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Fallows tried valiantly to spark discussion among politically credentialed diners, with some relevance (Slate editor Jacob Weisberg, for example, just published "The Bush Tragedy") and some awkwardness (Alexandra Kerry, carefully worded, on the man who beat her father, and former congressman Rick Lazio — who, for those unaware, is alive and well in the private sector).
Diners — among them Charlie Rose, Tina Brown and Sir Harry Evans, Andy Borowitz and a few Rockefellers and Roosevelts — were asked to vote on their preferences and expectations in the primary and general election. Brown, who has signed on to write a book about Bill and Hillary Clinton and will be honored today with a lifetime achievement award from the Magazine Publishers of America, raised her hand in support of Hillary Clinton but, when it came to who she thought would actually win, opted for John McCain. She said she was still considering how to report out her book — as in her book on Princess Diana, Brown faces a mountain of existing volumes. "That's what I like about it," she said. "The literature about them becomes part of the story." — Irin Carmon
DELUXE MOVE: Portfolio has hired its first European correspondent. Dana Thomas, Newsweek's Paris-based European fashion and culture writer, will join the magazine on Friday. Thomas leaves Newsweek after 12 years at the magazine, and has contributed to The New Yorker, Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, The New York Times Magazine and The Washington Post during her career. The author's name has become familiar thanks to her best-selling book, "Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster," which takes a critical (and some luxury executives insist inaccurate) look at the business of high-end retailing. Thomas wasn't invited to October's Louis Vuitton show during Paris Fashion Week because chief executive Yves Carcelle was upset by her critique of LVMH chief Bernard Arnault. "He said, 'I don't like that you compared the company to McDonald's,'" Thomas explained to WWD. "I didn't say it was like McDonald's as a product, but like McDonald's in that your label is one of the most recognizable in the world." Thomas said she and Carcelle have since mended their relationship, but she will not be at this year's Vuitton show — or any shows in New York or Europe — because she will continue her book tour in New Zealand, Hong Kong and Australia. — S.D.S.