The Reliable Source | WASHINGTON POST | JUL 27, 2001

Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York’s junior senator, and her husband, Bill, hosted a Washington party Wednesday night to celebrate the recent marriage of Kelly Craighead, a longtime Hillary staffer, and Democratic political consultant Erik Mullen, a former aide to Hillary’s senior colleague, Chuck Schumer. Guests at restaurant Nineteen Ten included Schumer, Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe and former finance chairwoman Beth Dozoretz, former national security adviser Sandy Berger, Clinton loyalist Sidney Blumenthal, and Sen. Clinton’s former press secretary, Howard Wolfson.

The Clintons really, really like these newlyweds. Sen. Clinton officiated at the July 7 ceremony in hot-tub and incense-rich Marin County. But since their honeymoon in Spain, it has been one disaster after another. During their two-week trip to Spain, Craighead and Mullen were beset by hotel mishaps. When the couple returned to their row house in Northwest D.C.’s Kenyon Park neighborhood, they discovered that not only had a pipe burst, flooding the basement and first floor, but their house had been burgled as well. Among the missing items was Craighead’s one-of-a-kind Judith Ripka diamond engagement ring. “I knew better than to take expensive jewelry on a trip,” she told us, “but of course I should have put it in a safe-deposit box.”

At Nineteen Ten, the fit-looking ex-president arrived ahead of the crowd, the senator got there next, and after the Clintons departed together, daughter Chelsea showed up behind the wheel of a late-model white Volvo. “She called up from outside and said she couldn’t find a place to park,” said restaurant owner Stephanie Abbajay. Ah, the loss of power! Well, not quite. Abbajay’s husband, Dave Stine, rushed out to valet-park Chelsea’s car. The 21-year-old Oxford-bound scholar was looking slim and chic in black slacks and tank top and lots of silver jewelry. “She said she would come back and bartend sometime,” Abbajay told us.

Well, at least she’s legal.


  • We hear that Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, understandably security-conscious given the recent history of his department, keeps a special lock on his basement home office in Falls Church. The reason? He’s worried that his precocious 4-year-old, Spencer Jr., who plays in the rec room with his 8-year-old twin sisters, Betsy and Julie, might pick up the secure telephone — a hot line to the White House — and announce “This is Spencer Abraham!” And then get Vice President Cheney or the powerful Karl Rove on the line to formulate White House emergency policy. Then where would we be?

  • Fresh off their private jet Wednesday night, Nicolas Cage and girlfriend Lisa Marie Presley supped at the Palm — with Cage ravenously downing the whole Surf and Turf special for two — and tipping more than 20 percent. Alas, a fellow diner e-mailed us: “I was seated near these two superstars — a pleasant surprise in an otherwise slow Washington summer. The greater surprise was the two thug rent-a-cops with them — who did their best to intimidate anyone who either dared look in their direction or decided to use the restroom, which required a stroll past their table.”

  • A funny thing happened last weekend when Bethesda real estate mogul Dickie Dubin and wife Liz led a Washington contingent — including Stuart and Wilma Bernstein, Alma and Joseph Gildenhorn, and New York Post columnist and Potomac native Braden Keil — to a South Hampton engagement party for their daughter Robin and her fiance, New York physician Marc Avram. Robin Dubin surveyed the estate of her intended’s parents and declared: “It’s so nice here — why don’t we get married right now!” A visiting rabbi was pressed into service and a pashmina shawl served as the chupah, the traditional canopy under which a Jewish wedding ceremony takes place. The planned October celebration in Washington is still on. “The big dilemma of the night was whether the guests had to buy two presents,” Keil told us.