By Christina Wilkie - 03/01/11 12:11 AM EST
Answer: They will each have all-star representation Tuesday at the National Guard’s ChalleNGe Champions gala, where Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) will be the top political VIP.
Also in the mix will be Grammy Award-winning country singer Gretchen Wilson, known for her instant classic “Redneck Woman.” Kris Allen, who won “American Idol’s” eighth season, is also slated to attend.
The National Guard’s Youth ChalleNGe program helps at-risk teens develop life skills, and Landrieu has championed it ever since she arrived in Congress in 1997. According to a Landrieu spokesman, “this program combines two issues the senator cares deeply about, education and the National Guard.”
Tuesday will mark the second time that Landrieu has met Earnhardt: She first crossed paths with the racing star at the same event last year.
In an interesting political twist, Earnhardt drives for the National Guard’s NASCAR racing team, part of a U.S. military NASCAR sponsorship program that came under fire last month in the House.
A budget measure proposed by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) would have banned all military funding for NASCAR teams, which the Pentagon claims is part of its recruitment efforts. The measure was defeated, 281-148.
Tuesday’s gala will take place at the J.W. Marriott, where the National Guard’s NASCAR car will be available for victory laps (read: press tours) starting at 1 p.m.