White House's Lesser Engaged
Eric Lesser, longtime assistant to David Axelrod, took the plunge this weekend and proposed to girlfriend, Alison Silber. Lesser is now a deputy to Austan Goolsbee, head of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers.
The newly engaged couple has been dating for two years. Silber is a Maryland Law School graduate and clerks for DC Superior Court Associate Judge Zinora Mitchell-Rankin.
Lesser is a media favorite for his can-do spirit with the press corps. He returns to Harvard (where his undergrad buddies included Mark Zuckerberg) to attend law school in the fall.
Gordon Brown’s D.C. Book Bash
Gordon Brown, Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and wife Sarah, were in Washington this weekend to launch his U.S. book tour. The Browns were greeted by top politicos, global financial leaders and media types at a stately affair held at the Jefferson Hotel. The party was co-hosted by long-time friends Connie Milstein, owner of the Jefferson Hotel and her husband, J.C. de La Haye St. Hilaire, and Tammy Haddad.
Brown charmed the A-plus crowd, including the Obama Administration’s David and Susan Axelrod, Austan and Robin Goolsbee, Ambassador Elizabeth Bagley, Bill Burton and Laura Burton Capps, Stephanie Cutter, Bruce Reed, Eric Lesser and Katie McCormick Lelyveld, as he had a little fun describing his post PM life as well as giving his assessment of the global economy.
Here are Brown’s comments as reported by Politics Daily on AOL —
“In brief remarks, Brown — among the first world leaders to rescue troubled banks at home in 2008 — warned that “for the time in 200 years, America and Europe are being out-produced, out-invested, out-traded and out-exported” by other nations, and that the solution to the global crisis was to tap into a billion middle class consumers in Asia who in 10 years will have twice the buying power as Americans.”
Brown repeated that same message on ABC News “This Week with Christiane Amanpour” saying that while Asia and China had to consume more, “Europe’s got to reform its markets. America is prepared to invest in the future, while doing its fiscal consolidation. And that would mean, in my view, that you would have this exit strategy from a crisis based on high growth and high employment and not low growth and what I fear is high unemployment for a decade.”
The former prime minister — who earlier in his career spent a decade as finance minister — warned that the immediate danger “is that people cut back in education, which is vital for the future, that people cut back on their international contacts, because they think the solutions lie in national answers to their problems, when they lie in global cooperation. And I think the danger is, you have a ’30s-style protectionism where people relapse into currency wars, as we’re seeing, or trade wars or banning takeovers that have got cross-border ramifications, or simply a protectionism in of the mind, where anti-immigrant sentiment gets to the point that we’re not really talking to each other in a way that means that we have a coordinated world.”
A crowd formed around media celebrities including new CNN host Piers Morgan and his wife Celia Walden, Arianna Huffington and Glee’s Matthew Morrison.
Notables in the crowd: Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Managing Director of World Bank; Ambassador Capricia Marshall; Alan Greenspan and Andrea Mitchell; Terry McAuliffe; Rima al Sabah, Bob Barnett and Rita Braver; Bruce and Bonnie Reed; Robert and Ellen Bennett; Hilary Rosen and Kate Harold; Sam and Danielle Feist; Dan and Rhoda Glickman; Shelby Coffey; Anita McBride; Sally Quinn; NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, and the BBC’s Rome and Amy Hartman.
“Beyond the Crash” is published by Free Press/Simon & Schuster.
Axelrod-Milstein Team Up for Epilepsy Research
Hundreds gathered at the Newseum Wednesday evening to recognize the scientific work of CURE Epilepsy, raise awareness, and to honor 2010 Friend of CURE Awardee, longtime television producer and WHCInsider’s own Tammy Haddad.
Susan Axelrod, Chair and founding member of Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy, was on hand to mark the special occasion. Axelrod and Connie Milstein, CURE supporter and noted philanthropist, co-hosted the event.
Connie Milstein, a CURE board member, announced the Axelrod Milstein Challenge Grant. It is a $500,000 two-year program. CURE Challenge Grants are CURE’s most prestigious, and fuel the much needed research to find the key to the cure of this dreaded disease.
“Susan works tirelessly to find a cure for epilepsy and seizure disorders. Like many families across the world, the Axelrods live with this disease every day, but their work, their strength, and their optimism give hope to so many, as they fight and live for a cure,” said Milstein.
Susan Axelrod described the lack of progress and the difficult research road ahead: “With so many troops returning from war with traumatic brain injuries and epilepsy, the need is more urgent now.”
Axelrod, along with her husband David, was desperate to find answers when their own daughter Lauren was diagnosed with uncontrollable epilepsy at 7 months old. Twelve years ago, CURE was founded by Axelrod and two other mothers around a kitchen table. Many members of the CURE family were on hand last night and gathered on stage for a group photo and greeted with a round of applause.
The room was a living tribute to CURE and Ms. Haddad, as devoted friends from both sides of the aisle raised a glass to what many have called a “force.” Haddad used her annual White House Correspondents Weekend Brunch to raise awareness for CURE after seeing Susan and Lauren Axelrod on the cover of PARADE magazine, and later on NBC’s The Today Show.
