Politico Party at the Corcoran: Bear Phobia, Frosty Martini Drinker and Holiday Cheer

Politico Publisher Robert Allbritton, wife, Elena, and COO Kim Kingsley

The boogeying bear that freaked out the partygoer for no apparent reason.

Bill Press with wife, Carol, and the martini in the right glass.

There’s nothing like a big white bear bopping around a polished space drenched in red to get people talking. If that doesn’t work, there’s handmade chocolates and booze.

All were in abundance at Politico‘s “Night Cap” at the Corcoran Gallery of Art Wednesday night to toast the holidays. The bear was courtesy of Coca Cola, which sponsored the party.

As with all Washington parties, things started out sedate and looked fairly normal on the surface. The question had to be asked: Where’s VandeHarris? For the first 30 minutes no one could tell me. “Who knows?” was the response, eye roll (eye roll at my question, not likely Executive Editor Jim VandeHei and Editor-in-Chief John Harris). VandeHei soon turned up and quickly remarked, “My wife said when I’m drinking vodka I can’t talk to the press.” He walked off, laughing. Harris wasn’t there. Never fear, Politico‘s Mike Allen was in attendance and up to his usual party host role. “Thank you for coming!” he beamed, employing the line he says at all parties around Washington, Politico sponsored or not.

Early on, lefty radio host Bill Press turned frosty when his martini came in a short, fat tumbler as opposed to an elegant frosted martini glass. “Is this a martini?” he asked. The vodka was poured into the martini glass and voila, a martini. (We reminisced about the hot dogs he said made him sick on Amtrak. Need a refresher? Read here and here.)

Behaving badly was not an option in this opulent scene. It was a jacket and tie be at your best sort of affair. Publisher Robert Allbritton was spotted mingling with his wife, Elena. He doesn’t appear to be the partygoer who ferociously works the room. He’s nonetheless amiable upon approach.

Among the funnier moments of the evening involved that bear. It seems President of Raptor Strategies David Bass has a minor phobia. “I hate when stuffed animals start to shake my hand,” he told those in his midst. Bass was especially weirded out when the bear began boogying down around him. “It started to really stress me out,” he said.

For a moment, forget the goofy bear. If Politico ever needs a 3 a.m. infomercial, Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood, who was there with his wife, Kathy, is their Billy Mayes (the late Mayes of Kaboom infomercial fame). “I think everyone in Washington is here,” LaHood said. When asked about Politico he gushed, “I think it’s one of the best publications in the country. Everyone reads ’em.” But he wasn’t finished. “They have the best writers, everybody reads Playbook. I like Mike Allen. I like Jim VandeHei. I think it’s the number 1 newspaper around Washington.” Without even being asked, he dispelled any notion that Politico skims the surface of stories, insisting, “They get in the weeds on things.”

Toward the evening’s end, voices got slurry and stopped making a whole lot of sense. One male partygoer was overheard at the bar saying, “These things always make me so obnoxious.”

Who attended the party? More pictures and names after the jump…

Politico’s Patrick Gavin and GQ’s Ana Marie Cox.

Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood with wife, Kathy, and spokeswoman Jill Zuckman.

Jonathan Kaplan and Politico’s Charles Hoskinson and Manu Raju.

Chicago Sun Times and Politics Daily’s Lynn Sweet and Politico’s Gavin.

Politico’s Roger Simon sandwiched between wife and Kathryn Kross.

Jim VandeHei’s mother-in-law (mother to Autumn VandeHei)

VandeHei, Allen and Rep. Walden

Politico: Publisher Robert Allbritton and wife, Elena, Executive Editor Jim Vandehei and his mother-in-law, COO Kim Kingsley, Mike Allen, Ken Vogel, Charles Hoskinson, Manu Raju, Andy Glass, Kasie Hunt, Patrick Gavin, Roger Simon and wife, Jonathan Martin and former Politico reporter and now a media consultant Anne Schroeder Mullins, and Kim Kingsley. Other journos: AP‘s Chuck Babington, ABC’s Jonathan Karl, NBC MTP Executive Producer Betsy Fischer, RealClearPolitics’s Erin McPike, WaPo‘s Chris Cillizza, CBS’s Kaylee Hartung, C-SPAN’s Steve Scully, Chicago Sun Times Bureau Chief and Politics Daily’s FLOTUS writer Lynn Sweet, GQ‘s Ana Marie Cox and lefty radio host Bill Press and wife, Carol.

Political types: D.C. premier lawyer Bob Bennett, Rep. Greg Waldon (R-Ore.), Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif.) press secretary Kurt Bardella, Brad Dayspring, Jack and Susanna Quinn, Kate Middleton, Podesta Group Chairman Tony Podesta, Special Asst. at the State Dept. Jonathan Kaplan, Scott Mulhauser, RNC Chairman Michael Steele’s Spokesman Doug Heye, Singer Bonjean Strategies Partner Ron Bonjean and wife, Sara, American Beverage Assoc. Comm. Dir. Chris Gindlesperger, President and CEO of Raptor Strategies David Bass, Energy Sec. Steven Chu’s Deputy Director of Public Affairs Tom Reynolds and publicist Tammy Haddad.

Lawmakers: Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood, wife, Kathy, and spokeswoman Jill Zuckman, outgoing Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) and Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.).