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As a Dixieland band played "Ain't Misbehavin'," the "Life of the Party Party" crowd was high on Sarah Palin at the Crowne Plaza Tuesday afternoon, even though she was a no-show. Originally scheduled to be feted on stage by U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann, Palin had a couple of things happen this week to busy up her days and had to bow out of the anti-abortion event.
Prolife Minnesota founder Mary Ann Kuharski was there, as were former Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer and Phyllis Schlafly, who demonstrated aplomb when Code Pink protesters leapt on stage trying to unfurl a "Celebrate life, end the war" banner and grab the microphone. Schlafly managed to rip the banner and retain her mike, then introduce conservative radio host Laura Ingram and La Bachmann, who drove the crowd wild with this pronouncement: "With this ticket, the Republican party will be forever ...and ever ... and ever pro-life."
The most outwardly colorful attendee had to be Kendal Unruh of Colorado, who rocked a calf-length fringed red leather vest with matching boots and a hat pin she made out of a hotel-room coaster that read "Maniacal, foaming at the mouth, feverishly fervent Palin nut! Any questions?"
OK, just one: If Joe Biden had a teen daughter who got pregnant, would you be just as supportive? "Yes. I don't care if she's the daughter of a Communist dictator. It's about life."Go vote, young woman
An event billed as Political Chicks a Go Go calls to mind a group of policymakers suddenly trading their power suits for hot pants and table dancing to disco. But no such luck. Monday night's bash at Bar Fly was thrown by several groups who want to amp up the vote among young women, and the only go-go boots were used as vases on the tables. Carter's Chord, a trio of up-and-coming sisters, warmed up for country star John Rich, who wasn't the only male in the house. In fact, for an event meant to encourage young women to vote, there was an incongruous level of middle-aged-man leering goin' on. Or maybe it was just the creepy lighting.
Up on the fourth-floor VIP lounge, Meghan McCain hid out with her Blogettes. Kay Granger, a straight-talking, three-term congresswoman from Texas, was more accessible.
"So many people think women all vote the same, and it's not true," she said. "And women's issues? All issues are women's issues." For her, no doubt: Granger sits on the defense appropriations, homeland security and military construction committees.Newsies as foodies
Monday's abbreviated convention schedule allowed many media types to get out and play restaurant critic. CBS' Bob Schieffer raved about his meal at Masa and Fox's Chris Wallace said he's already checked out four St. Paul establishments: Meritage, Kincaid's, Pazzaluna and La Grolla. Wallace was particularly enthused about La Grolla, a cozy neighborhood Italian eatery on Selby Avenue. "If that place was in Washington, I would eat there every week," he said.Pickin' and grinnin'
As governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee required every student in the state to take music and art classes. So the former presidential candidate was an apt choice to moderate an arts panel Tuesday at the Children's Museum in St. Paul. A suggestion that the next president add a Cabinet-level secretary of culture to his administration drew enthusiastic applause from the crowd of about 100 -- and a proposal that Huckabee fill the bill. He demurred. "I'm just hoping my band gets better gigs," joked the guitar-playing ex-guv, whose hobby-rock group Capitol Offense plays this afternoon at the Nicollet Island Pavilion.Hizzoner on the roof
Opulent Vodka, the high-end spirit bottled in Princeton, Minn., was quite a hit Monday night at a party headlined by Rudy Giuliani. The former New York mayor spoke briefly about terrorism to the vodka-swilling, sushi-eating, cigar-chomping crowd at r.Norman's in Minneapolis, then posed for pictures. Stuart Sutherland Sr., from North Adams, Mass., had Stuart Jr. take a picture of him with hizzoner. Later, the elder Sutherland had second thoughts. "I told Stuart that I would give him a thousand dollars to throw away the camera," Sutherland said, smiling. "He [Giuliani] is a 9/11 hero, so I honor him for that, but he and I don't see eye to eye on a few things." Of course, thinking of the grandkids, he kept the photo.
Mary Abbe, Rohan Preston and Neal Justin contributed to this column.