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

If 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

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.”