which shut down after too many drug busts.
Thanks for the Money. Give More. Top Democratic donors and fundraisers got an odd invitation recently to Teresa Heinz Kerry’s farm, the Rosemont Farm, near Pittsburgh. Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) threw the party to thank everyone for their hard work in helping his campaign raise more cash than anyone felt possible a year ago. (The Kerry campaign has now raised $234 million to the Bush campaign’s $242 million, according to latest reports.)
A day or so before the party, Kerry campaign treasurer Bob Farmer phoned “trustees” to thank them for their commitment to raising $250,000 a piece and said he looked forward to seeing them at the farm. Then he laid the surprise on them:
“It’s polite when you’re invited to someone’s house to bring a bottle of wine or flowers,” one trustee recalled Farmer saying on the conference call. “We’d like it if you brought an offering of $25,000.”
At that point, trustees didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “I thought it was a joke!” one said.
Farmer, chuckling at his own joke, told HOH, “I thought it would be a nice surprise for John. … Well, they brought the checks. It was a big surprise.”
Indeed, according to Farmer, that one event raised $2.1 million.
Let Go, Let Bush. While “Fahrenheit 9/11” was the documentary du jour during the Democratic convention, Republicans are hoping to create their own buzz in New York around “George W. Bush: Faith in the White House.” The new documentary produced by Grizzly Adams Productions portrays what it calls “a never-before-seen insider’s look at how one man’s dedication to prayer and the daily application of God’s Word transformed his life and leadership.”
The movie, which premieres this week at various venues around the GOP convention, explores how the president lives out his faith on the job and, more implicitly, how he gave up the bottle (in the 1980s) for Jesus.
One of the more interesting characters in the movie is Bush’s former Bible study teacher, Don Poage, who now runs an alcohol and drug abuse counseling program at Midland College in Midland, Texas. Poage, who is three years younger than Bush, has known the president since their formative Little League days. (Poage’s sister Candy and Laura Welch, the first lady, were roommates in college.)
“George credits God with giving him the wake-up call,” Poage told HOH.
Poage was the “core leader” of a men’s Bible study group that Bush attended in Midland around 1985, at which point Poage said Bush was simply “a seeker of a different relationship with God.” Now, Poage describes Bush’s faith as “extremely strong,” which he feels is accurately portrayed in the documentary.
Bush and the other men in the core group were honest and open about deeply personal things in their lives, from infidelity to financial woes, Poage said, but he declined to elaborate. He said like Alcoholics Anonymous, “what is said in the core group stays in the core group.”
Poage doesn’t see Bush as an alcoholic. “Was he an alcohol abuser? Absolutely. Dependent? Perhaps. Alcoholic? That’s a whole other term; it’s not a clinical term.”
He said unlike a “dry drunk” — a term used in Alcoholics Anonymous for a recovering alcoholic who, despite sobriety, remains restless, irritable and discontent — Bush has “a peace about himself that is way beyond the stress of his job.”
The film will be shown at the Ramada Plaza New Yorker Hotel today and Tuesday at 11 a.m., accompanied by a press conference with the film’s producer-director, David Balsiger, and executive producer, Ted Beckett.
Governor Girlie Man. Obscure political bobblehead fanatics, your ship has come in. A disgruntled bobblehead maker says he’ll begin taking orders this week for his latest creation: the Governor Girlie Man bobblehead.
The tiny statue of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) wearing a pink dress, pumps, makeup and lipstick is a far cry from Arnold the Terminator or even Arnold the politician. But at least the politician can take credit for sparking creativity for the doll, when he dismissed state lawmakers who disagreed with his budget proposals as “girlie men.”
The sometimes thin-skinned Hollywood actor turned politician already stopped assembly on another bobblehead in his image, one that was part Terminator, part governor — a smiling Schwarzenegger toting a machine gun. He sued the Ohio-based manufacturer but reached an agreement to allow the company to continue making Gov. Schwarzenegger bobbleheads, only without the gun.
But D.C. lobbyist John Edgell, who commissioned the first Schwarzenegger doll and several other political bobblehead dolls, was not happy with the settlement, hence the creation of Governor Girlie Man. (He claims that proceeds of the bobblehead sales, which were supposed to go toward cancer and children’s charities, were instead diverted to Schwarzenegger’s pet charity.)
“I’m fully expecting that they’ll sue me,” Edgell said of the governor and his attorney. “They didn’t like Arnold with the gun. Now they’re getting Arnold in a pink dress.”
The governor’s spokeswoman, Margita Thompson, would not comment on the bobblehead since, she said, “there isn’t any official government involvement.”
Edgell plans to begin selling the doll and other Governor Girlie Man paraphernalia this week on his new web site www.GovernorGirlieMan.com.
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