“I think people in politics will find…similarities to people they know,” former Kerry-Edwards campaign finance director Bridget Siegel told VelvetRoper at a party Tuesday night for her debut novel, Domestic Affairs. A mixture of socialites and political heavyweights had gathered at the penthouse of Dream Downtown to celebrate the D.C. insider’s book, about a young woman who becomes the finance director for a handsome Southern governor with whom she ends up having an affair.
Good thing it’s fiction, or else we might have another Rielle Hunter expose on our hands. As is, the leaking of the book’s contents has lead to some raised eyebrows.
We had just finished asking the dark-haired beauty (who said D.C. is New York for ugly people?) if the book was a thinly-veiled biography of her time working with John Edwards.
“It’s a compilation of people, and of stories I’ve heard,” Ms. Siegel replied enigmatically.
Domestic Affairs was published by the Weinstein Brothers book imprint, Weinstein Books, and it’s clear that this scintillating story could easily be adapted to a film. Unfortunately, the brothers were no-shows that evening, though other big names were scattered about: Gov. Mario Cuomo (who left early with his wife), fashion stylist Mary Alice Stephenson, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Melissa Berkelhammer, producer Jane Rosenthal, Emma Snowden-Jones, jewelry queen Gabrielle Fialkoff, William J. Clinton Foundation’s Lee Dugger, and hotelier Sant Chatwal.
So with all the big names around, we had to ask Ms. Siegel how Obama’s fundraising parties stacked up to previous candidates.
“I think Obama’s team is working really hard, round the clock,” she said. “And it’s great that the fashion world getting involved (in fundraising), they’re a really important part of the buisness sector,” Ms. Siegel said.
Ms. Berkelhammer had a different theory on why the Obama fundraisers in New York brought out the big names. “I think some people pretend to be Democrats because the parties are better,” the social scenester confided.
We found Mr. de Blasio…an easy task because he towered over the rest of the room. His connection to Ms. Seigel went weigh back. “She claims I gave her her first serious job on The Hill, working on the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2000, which I think gives me too much credit,” the possible mayoral candidate told VelvetRoper. “I’m just so proud of her.”
As for the parties’ parties?
“I’m too biased,” Mr. de Blasio said. “I’ve been to so many wonderful events thrown by Democrats, and I think they reflect the energy and diversity and creativity of the Democratic party. And obviously a lot of folks in the cultural world are connected to the Democratic party. So we definitely throw the better parties.”
We asked Mr. de Blasio to weigh in on the end of presidential candidates’ recent fundraising period: was the probability that Romney would come out with more (way more) cash in his coffers mean that he’d win the election?
“No, I mean the president has done a lot in his term, that’s going to be the biggest factor. By no means is money the biggest determent,” Mr. de Blasio said, taking to our baited question heartily. “I’m extremely worried by the way money is playing a bigger role in the process ever since the Supreme Court decision two years ago for Citizen United. There are tons of examples of money not being the biggest determining factor, the best being in 2010 when Meg Whitman ran against Jerry Brown for Governor of California, outspends him by $30 million, and still loses.”
“So Obama wins because of Obama’s track record.”
Mr. de Blasio’s theory was the general consensus for the evening as well.
“Obama will win, but fundraising will be a real uphill battle because of the Super PACS,” Ms. Siegel advised, being an expert on such matters.
“There’s a minimum amount of money you need to get your message out there, but once you pass that threshold, it’s clear that it’s not the person with the most dollars who wins,” New York State Assemblyman Brian Kavanaugh told us. “It’s the one who best connects with people.”
And how better to connect to people than with a party?
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