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Sen. Durbin's Big Week

It's only Wednesday, but Sen. Dick Durbin's week has already been made, by an actor-turned Special Olympics activist who dropped by his office.

Vanessa Williams (yes, that former Miss America, the one who was dethroned on account of her posing in a porn magazine) also met briefly with the junior Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, during her romp on the Hill Tuesday, but she really bonded with Durbin, as you can see in this photo provided by Durbin's office.

Vanessa Williams and Sen. Dick Durbin
Vanessa Williams visited the office of Sen. Dick Durbin Tuesday.

And where, you ask, do the lives of Ms. Williams and Sen. Durbin intersect?

"At the crossroads of Kennedy and Hollywood," Durbin spokesman Joe Shoemaker says.

It turns out that both Durbin and Williams are good friends of Bobby Shriver, son of Kennedy in-law Sargent Shriver, who is chairman of the board of the Special Olympics. Bobby Shriver is president of RSS Inc., a Beverly Hills music and film company, and he enlisted Williams to join the Special Olympics Board after she sang on a "A Very Special Christmas" album in 1992. (The album raised more than $100 million for the Special Olympics, according to the organization.)

So that's Wiliams' connection to the Bobby Shriver, who, Shoemaker says, "was first introduced to Durbin years ago by his uncle, Ted Kennedy." Shoemaker describes Shriver as "a longtime advocate for the poor and the powerless, and often talks to Durbin about those types of policy initiatives."

Speaking of the Kennedys.... Sen. Kennedy has had a time of it the past week celebrating his 75th birthday, which included, among many mini-bashes, a gigantic party on Capitol Hill that drew more than 500 former Kennedy staffers from all five decades that Kennedy has served in the U.S. Senate.

Each class (60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s) sang a tribute to the Senator, which turned into a hard-core karaoke competition between the generations. The '60s staffers sang "Let's Toast the Bay State and Ted's victory" to the tune of "Hey Look Me Over," the '70s aides sang "70s with Teddy" to the tune of Franki Valli's "My Eyes Adored You," the '80s folks just sang "Simply Irresistible" Robert Palmer style, the '90s gang belted out "Still The One," and the new generation sang a ditty about the "corridors of Russell" -- the Russell Senate Office Building -- to the tune of "From the Halls of Montezuma."

By Mary Ann Akers  |  February 28, 2007; 4:48 PM ET
 
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