John McCaslin

That was Tweed Roosevelt, Boston businessman and great-grandson of President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt, catching the new Sean Penn-directed movie "Into the Wild" on Saturday night with his stepmother, Ambassador Selwa "Lucky" Roosevelt, chief of protocol of the U.S. during the Ronald Reagan years of 1982 to 1989.

The son of the late career-CIA officer Archibald Bulloch Roosevelt Jr., Mr. Roosevelt told us that his great-grandfather's spirit of adventure was passed along to him. He's busy starting businesses in China through his Roosevelt China Investments, and 15 years ago spent his 50th birthday in the Brazilian rain forest floating down the same intimidating "River of Doubt" (renamed "Rio Roosevelt") that his great-grandfather explored in 1914. The 1992 expedition was made into a television documentary.

Mrs. Roosevelt, apart from tasks like restoring Blair House, presided over countless state visits during her seven years as White House gatekeeper. In fact, her memoir is titled "Keeper of the Gate." She remains busy today supporting, among other interests, the Washington National Opera, and she was event chairman of the WNO's 50th anniversary Golden Gala in 2006.

As for politics, we didn't have to ask Mrs. Roosevelt, a Republican, what candidate she won't be supporting in the 2008 presidential election. After all, who can forget one closing observation in her memoir that a woman, at least in the White House post she once held, can never be "one of the boys."

Optimistic sort

"Forget about 'swing voters' — even die-hard Republicans are running away from their party."

Or so insists a confident Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, after reading a report that more than one-third of President Bush's largest fundraisers have yet to support a candidate in the Republican Party's primary. And there's only a little more than a year to go.

When in Washington

It was Italian fare over the weekend for the Russian delegation attending the never-dull International Monetary Fund meetings in Washington.

The group of 41 lunched in the new private "Media Room" at popular K Street restaurant Teatro Goldoni, among them Russia's Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin and Ambassador to the U.S. Yuriy Viktorovich Ushakov.

It was difficult to determine whether Mr. Kudrin was discussing the global credit crisis or the value of the ruble with colleagues, given they conversed in Russian. What we do know is that the Russian finance minister has a healthy appetite, dining on arugula salad, ravioli with veal and portabello mushrooms, grilled rib-eye steak and mixed berries with zabaglione and wine.

Red-eye salute

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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