At the 34th Ambassadors Ball Wednesday night, Senator Robert Casey read a message from President Barack Obama about the killing of Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Libya.
The gala, held in honor of Washington’s diplomatic corps, raises funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Capital Chapter.
Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, was saluted along with Congressman Lee Terry, a Nebraska Republican, for work on behalf of Multiple Sclerosis. Casey is co-chairman of the MS Caucus in the U.S. Senate, and Terry is a member of the Congressional MS Caucus.
At the cocktail reception, Casey said that Ann Romney’s public discussions about her own battle with MS will “personalize” the condition and “lead to more bipartisan efforts.”
The diplomats wore red roses, while the legislators wore white ones. Among the ambassadors present were Arturo Sarukhan of Mexico, Perezi Kamunanwire of Uganda, Shankar Sharma of Nepal, and Michael Collins of Ireland.
During a dinner of beef tenderloin and pumpkin ravioli, a dancer from the Sutradhar Institute performed a traditional Indian number.
Wearing an Oscar de la Renta gown with a keyhole back, U.S. Chief of Protocol Capricia Penavic Marshall offered a champagne toast to her diplomatic colleagues all over the world.
Then Congressman Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, hit the dance floor with his wife, Judy, another ball co-chairman.
“I gotta tell you, bro, you’re gonna need us,” said actor Jimmy Smits Tuesday night, speaking to an empty chair representing President Obama at the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts gala.
Smits’s reference to the crucial Hispanic vote in this year’s presidential election drew a ripple of chuckles and claps.
The 16th annual Noche de Gala at the historic Mayflower Renaissance Hotel honored actor Demian Bichir and rising actresses Cierra Ramirez and Gina Rodriguez.
Ford Motor Co. (F) was the primary underwriter. Toy cars were placed on the tables as centerpieces in a nod to the motor company.
Smits and Bichir both said they were impressed with the speech given by Cuban-American Senator Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, at the Republican National Convention last month.
“He’s going to be one of the great politicians,” Bichir said. “Notice I skipped the word ’Hispanic,’” he added.
The Mexican Bichir portrayed an undocumented worker in “A Better Life,” which won him an Academy Award nomination this year. He was given the foundation’s Raul Julia Award for Excellence for his blending of advocacy into his art.
Smits said he will hit the road for President Obama, but the “surrogate thing” doesn’t come naturally to him as public speaking is sometimes intimidating “without my script.” His character Matt Santos on the hit series “The West Wing” successfully campaigned for president.
Representative Loretta Sanchez, California Democrat, chatted with “American Idol” finalist Stefano Langone, who performed Tuesday night, and actor Esai Morales, who along with Smits is a co-founder of the organization.
Arts supporter Adrienne Arsht, in “very old” Marchesa, attended the gala with her friend Jorge Plasencia, the chairman and chief executive of advertising agency Republica.
Other private-sector leaders present included Frank Ros, vice president for Hispanic strategies for Coca Cola Co. (KO), Ruby Beserra, vice president of Latin affairs for Coca Cola, and Jerry Fuentes, president of Arizona and New Mexico for AT&T Inc. (T)
(Stephanie Green is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)
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