Scene in D.C.: Yellen Girl Power, Rubenstein Jet, Kaufman

Janet Yellen was a bipartisan favorite during last night’s Woodrow Wilson Awards dinner at the Willard Intercontinental.

“My opinion is girl power,” said the Wilson Center president, Jane Harman, a former congresswoman, of the woman set to be the Federal Reserve’s first female chairman.

“Two thumbs up,” said Senator Ed Markey, Massachusetts Democrat, during the cocktail hour. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island Democrat, and his wife, Sandra, were among those mingling. While his colleague Susan Collins, Maine Republican, left early to attend talks on the shutdown, she praised Yellen before her exit.

The Wilson Center, named for the 28th president, fosters research on a range of international issues. This year’s dinner chairman was David Rubenstein, who met Harman 35 years ago when they were “lowly Capitol Hill staffers,” as she described it.

Rubenstein, co-founder of the Carlyle Group LP, was essentially the same guy, but without “the bank account and jet,” she said.

Rubenstein assured the guests that they were all “essential,” the buzz word of furlough-speak.

“How many ’essential’ people do you think know how to transfer a call?” he asked the crowd. “I don’t think very many.” He joked that earlier in the day he called the White House switchboard and the president answered.

Budget Scoop

Rubenstein dined next to Steny Hoyer, the house minority whip. He said Hoyer had given him the inside scoop on the budget negotiations, which he would divulge to guests who helped the center reach its million-dollar goal for the evening.

The fundraising total at the time was $900,000.

“This is the grown-up table,” said lobbyist Heather Podesta, surveying the guests. “All the grownups have turned out for Jane.”

“I’m here to wave the cultural flag,” said Earl Powell, the director of the National Gallery of Art, which is closed because of the shutdown. His friends, arts patrons Roger and Vicki Sant, were the dinner’s honorees with Katherine and David Bradley, the owner of Atlantic Media Co.

Not far from the Willard, Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, and her investor husband Paul, stopped by the Motion Picture Association of America to see director Philip Kaufman, who was the guest of honor at a screening of his movie “The Right Stuff,” celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

Pelosi’s daughter, Christine, is married to Kaufman’s son, Peter, both of whom were present.

The elder Kaufman said he would love to work again with Daniel Day-Lewis, whom he directed in “The Unbearable Lightness of Being.”

“When my wife died, he wrote me the most beautiful, long note,” Kaufman said. “He and my wife were good friends.”

(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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