“I chased her down for weeks to get her to host the Correspondents Brunch because I wanted to help. Here was a chance to use a HUGE platform for an important message,” said Haddad. “What did she tell us? No parent, no child, no family — no person should have to suffer and experience the pain of epilepsy. That is her goal…and since she is unstoppable we know she will reach that goal.”
Cabinet appearances by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Dr. Howard Koh, NIH’s Story Landis and Dr. Tony Fauci.
The audience roared as a video roast of Haddad began with David Gregory anchoring a “Meet The Press” open lamenting the lack of agreement on anything in Washington except in friendship and respect for Haddad. Also in the video: ABC’s Jake Tapper from the White House, Greta Van Susteren and John Coale. Jon Meacham roasted the longtime network and cable news producer by reminding the audience that Christopher Buckley put her in his novel “Thank You for Smoking.” Haddad’s former MSNBC’s colleagues, the “Morning Joe” team – Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, Willie Geist, Mark Halperin and Harold Ford taking turns trying to figure out what award Haddad hadn’t won yet while praising her work for CURE.
The surprise ending was a song written and performed for Haddad by Glee superstars Matthew Morrison and Jane Lynch.
Among those there to help celebrate: Rima al Sabah, the Kuwaiti Ambassador’s wife; British Ambassador to the US Nigel and Julia Sheinwald; AFT President Randi Weingarten; Tom Oliphant, Mary Louise Oates and Robert Shrum.
Politicos aplenty including Bloomberg’s Kevin Sheekey, Joel and Lisa Benenson, Jim Margolis, Susan Sher, Stephanie Cutter, Julianna Smoot, Dan Pfieffer, Eric Lesser and Jen Psaki.
Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard fresh from a Supreme Court appearance, along with crowd favorite Terry McAuliffe; Tony and Heather Podesta; Podesta Group CEO Kimberly Fritts and hubby, Marion Turner; Holly Page; Bruce Reed and Bonnie LePard.
Media biggies included Wolf Blitzer, Howard Fineman and Amy Nathan, Lynn Sweet, Betsy Fischer (producer of the surprise video), Andrea Mitchell, Gloria Borger, Roger Simon, Annie Groer and Hilary Rosen.
Both republican and democratic political operatives included Bob Stevenson, Jane Oates, Dan Meyers, Erica Elliot, Rich Galen and Tom Synhorst.
Designed by Jacquie Bloom, the Newseum’s Knight Center was aglow in CURE red. Guests enjoyed the pomegranate martini ice luge and the ice cream sundae bar.
CURE is in the middle of their Every Dollar Counts Every seizure Matters campaign. To donate CLICK on CUREEpilepsy.org.
Obama Originals and Regulars Reunite at HBO Party
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“By the People,” the HBO documentary by Amy Rice and Alicia Sims, brought together top Obama campaign veterans and the press corps that followed them through the historic 2008 election for a backslapping, bear-hugging reunion at the newly renovated Motion Picture Association of America. HBO President Richard Plepler greeted top White House advisers Anita Dunn, Austan Goolsbee, Dan Pfeiffer, Sarah Feinberg, Bill Burton, Mike Blake, Dag Vega, and Washington’s newest Chicago import Susan Sher, the First Lady’s longtime friend and chief of staff.
The filmmakers’ Obama bus mates were well represented in the 80-plus crowd beginning with bestselling author Richard Wolffe, Obama “original” Juliana Goldman, Lynne Sweet, plus several campaign heavy hitters: Mike Allen, Mark Leibovitch, Jeff Zeleny, and David Jackson.
Representing the 2008 TV and pundit corps: Hilary Rosen, Jonathan Capehart, Betsy Fischer, and David Chalian.
The party went into overdrive when Reggie Love huddled with Richard Plepler; one line formed to take photos with Love and another to shake hands and schmooze with Plepler.
Washington’s elite came out to watch the HBO screening: Ben Bradlee, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, George and Liz Stevens, and Bob Barnett. And all eyes were on Barnett and the HBO chief, as they huddled over their upcoming projects.
Obama media man Jim Margolis and White House Communications Director Anita Dunn spoke after the screening, reminding the crowd that Rice and Sims joined the campaign in 2006. And after an inspiring speech about the campaign, Margolis told how he meticulously prepared for commercial shoots at the critical campaign moment Rice and Sims were always present, whether it was around the campaign office or stepping in a the right moment to get the shot of the candidate who made history. Dunn said the film captured the special feeling of what it was like to work on the campaign and that “there will not be another campaign that was like the Obama 2008 campaign…people felt that they were a part of something much bigger than one individual.”
Reggie Love, who was always one step in front of or behind Obama in the film, attended the screening with two BlackBerry’s in hand, greeting many of those who spent hours covering the candidate or working on the campaign. MSNBC’s Richard Wolffe, who made several appearances in the film, cheered and laughed along with his colleagues as the audience could see through the camera lens the sometimes quiet and sometimes frantic moments of the campaign.
For many it was a chance to relive the excitement of the campaign, for others it was to catch up with Obama people who are now running the country.
“By The People” premieres November 3rd at 9:00 p.m. ET on HBO.
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