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SCOTT BROWN RESPONDS: The Republican beauty contest to find a candidate buff enough to run against President Obama in 2012 got hands-on and personal Wednesday night at Wayne and Lea Berman’s Washington book party for freshman Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts. No one doubts Brown is the best-looking candidate in the pack, especially not since his 2009 nude centerfold in Cosmo. But is he too green to dominate the world stage? “I was for Mitt Romney last time around,” said real estate developer and former ambassador Stuart Bernstein, who, when pressed, wondered about Brown’s foreign policy experience. Brown, who arrived late because of votes in the Senate, was quick to take up the challenge. “What do you mean, no foreign affairs experience? I’ve been in the military for 30 years, and that’s more than President Obama can say, no offense,” he shot back.
Also on hand were hard-core political junkies Salem al-Sabah, the Kuwait ambassador, and his wife, Rima, who hugged the inside track till 9:30 p.m., listening to Brown and his wife, Gail Huff, who works as a part-time special projects reporter for D.C.’s ABC affiliate WJLA, huddle with Haley Barbour supporter Scott Reed and Romney boss Ron Kaufman.
Even hostess Lea Berman’s gal pal network of former White House social secretaries strutted their political muscle. Gahl Burt, Ronald Reagan’s former White House social secretary, who raised serious money for Senator John McCain’s failed bid against Obama, joined the crowd with Ann Stock, who manages the Fulbright program for her longtime mentor, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. One social secretary who didn’t make the party was Jeremy Bernard, the President’s third. “I didn’t invite him because I haven’t met him yet,” said Berman, who served in George W. Bush’s White House. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”
— SUSAN WATTERS