Donors left at altar for Clinton wedding
So, just what does it take to score an invitation to the hottest — not to mention most secretive — political wedding of the summer?
More than a cross-country ride on a private jet, apparently.
“I’m good enough to borrow a plane from, but not good enough to be invited to the wedding?” complained one Clinton friend, who remembered the times he handed over his jet and his pilot to take Bill Clinton around the country but who had not landed a coveted invitation to Chelsea Clinton’s upcoming nuptials.
Next Saturday, Clinton, 30, and her fiance, Marc Mezvinsky, 32, are expected to marry in Rhinebeck, N.Y., where they will make their young romance official. But not everyone these days is feeling the love.
While most friends and acquaintances of the former president and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton say they understand that the wedding is a private affair of only 400 or so guests, all with a direct connection to the bride or bridegroom, some are privately grumbling about just who made the cut. And the affair has left donors, supporters, aides and even true A-listers wondering just how inside the inner circle they really are.
“Would people who said they were close to the Clintons and not invited feel bad? Sure,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a political consultant who worked on Clinton’s presidential re-election in 1996 (and who, for the record, wasn’t invited). But with the hindsight of 30 years in politics, he added: “It is dangerous to presume closeness to people in power, and it is very rare when there are real, unbreakable friendships.”
Sheinkopf stressed that the Clintons have always done a good job of guarding their daughter’s privacy.
“This is not another meeting of power for those who want to get close to the former president to figure out what they can get out of him, or the secretary of state,” he said.
“Either you are a friend or you’re not, and friends are defined at different levels,” he added. “Anyone who knows the Clintons knows that lobbying will do no good.”
But that has not stopped some people from trying, especially political supporters and fundraisers with a sense of entitlement born from years of bundling checks.
“I’m sure there are some people who are lobbying discreetly,” said someone who has known the Clintons for decades. “If they’re on the list, they will ballyhoo it quietly, and if they’re not on the list, their noses will be out of joint. I know some people whose noses are out of joint.” (Like most FOBs — Friends of Bill — the person did not want to be quoted by name, swearing by the wedding’s code of silence.)
“You know, when I heard about it, I was hoping to be invited,” said John Catsimatidis, who owns the Red Apple Group and Gristedes Foods supermarkets and has raised several million dollars for the Clintons. “But when it’s only two weeks from the wedding and you don’t get an invitation, you know you’re not invited.”
After trying to play the Washington parlor game of the moment — “Was Alan Patricof invited?” he asked, referring to a fellow ardent Clinton supporter — Catsimatidis played the game’s second stage: rationalization. He said he did not feel too bad because “it’s a small affair, and it’s Chelsea’s friends.”
And that has become the mantra for the uninvited: It’s no biggie.
“I wouldn’t use the word ‘hard feelings,’” Catsimatidis said. “I’d use the word ‘maybe a little disappointed,’ but not ‘hard feelings.’”
The Astor Courts estate in Rhinebeck, N.Y., is the expected the site next weekend for Chelsea Clinton’s wedding to Marc Mezvinsky, but those in the know on the nuptials’ details are mostly mum.