By Eddie Scarry and Betsy Rothstein
The New Republic celebrated its relaunch last night at Bibiana Restaurant where politicos and journalists from print and TV mingled with bigwigs like Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.J.) and Americans for Tax Reform Prez Grover Norquist over hors d’oeuvres and an open bar. The highlight of the evening: Answering the question, “Who is Franklin Foer?”
Meanwhile, we spoke to Publisher and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, who was all smiles and relaxed. “I’m feeling super exited, energized,” he said, as we cornered him at the bar. “It’s a big moment for us.” Asked if he’s been sleeping, he replied, “I will sleep tonight.”
At around 7:30 p.m. FishbowlDC approached a man with glasses who we mistook for NYT‘s Nate Silver. We were all ready to ask if he was excited to be in the same room as Politico‘s Dylan Byers, who during the presidential election questioned whether Silver was a “one-term celebrity.”
The mystery man in question had a laugh with two other male attendees before denying that he was Silver. Except then he said he was Silver. Then said he wasn’t. Then someone else said he was. Finally, he identified himself as Franklin Foer, editor of TNR (pictured above). But by that point, we didn’t believe that either.
After consulting Google images, it was revealed that he was indeed Foer. It was our mistake, though Foer did acknowledge that he shares “some Semitic features” with Silver.
In a party speech, Hughes said the challenge ahead is to “produce a magazine 20 times a year that is as good” as the relaunch issue, which features an interview with President Obama. He called the TNR team “the best in the business” and said he wants the magazine to “become financially sustainable in the coming years.” In a moment that drew audible awes from the crowd, he admitted, “The day that Frank Foer agreed to come back to TNR was one of the best days of my life.”
Who showed up? See more pictures. Notables: NYT Deputy Washington Bureau Chief Carl Hulse, WSJ‘s very pregnant Carol Lee, former Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif), Dir. of the Nat. Economic Council under President Obama, Gene Sperling, WaPo‘s Ezra Klein with an elderly woman on his arm; Slate‘s standoffish Dave Weigel and Matt Yglesias; Atlantic Media Senior VP of Global Communications Linda Douglass and her husband, John Phillips, CNN’s Gloria Borger; NBC’s Luke Russert; former White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton; Politico‘s Dylan Byers; TNR‘s Biggest FishbowlDC Fan EVER Ryan Kearney; WCP Editor Mike Madden, National Journal President Bruce Gottlieb.
Quotables: “You’re welcome to speak to me when spoken to.”– Sassy attendee recounting a story to a friend who appeared to be enthralled in the subject. “It’s like salmon moving upstream.” — A partygoer caught in a bottleneck situation between the foyer and the main party space. And another: “We’ve been herded.”
The gentleman we thought was Franklin Foer, in the beige suit. As you can see, a sliver of the real Foer is to the left.
Atlantic’s Linda Douglass and former Rep. Jane Harman warmly greet each other.
Slate’s Weigel mingling. A rare moment when he’s not tweeting something.
Schumer, Hughes, head leaning in.