WASHINGTON – Jessica Simpson loves President Bush. She's just not a big fan of Republican fundraisers.
The Hollywood starlet and tabloid cover girl was on Capitol Hill Thursday to lobby Congress for Operation Smile, an organization that provides reconstructive surgery to children with facial deformities. But all anyone wanted to know was why she turned down an invitation to attend a Republican fundraiser with Washington's top star -- Bush.
"We went back and forth and we could never get the details worked out," said her father and manager Joe Simpson. "When it became obvious that it was not just a state dinner, it was more of a fundraising event, that is the wrong purpose of why we are here."
Still, he said of the president, "We are huge fans of him and of his family, his girls. Jessica loves the heck out of him."
In fact, he said they were still trying to squeeze in a meeting with the chief executive. "We are trying to get in and out," he said.
Jessica Simpson is best known for the MTV reality show "Newlyweds" with now-estranged husband Nick Lachey and for her denim-cutoff role in the movie "The Dukes of Hazzard."
The actress, who refused to comment on the fundraiser, is to head back to New Mexico Thursday to resume shooting of a movie, "Employee of the Month," according to her publicist Rob Shuter.
Rep. Tom Reynolds, R-N.Y., chairman of the GOP campaign committee hosting the fundraiser, said the group had hoped Simpson would attend.
"I know my daughter's a fan. She's a celebrity that was going to come. Now she's a celebrity that is not," Reynolds told reporters.
Asked about Simpson's absence from the GOP dinner, House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters: "You know, I really feel like I got bagged."