“She hasn’t humiliated herself,” Peggy Noonan said of Sen. Hillary Clinton, who she begged New Yorkers to vote against in last year’s Senate race.

Noonan, in D.C. on Thursday for a party celebrating her new book on Ronald Reagan, “When Character Was King,” conceded she was wrong about one thing.

“I predicted if she were elected, we’d end up bumping into each other all the time at parties, and I was wrong,” sniffed Noonan. “I haven’t seen her at a single party.”

Book party hosts Robert Higdon and Bill and Buffy Cafritz queued up in a receiving line at the Westin Fairfax Hotel to welcome their mostly Republican guests, including Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, who made a point of citing her department’s early investigation into the failing Enron pension funds. But Vice President Dick Cheney, who is embroiled in the Enron controversy over releasing White House documents to Congress, expertly skipped the line by arriving through a secured back entrance. Meanwhile, his aide Mary Matalin blew off the idea that President Bush’s ban on White House aides talking to Talk magazine (in the aftermath of a fashion spread mocking his daughters) might have helped bring about the publication’s demise.

“They had a few good issues at the beginning, but after that neither James nor I ever read it,” she said, referring to her husband, political strategist James Carville, another Democrat who didn’t make the party.