After the tour de force from President Obama, it didn’t seem like the night could be any more magical. But as guests walked up the circular drive for the Bloomberg | Vanity Fair after party at the French Ambassador’s residence, the magic continued. It was the ultimate insiders affair: no red carpet or paparazzi gauntlet, just Owen Wilson lounging near the front door talking quietly to a few Washington admirers.
With Donald Rumsfeld, who lives down the street, stopping by for a drink, it was a night, a location, and a crowd where anything could happen. Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Vanity Fair Editor Graydon Carter, joining party forces this year, welcomed the exclusive guests.
The brave captain of the Maresk Alabama, who offered his life in exchange for his mates, was Bloomberg’s special guest for the weekend. That followed getting the keys to New York City from Mayor Bloomberg the day before. Captain Richard Phillips shrugged off the compliments of celebrities (Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore) and politicos who lined up to shake his hand, but he did pose proudly with another real-life Captain America, Chesley Sullenberger, who safely piloted a US Airways jet onto the Hudson River.
Earlier in the day, Phillips and his wife, Andrea, met with President Obama in the Oval Office, after a private tour of the White House. The unflappable captain told Bloomberg it was an “honor to meet the President. He’s a very amazing man and he’s a very down-to-earth man.” His wife agreed, “It was very overwhelming, surreal to actually, be inside the Oval Office … I was so deeply excited to have met the President like that.”
After being introduced to the Commander-in-chief, Phillips admitted it was hard to get excited about meeting anyone else after being introduced to the Commander-in-Chief.