Yesterday was the long day of Ben Affleck, politician. No longer satisfied just to be a movie star, Affleck — fresh from his Bennifer experience and ready to move on — stumped like a professional all day.
But the crowning achievement of his long day had to have been the greeting he received from Vanessa Kerry, daughter of the presumptive Democratic nominee, around midnight at Boston's hottest hotspot, 15 Beacon.
Affleck had been chatting on a banquette with a pretty brunette Kerry campaign worker, hidden from view of a raging party by Kerry security guards who were making sure no one could talk to him.
But suddenly the guards parted and a pretty blonde was all over Affleck, who rose to standing position quickly. Their embrace did not seem political, yet this kind of clinch was the sort that Walter Winchell, in his legendary column, would describe as "thisclose."
Me, I was too stupid to notice all this at first after my own long day of hearing about Affleck's various activities around town. At Ted Kennedy's concert and dinner at Symphony Hall, it was Ben who made a surprise appearance. He delivered a formal coat to the senator so Kennedy could conduct the orchestra.
Earlier in the day, Affleck had given a press conference at a bowling party. In between, he taped a session for "Good Morning America" in which he interviewed the senator. It will air Thursday or Friday.
So maybe he was just exhausted and unable to control himself when Vanessa Kerry, luscious blonde hair flowing, dramatically threw herself into his waiting arms late last night. The conversation that followed was spirited, animated and certainly personal.
Does Affleck have his eye set on one of the guest bedrooms at the White House? I don't know, because before I could figure out what was going on, his publicist snapped at me.
"This is all off the record," he said. "The whole conversation. I know you're eavesdropping."
If only I had been! Believe me, I would have told you every word.
"What?" I said. "Who?"
The publicist continued: "With Vanessa, Vanessa Kerry!"
Soon after, Affleck departed the party, leaving Vanessa to pal around with her pals including brunette sister Alex, another looker and definitely the inheritor of her father's candid approach with the press.
"This is a gin and tonic," she said, pointing to her glass, "my first drink in a long time. I don't care who knows it."
Listen, she deserved it.
Former Texas Gov. Ann Richards turned up as the keynote speaker earlier last night at a cocktail party given by a law firm called Piper Rudnick. One of the firm's partners, Bren Simon, was the chief hostess.
The people in the room at the Four Seasons Hotel — a regular Hanoi Hilton for VIPs during the convention — were really, really rich. I don't know if they were rich as Republicans, but they were sure trying to impress each other.
I ran into some New Yorkers, including Patricia Duff (-Medavoy-Perelman), who was on her way to Symphony Hall and the Kennedy evening, and New York Observer writer Joe Conason.
There were Goodales and Patricofs, and the omnipresent Arianna Huffington. The roast beef was excellent, by the way.
Governor Richards is a good old gal who knows how to tell a story with her homey drawl. She is so charming that even her critics melt in her presence.
I don't want to ruin the joke she told me, but it had to do with rural education and people speaking their native languages in school rather than English.
One man, Richards said, declared: "If English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me!"
She added, as a punch line: "There are still people in the South who think Jesus spoke English."
Our very own Bill O'Reilly was brave enough to sit on a panel yesterday afternoon with a bunch of liberals.
He got booed, but he loved it, and he held his own. I think he won over some fans, as well. (His Michael Moore interview last night on "The O'Reilly Factor" was excellent, I thought.)
Bill was surrounded by the aforementioned Arianna Huffington, actress Alfre Woodard, actor/directors Tony Goldwyn and Alan Cumming, and two Congresspeople — Tennessee's Harold Ford and Louise Slaughter of New York.
Former HUD director Andrew Cuomo moderated, and several actors filled the seats, including Jerry Stiller, Billy Baldwin, Richard Schiff (of "The West Wing"), Wendie Malick and the estimable Ellen Burstyn.
The discussion about arts education in public schools was sponsored by the Creative Coalition, the bipartisan group headed by Goldwyn and Joe Pantoliano.
The CC took over the Sports Club/LA for the entire afternoon, in fact, first with the panel and then with a tribute to Louisiana senator John Breaux. Sports Club members worked out in the adjoining weight room; I'm told Caroline Kennedy was exercising while the discussion raged.
Caroline's cousin, Chris Lawford, was in the meantime busily filming the proceedings for a documentary he's producing with his 17-year-old son David called "Legacy."
Robert Smigel, "Saturday Night Live"'s Wunderkind, was also there filming a mockumentary starring his famous hand puppet, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.
Later, at the Breaux cocktail event, I spotted producer Lawrence Bender and CC director Robin Bronk. The latter has provided the main entertainment at this convention, a yeoman task not be undervalued.
Also seen in and around the Fleet Center yesterday: actor Rob Reiner with Billy Crystal. And let's not forget "O.C." star Benjamin McKenzie, as well as Jerry Springer.
For juxtaposition purposes only, Fox's Eric Shawn did point out to me the historic and surreal meeting, right in front of our little suite, of two juniors: Jimmy Hoffa, Jr. and Jesse Jackson, Jr.
Star of the day: Barack Obama, Democratic candidate for the Senate from Illinois. His speech was unanimously hailed up and down the media suites, and even in the most skeptical corners and crevices of the Fleet Center. A star is born.