Power Couples

Article excerpt

Byline: John McCaslin, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Power couples

Seated atop the 2004 Washington "A List," as is tradition, are President and Mrs. Bush. Joining the first couple this year are 127 of Washington's most powerful party people - or at least those folks you'd like to have show up for your party.

"These people don't have to be extremely social, but if you walk into a party and they're there, then it's a good party," Nancy Bagley, editor in chief of Washington Life magazine, tells Inside the Beltway.

Compiled annually in a secret committee, this year's A List reveals the usual suspects - the die-hards of the Washington social scene - as well as a few newcomers. Making room for the new arrivals means others have to be dropped from the list, most notably this year former basketball star Michael Jordan.

On the other hand, Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and his wife, Vicky, could pack their bags, retire to Hyannis Port and they still wouldn't be erased from the list. Ditto for Ethel Kennedy and Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

Nor could one pry away Watergate editor Ben Bradlee and his socially conscious wife Sally Quinn, Joe and Barbara Jean Allbritton, Mrs. Paul (Bunny) Mellon, Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, Sen. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller IV, and Mr. and Mrs. Jack Valenti.

We should point out the 2004 list was finalized when every Democrat and his mother was running for the presidential nomination. This year's party roster, therefore, includes Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman and wife Hadassah, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and wife Bitsey, and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and his ketchup heiress wife Teresa (whatever you do, don't pronounce her name "Theresa") Heinz.

Ohio Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, unfortunately, did not make the cut. (The poor guy can now concentrate on finding a wife.) And barring a political miracle, it seems former Gov. Howard Dean, like Al Gore, will never be coach of Washington's A team.

To grill the surviving candidates, this year's A List includes Sunday talk-show hosts Tim Russert and George Stephanopoulos. And that's Ted Koppel, Andrea Mitchell, Jim Lehrer, Al Hunt and wife Judy Woodruff standing patiently in the buffet line waiting their turns.

After the Democratic field is narrowed to one, the social "journalists" can turn their attention to Bush administration officials on the A List: Vice President Dick Cheney, presidential adviser Karl Rove (his first year), White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. …