Ed Rollins Talks Presidential Politics; The 1 Percent Toasts the Good Life

We’ve gotten so used to the celebrity circus that has dominated Michael’s lately that we did a double take when we found the dining room populated mostly by suits, well-heeled ladies and dandies who prefer to let their bank accounts (not publicists) do the talking. Aside from the usual boldface names (Star Jones) and fashionistas (Fern Mallis) in attendance, there were a lot of folks at lunch today who I’d never seen in the dining room before.

I just had to go over to Table One and introduce myself to the couple who was working furiously to glam up the table with flowers and pretty trinkets before their guests arrived. It turns out Kelly Langberg was celebrating her birthday with her husband Jeff Langberg and a few of her nearest and dearest BFFs. Jeff told me all these ladies are the better halves of some of Manhattan’s most powerful couples.  The impeccably dressed gals all toasted Kelly, who calls herself  “The Makeover Queen,” with a lovely rose  in the lounge before moving to their table to celebrate. When I was chatting with Kelly about her makeover business (she refers clients to cosmetic dentists, plastic surgeons,  hair colorists and other professionals essential to living the good life in Gotham),  I couldn’t help but notice the dazzling bling that adorned her ears and wrists. When I complimented her on it, she told me the pieces were from her own line of fine jewelry. Where does she find the time?

I also got  to chat with politico Ed Rollins who specializes in a different kind of makeover. He was assistant to President Ronald Reagan and managed his reelection campaign. Earlier this year, Ed stepped down from his post as Michele Bachmann‘s campaign manager. I just had to ask what he thought of  the results of yesterday’s primary. “Santorum is for real,” he told me. “I expect Romney will get the nomination, but it’s going to be a slugfest right up until the end.” Having seen him on PBS’ recent documentary on President Bill Clinton (“I’d take either Clinton right now!”), we also chatted about the HBO political drama Game Change, based on the book by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. “I liked the book better. The movie had a deliberate purpose. That’s not the John McCain I know,” he told me. ” (Ed Harris) was too soft and fuzzy.” He did characterize Julianne Moore‘s depiction of Sarah Palin as “very accurate,” though. Ed gave the film high marks in one respect: “It caught a lot of the pace and excitement of a political campaign.” Speaking of campaigns, what does he think of President Obama‘s chances come November? “Presidents often get too much credit and too much blame for what’s happening. Right now, he’s paying the price for promising a lot of things he couldn’t deliver.”

The scene in the Michael’s dining room

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Kelly Langberg, Jeff Langberg and a table full of glamorous gals

2. Literary legends Esther Newberg and Pete Hamill

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and Liz Smith who, we were told,  had “some very important things to talk about” before they were joined by a bigwig from the University of Texas. Alrighty then.

4.  The music men: Peter Brown and Andrew Lloyd Webber

5.  Steven Swid

6.  The Imber Gang: Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina, Andy Bergman and Michael Kramer, who joined Esther Newberg at her table until his buddies arrived

8.  New York Social Diary‘s David Patrick Columbia and CNN’s Felicia Taylor

9. Fern Mallis — Have you seen her new jewelry collection for QVC? A little birdie said many of the pieces are inspired by Fern’s frequent trips to India. How chic.

10. Star Jones, who swapped her signature red dresses for an orange sheath today. Looking good!

11. Ed Rollins and former Early Show producer Steve Cohen

12. Black Ocean’s Gerry Byrne

81. Linden Alschuler & Kaplan CEO Lisa Linden with Tom Allon, president of Manhattan Media, which owns Avenue and the Hamptons’ stalwart, Dan’s Papers, among other publications.  In case you didn’t know, Tom is the Liberal Party-backed candidate for NYC’s next mayorial race.

14. Ambassador Carl Spielvogel and Donald Newhouse

15. Waheed Alli, who co-founded the television production company Planet 24 and is chairman of ASOS.com.

16. Judy Price

17. Imax’s Rich Gelfond

18.  Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s ex-CEO, Charles Koppelman

20. Thomson Reuters’ Jolie Hunt with Sara Nelson

21. Cablevision’s Tad Smith. Maybe it’s because we’re so excited Mad Men is coming back in a few weeks, but we couldn’t help but notice that Tad could pass for Don Draper’s younger — and nicer! — brother.

22. Karl Wexler

23.  Scalamandre’s sartorially splendid president, Steven Stolman, and Jack Bochonok

24. Allen & Co.’s Steve Greenberg

25. PR maven Maury Rogoff

26. Betsy Perry and Cookstr.com founder Will Schwalbe, whose new book, The End of Your Life Book Club, is getting a lot of great buzz. The book chronicles the time Will spent with his terminally ill mother, Mary Anne Schwalbe, while they read (or sometimes in Will’s case, pretended to read) books together during her hospital stay until she died in 2009.  We’re ordering our copy tonight and plan to read it with lots of Kleenex nearby.

27. Langford Pictures’ Chuck Pfeifer

29. The Wall Street Journal’s David Sanford and Lewis Stein

Please send comments and corrections to DCLEHANE at AOL dot COM and LUNCH at MEDIABISTRO dot COM.

@DianeClehane lunch@adweek.com Diane Clehane is Adweek's weekly 'Lunch' columnist.
Publish date: March 14, 2012 https://stage.adweek.com/digital/michaels-restaurant-celebrities-53/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT