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Stacks O’ Love

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is off in an undisclosed (but no doubt romantic) location this week honeymooning with his bride, Nancy Bass. The Senate welcomed its newest spouse to the chamber Thursday evening with a small celebration in the Johnson Room of the Capitol.

Let’s hope the “wedding cake incident” at the party didn’t foreshadow the kind of luck Wyden is having on his honeymoon. The miniature groom on the cake kept toppling over. Each time, someone would pick the little fella up and put him back on the cake. As one person recalls, Wyden quipped, “It’s the story of my life. When you go down, you gotta get back up and get in the game.” [IMGCAP(1)]

Bass, 44, and Wyden, 56, were married three weekends ago in a private sunset ceremony on Cannon Beach in Oregon, followed by a reception last weekend at the Metropolitan Club in New York thrown by Bass’ parents, Fred and Pat Bass. Nancy and her father are co-owners of the famous New York bookstore, The Strand, which was founded by Fred’s father.

Wyden’s spokeswoman, Carol Guthrie, said Bass will continue running The Strand but that her rule is: “She goes where Sen.Wyden is.”

Happy trails to the newlyweds.

Where’s Dick? While guests raved about the gourmet food served at the National Review’s 50th anniversary party Thursday night, they couldn’t take their minds off who wasn’t there: Vice President Cheney. His absence dredged up the question that dominated the blogosphere in recent months: Where’s Dick?

“Not here,” was the short answer. “Scheduling conflict,” the party line.

Cheney, whose chief of staff, Scooter Libby, was under intense scrutiny in the CIA leak investigation, originally wanted to speak at 7:30 p.m., but his office called National Review party planners two days before the event and said the veep wished to speak at the very beginning of the dinner, at 7 p.m.

According to one source, Cheney’s office cited health reasons for needing to speak a half hour earlier. That person said Cheney, who two weekends ago underwent surgery to fix aneurysms in both legs, supposedly wanted to get to bed early. “I don’t know why a half-hour would have made a difference,” the source said.

National Review publisher Ed Capano told HOH there was no way the magazine could have rescheduled on such late notice. Because the vice president wanted to speak so early in the program, Secret Service security restrictions would have meant that guests who were arriving late — as they often do in Washington, D.C. — could not be seated and guests who arrived early would have to be seated immediately. “It just wouldn’t have worked for us. … We had so many special guests,” Capano said. And so many special guests who had paid big bucks for tables at the dinner.

“If we had known a week in advance we could have done something,” Capano said. “We were given two days notice and we couldn’t get in touch with a thousand people to tell them to come earlier.

Hey, but at least a thousand people had something to gossip about all night.

Reality Bites. The show may be far from a hit with the American public, but that didn’t stop Washington lobbyists from plunking down a cool $2,000 to host a viewing party for two local contestants on NBC’s “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart” last week.

The domestic diva’s new reality show, in which candidates compete at a variety of business tasks each week for the chance to earn a senior position at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, features GOP communications consultant and former aide to Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Texas) Leslie Sanchez and event planner Sarah Brennan.

“I threw a very good party,” boasted BellSouth lobbyist Troup Coronado, a longtime friend of Sanchez’s, who said he was inspired to put on the soiree Wednesday night at Lounge 201 after gauging that interest in the show was high among Capitol Hill staffers.

About 60 guests crowded into the Capitol Hill lounge’s back room to cheer on Sanchez and Brennan, take advantage of the open bar and chow on “Fancy Cakes by Leslie.”

But no, it wasn’t Sanchez making the cakes, despite the misleading name of the company.

“The best thing about being on the show is that now my friends think I can cook,” quipped Sanchez, adding, as she leaned over to sneak a bite: “My friends think I made this cake.”

Brennan and Sanchez’s team won that night (which earned them a meeting at the swanky New York restaurant Jean-Georges with The Donald and Melania Trump), so they’ll be back for future episodes.

As for how long they survive, they’re sworn (and contractually bound) to secrecy.

“This is really an endurance race,” Sanchez said. “You have to watch every week.”

Bree Hocking contributed to this report.

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