Discovery Channel’s Chiefs; Ambassadors Feted: D.C. Scene

It’s a tradition at the annual Ambassadors Ball for members of the diplomatic corps to wear a red rose boutonniere.

Standing in the JW Marriott last night, Swiss Ambassador Manuel Sager was conspicuously sans.

“She’s my red rose,” he said, pointing to his wife, Christine, who blushed rosily.

Across the room, Senator Bob Casey, the Pennsylvania Democrat, and Republican Congressman Greg Walden of Oregon played arm candy in the receiving line to their wives, Terese Casey and Mylene Walden, event co-chairmen.

“May I pin you?” asked a young volunteer, rose in hand. France’s Ambassador Francois Delattre grinned and said, “With pleasure.”

The already floral Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero huddled with his Egyptian counterpart, Mohamed Tawfik.

In the lobby, Republican Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama and his wife, Annette, perused the silent-auction items. Kevin Madden, the George Clooney lookalike and executive vice president of JDA Frontline Inc., chatted with Paul Dyck, the senior vice president of APCO Worldwide, and his wife, Jennifer Millerwise Dyck.

Running for 35 years, the Ambassadors Ball has helped raise almost $18 million for the National Capital Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Leaders Recognized

In addition to honoring diplomats, it recognizes leaders who have fought the disease. Senator Richard Burr, North Carolina Republican, and Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Maryland Democrat, were last night’s honorees for their efforts as members of the Congressional Multiple Sclerosis Caucus.

Guests dined on braised beef short ribs and dark-chocolate mousse. Burr quoted Alexis de Tocqueville: “You rise to the occasion to help people we’ll never meet.”

Van Hollen said he felt a certain kinship with the crowd “as the son of a foreign-service officer.”

Many Chiefs

The Discovery Channel hosted a screening and buffet dinner Tuesday night in honor of its new documentary “The Presidents’ Gatekeepers,” which interviews all 20 living White House chiefs of staff.

Former Reagan chief Kenneth Duberstein, now the chairman and chief executive of the Duberstein Group Inc., said being the president’s right hand is far headier than running his own company. After all, he said, when you’re that close to the president, “you’re balancing the world.”

Other attendees included Delattre, and his wife, Sophie, and a gaggle of other former chiefs such as John H. Sununu, who served under the first Bush, Joshua Bolten, who served Bush No. 2, and Jim Jones, who worked for Lyndon Johnson.

(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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