Bette Midler, Blythe Danner and Chris Noth’s Advice for President Obama

1003_mockup.gifIf you felt the tremors in midtown around noon, it’s because 55th and Fifth nearly buckled under the weight of all the star power at Michael’s today. Between the Hollywood A-listers (Bette Midler, Blythe Danner, Kate Capshaw),  Democratic dynamos (Kerry Kennedy, Betsy Gotbaum) and talking heads (Star Jones), I was getting a serious case of whiplash trying to keep track of it all.

Just when I thought the crowd had settled in, I spied Chris Noth sitting alone at the bar, and I just couldn’t resist going over for a quick chat. While Julianna Marguilies‘ errant TV husband on The Good Wife waited for his pal, producer Fred Zollo, to arrive, I got him to weigh in on the show’s headline-making sex scenes. “Network television can’t go where cable does, but I did do a scene where we showed just enough oral sex in a bathroom while cable news played in the background,” Chris told me. How could we forget? “That stuff gets people talking, I guess.” Yup.

This season, while his co-star Archie Panjabi steams up the screen, his character is trying for a shot at redemption and is running for governor. “I have no idea whether or not he wins,” says Chris. The ardent Democrat tells me he has no interest in running for office himself. “I’m not one of those actors. All my skeletons are out of the closet!” He does, however, have a keen interest in who wins this year’s presidential election. “A lady on the subway asked me to take a picture with me, and I told her I would as long she voted Democrat!” When I told Chris I was lunching with Robert Zimmerman,  a Democratic National Committee member from New York and one of the party’s top fundraisers, he perked up. “I have a line I want to give him for President Obama! Can you introduce me?” I was only too happy to oblige.

When I brought Chris over to my table to meet Robert and another smart, savvy Democratic booster, producer Joan Gelman, he told Robert, “I’ve got something for Obama: A half truth is the same as a complete lie, and we’re not even hearing half truths from Romney. You ought to pass this along for the Obama circle for  the debate.” Robert assured Chris he would get his comment to the president’s handlers.  When Chris went off to his own table, Robert said, “They ought to take his advice; he’s got a higher approval rating than both parties.”

Chris Noth and Diane Clehane
Chris Noth and Diane Clehane

I couldn’t wait to talk about the president’s shockingly bad debate performance with my lunch dates. “It was the worst performance since Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty in Ishtar, said Robert. Joan wholeheartedly agreed. “There was no excuse, but the other candidate was lying through his teeth! I think there should be lie detectors at these debates!” Robert also weighed in on the post-debate coverage with this insight: “I think the Democrats blaming (moderator) Jim Lehrer is as reprehensible as the Republicans attacking the media. The Democrats have to stop debating the debate, get out of therapy, roll up their yoga mats and focus on winning this election.”

We all agreed that in order to win what is sure to be one of the closest elections in history, it is imperative that President Obama give a knockout performance in the next debate scheduled for October 16 at Hofstra University. “Obama has to clearly define his vision for the future,” says Robert. “He has to put it to Governor Romney directly. If the president doesn’t do well, the third debate won’t be important. The next debate will be a defining moment in the campaign.” Joan, who is off to Portsmouth, New Hampshire to work on the campaign in the week leading up to the election put it this way: “He has to focus on the fact that Romney is a liar. I tell people, especially rich people who vote with their pocketbooks, that I don’t care how much money you plan on leaving your grandchildren, they won’t have the freedoms to do what they want to with it.”

Speaking of money: “Every dollar raised and every door that’s knocked on is absolutely essential,” says Robert of the all-out effort needed by the democrats in these final weeks leading up to the election. Both these passionate Dems told me they are also greatly concerned about voter suppression. “It’s not only diabolical but pathetic that (the Republicans) have to go to these lengths,” says Joan. “It’s not just about who shows up, but who is denied voting in this election,” says Robert. For more on Robert’s insider view of the presidential race, tune into Lou Dobbs’ show on Fox News tonight at 7 p.m., on CNN Saturday at 9 a.m. and on Joy Behar’s new show for Current TV next week.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1.  Kim McCarty, presiding over a Hollywood-on-the-Hudson power lunch with Bette Midler, Blythe Danner, producer Desiree Gruber, Patty Smyth (Mrs. John McEnroe), photographer Pamela Hansen and AOL’s Jolie Hunt.

2. Producer Fred Zollo and Chris Noth who, it should be noted, turned the most heads among today’s celeb-laden crowd.

3. Investigation Discovery’s head honcho, Henry Schleiff, and Kerry Kennedy

4.  Oscar-winning producer Sherry Lansing and literary legend Boaty Boatwright

5. Piers Morgan Tonight‘s executive producer, Jonathan Wald, with a distinguished gent we didn’t recognize. My fingers are still scorched from the less than glowing profile of Piers in the new issue of Vanity Fair.

6. Alpha Media executive vice chair Jack Kliger, enjoying some red wine with two pals

7. Stylista Julie Macklowe who is rocking some serious couture on the cover of the latest issue of Quest. The mind reels when I even begin to think about what her closet might look like.

8. New York Social Diary‘s David Patrick Columbia and a lovely blonde lady we didn’t get to meet

9.  Star Jones with an equally well-dressed gal pal

11. Accessories maven Mickey Ateyeh with New York City Center president Tim Landi (Nice to meet you!)

Joan Gelman, Robert Zimmerman and Diane Clehane

12.  Robert Zimmerman, Joan Gelman and yours truly

14. Ed Adler and Stu Zakim

15. Travel agent-to-the-chic-set Alexandre Chemla

16. Barry Frey , Ardy Khazaei and Alix Partners’ Chris Lederer

81. Leslie Stevens and Barbara Lee Diamonstein Spielvogel

17.The Municipal Art Society’s Vin Cipolla. Act Two: Kate Capshaw and Dreamworks Studios’ Kristie Macosko-Krieger. Mrs. Steven Spielberg slipped in after the crowd was going full tilt, but she did stop to exchange air kisses with the Malibu set at Table One. Her gorgeous, dove grey Hermes Birkin bag caught my eye before I realized who was carrying it!

18. William Morris’ Ken Slotnick and Oprah’s favorite interior designer, Nate Berkus

19. G7’s Jane Hartley

20. Freddie Friedman

21. Kent Karsonen and Betsy Gotbaum

22. Heidi Roberts

23. Mediabistro’s Chris Ariens and BizBash’s David Adler

24. Nick E. Rubinstein

25. PR guru Tom Goodman and Maxim‘s president Ben Madden and editor Dan Bova

26. Louis Vuitton’s Nancy Murray

27. The dashing Chuck Pfeiffer

28. The Wall Street Journal‘s Anthony Cenname

29. Wednesday Martin (Joel Moser‘s better half)

In the Garden Room: People magazine’s Liz McNeil… A fun foursome: My good pal, PR maven Judy Twersky, her associate Jennifer Bristol, HGTV’s Brian Balthazar (Congrats on getting your own show!), and former New York Post scribe who now toils for Adam Buckman.

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