Send the intern or lobbyist a drink with your regards

We’ve heard of sending flowers and chocolates, but a cocktail?

In a town that fuels itself on liquid lunches and after-work drinks, here’s a new concept for Washingtonians: a company that allows you to give drinks to anyone you choose.

“Makes for a perfect way for administrative assistants to send staffers and interns a little thank-you after passing a bill, or lobbyists to send greetings,” wrote Geoff Hatheway in an e-mail touting the concept.

Hatheway heads the company, buyyourfriendadrink.com. He joked that it could also be used for a Democrat “to send a pick-me-up to” Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).

Hatheway, who interned for Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) in 1979, said he had interns and low-paid aides in mind with this business, so he’s offering 20 percent bonuses on drink cards so recipients can get a free round of drinks. Drink cards may be sent by e-mail, text or regular mail.

Participating bars include City Tavern Club, Chi Cha Lounge, Ceviche, Gazuza, K Street Lounge, McFadden’s and The Dubliner, among others. Smith Point is “coming soon,” the site says. For more information, visit www.buyyourfriendadrink.com.
 

Candidate books Cuban band for party before scandal over Cuba trip
 
Of all the bands Mike Erickson could have chosen for his May 20 victory-night party, it had to be Cuban.

Less than three months later, the GOP candidate vying for Congress against Democrat Kurt Schrader got slammed in his hometown newspaper, the Portland Oregonian, for what he claims was a humanitarian trip to Cuba in 2004.

During the trip, the newspaper reports, Erickson visited the Tropicana Nightclub, attended Fidel Castro’s Annual Gala Cigar Dinner and Auction and was slated to go to a cockfight. Erickson’s campaign manager, Jeff Harvey, said his boss did not attend the cockfight, although it was on his itinerary.

Erickson did visit museums and the Tropicana, described by the Oregonian as a “Ricky Ricardo-style club with showgirls.”

“You have to eat at night,” Harvey reasoned.

Harvey sees nothing ironic about Erickson hiring the Cuban band for his victory party. “I wouldn’t say it’s ironic or ask him why he’d do it,” Harvey told ITK on Tuesday. “If you like a certain kind of music, you hire a band. It’s Cuban-Latin fusion-type music. I don’t think you have to be born and raised in Cuba to appreciate good Cuban music.”

Schrader’s office did not seem surprised that Erickson had hired a Cuban band. “We’re going to give the benefit of the doubt and assume that a third of the music they played was strictly for humanitarian purposes,” said Paul Gage, Schrader’s campaign manager.

As for the humanitarian mission to Cuba, Harvey said, “The fact is, the Cuban trip in 2004 was legal and it was a humanitarian effort.”

Erickson and Schrader are vying to succeed retiring Democratic Rep. Darlene Hooley. Erickson was defeated by Hooley in 2006, when he earned 45 percent of the vote.
 

Palin surpasses Paris in online searches
 
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) can officially tell Paris Hilton to eat her dust.

The GOP vice presidential candidate’s name surpassed the social heiress for the past two weeks, earning Palin the No. 1 spot on Lycos.com’s Top 50 list of most-searched terms. Hilton held the No. 1 spot for 456 weeks on the search engine, ahead of other popular terms such as YouTube and Pamela Anderson.

“To make No. 1 and pass Paris Hilton and YouTube and Pam Anderson and Britney Spears is absolutely phenomenal, especially when it’s a politician,” said Kathy O’Reilly, spokeswoman for Lycos. “That never, ever happens.”

This week Palin’s daughter, Bristol, and fiance Levi Johnston enter the list for the first time ever and are found to be more popular than Lindsay Lohan and Miley Cyrus.

The last time a politically related event or person made it to Lycos’s Top 50, which has been ranking search terms since 1999, was when President Bush and former Vice President Al Gore battled for the presidency in Florida in 2000, said O’Reilly. While both contenders made it within the Top 10, neither got close to the No. 1 spot, which was taken by the most searched-for term, “election results.”
 

Announcements
 

Wife of Rep. Levin dies
 
Rep. Sandy Levin’s (D-Mich.) wife Victoria died of breast cancer earlier this month at the age of 74.

“She had struggled for many months with metastatic breast cancer with unflagging good cheer and concern for those around her,” Levin’s office said in a release. The couple had been married for 51 years.

A service was held a week ago in Southfield, Mich., and again this week in Washington. The family sat Shiva in Michigan and in D.C.

In lieu of flowers, the Levins are requesting that friends donate to the Victoria S. Levin Fund at the Karmanos Cancer Institute, 4100 John R, Detroit, MI 48201.

Written notes may be sent to the family at 145 Georgetown Square North, Royal Oak, MI 48067 or 4801 Morgan Drive, Chevy Chase, MD 20815.

 

A conservative fairytale: Couple to wed in 2009
 
Stephen Manfredi and Rachel Ayerst came to Washington after having met as undergraduates studying American history at Quebec’s McGill University.

They went on to earn graduate degrees in American history at Ohio University.

Being conservatives is something that deeply bonds them, but it’s not the end-all of everything between them. “This isn’t a vast right-wing conspiracy,” Manfredi said. “It is true love at work. Certainly, I think our home will be more tranquil than a Carville-Matalin arrangement. Poor Mary.”

Manfredi, 29, works in the Office of Strategic Initiatives at the White House and Ayerst, 28, works in the fundraising department for the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.

The couple vacationed last week in Montana and during sunset at Glacier National Park, Manfredi presented her with an engagement ring.

Grizzly bears were in the vicinity before and after the proposal. “I think we saw eight grizzly bears while we were out there,” Manfredi said, explaining that he kept the ring wedged in his wallet throughout the adventure.

“Not that Rachel is a snoop or anything,” he joked.

The couple plans to wed in the spring of 2009, but honeymoon plans could be tricky.

He wants to explore mountains again. She prefers the Caribbean.