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Lunch: Hillary—Obama Smackdown!

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— DIANE CLEHANE

Bill Clinton isn’t the only one who is getting a little testy about the endlessly long and increasingly tabloid-y battle for the democratic nomination. At today’s lunch, politics were on the menu as supporters of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama took sides over their Cobb Salads. Our unofficial dining room poll finds Obama holding a commanding lead. Producer Joan Gelman — between commuting from Canada where her show Triple Sensation is going great guns — has taken to handing out her very own campaign buttons. “I do one for every election,” she told us. Her latest creation got lots of attention at a party at Tina Brown‘s recently when ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong arrived wearing one. It boasts a picture of President George Bush and John McCain in an embrace and is emblazoned with the words — Four More Years. Here’s the punch line: There’s a question mark at the end of the phrase. Joan was handing them out today (thanks!) and people were gobbling them up like mad. A few tables down, the exchange at David Patrick Columbia ‘s regular perch between David (a Hillary booster — “I just don’t know why she is the subject of so much hate”), Charlie Scheips and Terry Allen Kramer (decidedly not a fan) rivaled the dust ups on Sunday morning on The McLaughlin Group. But it was all in good fun. Isn’t it always?

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. One big happy family: Michael’s wife Kim McCarty and kids Clancy and Chas with Martin von Haselberg and daughter Sophie. The families’ friendship goes back 30 years, says Michael. To wit: a painting of Martin (done by Kim) hangs in the reception area of the restaurant. There was plenty to celebrate all around: Clancy just graduated from NYU last week, Chas is starting his first year at Bard and Sophie is at Yale. Impressive! We were hoping that Martin’s wife — none other than Bette Midler — would join the party but, said Michael, she was rehearsing for her eagerly anticipated Las Vegas show (the family leaves for the desert tomorrow). Knock ‘em dead, Bette!

2. Peter Brown.

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and yours truly. The Mayor was the subject of a glowing New York Times piece last week which bore more than a passing resemblance to this column. But imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, isn’t it?

4. Phil Smith and agent extraordinaire Ron Konecky.


5. Terry Allen Kramer, Jon Hart and a gent whose name escapes us…

6. Jerry Della Femina, Dr. Gerrry Imber and Andy Berger.

7. Marilyn Crawford and a casually clad young gal sporting flip flops.

8. David Patrick Columbia of New York Social Diary and pal Charlie Scheips.

9. Patricia Duff and my pal the lovely Dayle Haddon (Nice to hear our weekly ‘Lunch’ dispatches keep you plugged in when you’re traveling to the ends of the Earth…)

11. Glamour editrix Cindi Leive looking like a cover gal for her own magazine in a stunning yellow sheath and sky high Christian Louboutins with GMA host Robin Roberts who dazzled the dining room in her chic suit, short ‘do and killer leopard pumps. You go girl!

12. Today‘s Al Roker, who was stopped by a squadron of fans on his way in and gamely chatted with them before joining his producer Jackie Olensky and Lauren Kapp, who is on leave from NBC until mid-August. This yummy mummy looked fab having given birth to second son Jasper a mere six weeks ago. Take that, J.Lo!

14. Two titans: Nelson Peltz and Stanley Jaffe.

15. Michael J. Wolf

16. Nick Verbitsky with his wife Bonnie Verbitsky and some pals.

17. Jerry Inzerillo and Maureen Reidy.

18. The indomitable Evelyn Lauder and two gal pals.

20. Joan Gelman and legendary book editor Lisa Drew, who we hear, was a great pal of Jackie O.

21. Quest Chris Meigher and Judy Price.

24. Francine LeFrak with Ileen Maisel, a producer at New Line. The former Angelino, who now makes her home in London, says she’s at Claridge’s every day for breakfast. So the next time you’re traveling across the pond stop in and say hello…

25. Jared Norris.

26. Gerry Byrne.

27. CAA’s Lee Gabler.

Please send comments and corrections to DianeClehane AT mediabistro Dot com and lunch at mediabistro DOT com.

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