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Wednesday, June 24, 2009  A cast party in D.C.

Family ties

Speaking of famous family names, we ran into an Eisenhower this past weekend, as in Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, on the Sequoia, the legendary presidential yacht.

Although the Sequoia was decommissioned in the 1970s by President Carter as a government spending cut, the boat is still used for special functions, and in this case was anchored at National Harbor for a fundraiser for Luke's Wings, a local nonprofit that flies family members of wounded soldiers abroad to be with their loved ones while they convalesce.

Ms. Eisenhower, who is an expert on U.S.-Russian relations and is president of the consulting firm the Eisenhower Group, seemed right at home on the boat. After all, she said, "I have been on the Sequoia a number of times - during the Nixon years at a cruise they gave for Prince Charles and Princess Anne and on several other, informal evenings over the years."

But on this night, Ms. Eisenhower was not there to brush shoulders with royalty or high rollers, but with veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan whose families have been helped by Luke's Wings.

"I try to do anything I can to support our troops. All of us need to do what we can to thank them for their commitment and their sacrifices," she said.

Ms. Eisenhower did, however, ruffle some feathers last year when she left the party of her grandfather and endorsed then-candidate Barack Obama for president. "I was in Normandy when the president spoke. I talked to him then," she said of her contact with the commander in chief. Could an Eisenhower be joining the administration, perhaps? What would the general think of that?