WASHINGTON — A bunch of Californians showed up to bid a senatorial farewell to Gary Hart in D.C. this week. But, of course, in Washington nothing is simple--so the party also aimed at helping Hart pay off the $3-million debt from his '84 presidential campaign.
Kitty and Steve Moses helped spearhead the gathering at the Folger Library. The exquisite Folger, which is available for rent, is usually off-limits for political events--but this party slipped in because the party was also a "retirement tribute" for the Colorado Democratic senator.
The 200-plus crowd was stirred by two arrivals--actor Warren Beatty (naturally), and that of Pamela Harriman, one of the farewell dinner's co-chairs. The widow of Ambassador Averell Harriman (in what was one of her first public appearances since his death this summer), she had raised quite a bit of money in 1984 for Democratic Senate candidates.
And money was, of course, a major concern to Chuck Manatt, who along with U.S. Rep. Pat Schroeder of Colorado and Florida state Rep. Jon Mills, will co-chair the announced-this-week Hart exploratory committee. Manatt said the $3-million debt wasn't a serious impediment to Hart's '88 candidacy. When Manatt took over the Democratic National Committee as chair in 1981, there was still $3 million to be paid off from the 1968 Bobby Kennedy campaign. Staff members were quick to point out that Hart is permitted to raise money for the 1988 campaign while in the process of paying off the '84 debt.
Hart, stiffly serious in '84, seemed almost relaxed. Schroeder, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, contributed to the mood when she joked pointedly that her committee was trying to find out "what happened to all the weapons we have paid for. Maybe they've been given away."
Tim Wirth, who has been elected to replace Hart in the Senate, was there, along with wife Wren. Also very present--L.A. expatriates and long-time Hart supporters Miles and Nancy Rubin (he's credited with raising mucho money for Hart in '84), superlobbyist Tommy Boggs, and Norm Brownstein.
FILM FUND-RAISERS: "It's the first time I've been here, but I get tons of mail from this place," said actress Louise Fletcher, at the Washington headquarters of the Motion Picture Assn. of America, for a reception before the benefit screening of her "Crimes of the Heart."
Fletcher and co-star Tess Harper joined several dozen Washington film makers for the Women in Film $250-a-head fund-raising evening.
Association president Jack Valenti, who has made a natural mix of politics and motion pictures, chatted with Cathy Wyler, daughter of the late director William Wyler. She'll be heading back to Los Angeles in January as a vice president at Columbia Pictures. "Isn't it great? A dream job to make movies," Valenti said.
Jean Firstenberg, the director of the American Film Institute, and a practiced hand in bicoastal living, was giving Wyler some points on airplane commuting. They were also discussing how for the first time this year an American woman might win an Oscar for best director--that's Randa Haines, who directed "Children of a Lesser God."
More news about Women in Film is that the fifth annual Washington Film Festival will be March 1-10, according to Randy Goldberg, president of the Washington chapter. It is the largest film festival devoted to work by women.
On hand for the benefit was Gayle Wilson, wife of California Republican Sen. Pete Wilson. A strong supporter of Women in Film, she said she'd been involved several years ago by Marie Kelly, and "it's a great group." Making it a bipartisan evening was Democratic Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts.
It seems as though the link between Hollywood and Washington gets stronger and stronger--and certainly not just through the former actors in the White House.
THOUGHTFUL VOTE--The annual conference of the American Assn. of Political Consultants was in D.C. this week--with folks having a chance to cast their votes for presidential candidates in the party of their choice. Look for a little glitz, however, in the outcome--thanks to association president Joe Cerrell. He voted not for one of the Democratic front-runners but for Sen. John Glenn of Ohio, whom Cerrell worked for in Glenn's 1984 presidential try. Why? "Simple. I voted for Glenn because he still owes me $25,000."
LUNCHTABLE POLITICS--Just a little deja vu. Former Sen. Eugene McCarthy, lunching Monday at the fashionable Maison Blanc with Republican campaign consultant John Sears. (Sears' commentator-partner on the "Today" show, Democratic consultant Bob Squier, was just two tables away.) McCarthy did a little table-hopping--stopping a minute to chat with Ethel Kennedy, widow of the late Sen. Bobby Kennedy, who, along with McCarthy, ran in the bitter Democratic primary fights of 1968. Ethel Kennedy was joined at lunch by columnist Art Buchwald, who announced to Squier as he passed his table, "They've done it again. And just when I thought I'd have nothing to write about."
CREDITS--This year's Kennedy Center Honors featured, as usual, outstanding documentary films on each of the honorees. It's a bicoastal duo that put them together--Sara Lukinson, from New York, and Cathy Shields, from Los Angeles.