The First Ladies' Inaugural Tea is one of the hottest tickets in town during this week's gala inaugural celebration. But while there will be plenty of tea, the event just lost its First Lady. Laura Bush has opted to 'ice' the Tea because of the featured guest speaker: former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.
Lady fingers, buttered scones, and a 2.6 ton monument to Moses
By Russell D'Arby, Arts and Entertainment Correspondent
WASHINGTON, DC—During this gala inaugural week, one event has had politicos clamoring for tickets: Saturday's First Ladies' Inaugural Tea at the Renaissance Mayflower hotel.
The lucky few with a guaranteed spot on the list have been looking forward to sipping freshly-brewed tea, tucking into scones heaped with Devonshire cream and strawberries, and meeting First Lady Laura Bush, along with a very special guest: former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.
There's just one problem: the First Ladies' Inaugural Tea will have to proceed without a First Lady; Laura Bush's spokesperson says that she won't be attending the event.
Merrie Turner of Fairfax, VA, who is organizing the posh affair, says that she was told by the White House that Mrs. Bush would be stopping by for finger sandwiches and conversation. The First Lady's spokesperson, however, insists that Laura Bush never even received an invite.
While it might seem to be just another case of "she said/she said," observers insist that there is more—or Moore—to the First Lady's decision to 'ice' this tea than just a case of bungled scheduling.
2.6 tons of fun
President Bush is said to have mixed feelings about the former Alabama Chief Justice, who gained notoriety after he refused to remove a massive concrete statue of the Ten Commandments from his office.
Moore ultimately lost his robe over the standoff, and Bush then appointed his replacement, former Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor, to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. That move is infuriated Moore's supporters, as Pryor was one of the leaders of the legal effort to remove Moore from the bench.
The relationship between Moore and the president was further damaged by persistent rumors that Moore was planning to run against Bush as a third party candidate during the last election. Moore is currently contemplating a run for governor of Alabama, where polls indicate that he has a favorability rating of 72% among Alabama residents.
Thou shalt not miss this tea
Saturday's tea will be just the latest stop on Moore's ambitious travel agenda. Since losing his position as chief justice last year, Moore has traveled from state to state, addressing conservative organizations, the 2.6 ton monument to Moses in tow. There's no word on whether Moore plans to bring the statue to the Mayflower hotel, where the tea is being held.
Despite the obvious setback of losing the First Lady from the First Ladies' Inaugural Tea, organizer Turner is remaining upbeat. "We're praying she'll be with us," Turner told the Associated Press. But even if the First Lady is a no show, Turner is hoping to sell enough of the $75 per head tickets to pay for tea and scones and still have money left over to donate to Moore's legal defense fund.
Attendees will be able to buy Ten Commandments centerpieces made from red granite, Italian marble, and rock from Mount Sinai. In addition, the Ten Commandment Commemorative Tea Set and Plate Collection will also be available for sale, though it is not recommended for food use.
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