Quite A Party For Release Of McAuliffe's "What A Party!"

If you didn't get an invite, you've still got a few hours to find a ticket to the 50th-birthday and book party for Democratic activist, fundraising maestro, and party organizer Terry McAuliffe. Why bother? It looks to be the glitziest shindig of its kind ever. Some 700 Washington bigs--even us--have been invited, and, no surprise, few haven't RSVP'd. The crowd will include Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and a host of other politicians and reporters as well as even a few controversial figures McAuliffe remains fiercely loyal to, like former Clinton national security adviser Sandy Berger. And we wouldn't be surprised if President Clinton appeared too in some fashion.

It's a big event for a couple of reasons. First, McAuliffe is hugely popular, was the party chief before Howard Dean, and is one of the Democrats' best fundraisers. But it also will act as his book party for the new "What A Party! My Life Among Democrats: Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators, and Other Wild Animals."

And finally, it marks the reopening of the renovated Park Hyatt Washington. The eats and treats look to be spectacular. The hotel's popular Blue Duck Tavern plans to showcase "tempting cuisine" of regional and local foods. And get this: For his birthday cake, they are baking an apple pie/cake made of three different kinds of apples and apple cream that is formed into a cake then drizzled with caramel. Yum. Then there will be the treats inside the "Triple C" suite: coffee, chocolate by Christopher Bloom, and Hennessy Cognac including XO on the Rock, Paradis, and exclusive Richard, aged 200 years and retailing for $1,300 to $2,500 a bottle.

By Paul Bedard