His cause is a non-partisan political initiative for the 18-30 set, but the World Wrestling Entertainment champ will leave no one guessing about his own leanings.
Though urban Democratic consultants like to joke that "the only talent the GOP can lasso is Wayne Newton and Bo Derek," it couldn't be further from the truth. It's just that, by way of Layfield's example, things here are about to get a little bit country.
Faith Hill, ZZ Top, Martina McBride, the Marshall Tucker Band, Sara Evans, Lee Ann Womack, Jonny Lang, the Charlie Daniels Band and .38 Special are all lined up to play at various locales during the New York convention. Pat Boone will be on hand for a few parties, too.
Friday morning, Hill's hubby, Tim McGraw, nearly caused a traffic jam just stepping out of the Bryant Park Hotel. Security guards rushed to protect him from a horde of screaming autograph seekers, their Camcorders all fired up. Good boy he is, McGraw graciously inked photos and posed, before jumping into a big, black, gas-guzzling SUV with tinted windows.
Though Hollywood gives $7 to Democrats for every $3 to Republicans, according to The Hill, a Washington newspaper, President Bush still has fans in actors Dennis Hopper, Lara Flynn Boyle, Ron Silver, Freddie Prinze Jr., Jason Preistly, Shannen Doherty, Kelsey Grammer, Vincent Gallo, Kid Rock, Britney Spears, Ted Nugent and Aerosmith's Steve Tyler.
Young Baldwin brother Stephen is now a born-again Christian, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, touring the country promoting a movie he's made about God and -- what must outspoken Democrat brother Alec think? -- hinting to his fans that they should support the GOP.
While it's uncertain if any of the above performers will mingle at the Garden this week, comedian Dennis Miller and actress Angie Harmon will be on site, and super-vocal GOP supporter Bo Derek will make at least one public appearance, coming out to support the non-partisan Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation on the 30th at Bergdorf Goodman, for a post convention-friendly event beginning at 10 p.m.
Al Franken will, of course, be on the floor, broadcasting for his liberal radio network.
"Boy," says Layfield, "is he gonna be a fish out of water."
A dizzying array of late-night -- really late night, as in 11 p.m.-2 a.m. -- parties are scheduled for the week. Saturday's big soiree is a Time Warner Center gala where guests will be welcomed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Gov. George Pataki and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Among planned events generating buzz:
Sunday afternoon, delegates attend "welcome parties" at family friendly Broadway shows like "The Lion King" and "42nd Street." Also Sunday, the Log Cabin Republicans' "Big Tent" event at Bryant Park Grill, hosted by Mayor Bloomberg and honoring "inclusive" GOP leaders, among them California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who no doubt will be very careful about tossing off the phrase "girly men."
On the 29tht, real estate and media baron Mort Zuckerman co-hosts a bash at Elaine's with Gov. Pataki, while Lynyrd Skynyrd takes the stage at Crobar to honor the southern members of Congress, some of whom may be tickled to discover they're partying next door to Scores on the 500 block of West 28th Street.
Pataki will host four galas, one each night of the convention. On Monday, he's at Cipriani's on 42nd Street. Tuesday's party is at Tavern on the Green. Wednesday, in what's described as his "major" event, the governor hosts "Amigos de America," a salsa and tango soiree for Puerto Rican delegates at the Copacabana. Thursday afternoon he waxes poetic at Madame Tussaud's.
Monday's highlights include the "Warrior Foundation" luncheon at Cipriani, chaired by Sen. John McCain and hosted by Fred Thompson. Country singer Lee Greenwood performs. Calif. Rep. Richard Pombo throws a "Wild West Saloon" party at Crobar featuring Otis Day and the Knights.
CNBC journo Alan Murray has a bash for financial heavyweights Tuesday afternoon at Le Cirque, while network compatriots Larry Kudlow and Jim Cramer host a lunch Wednesday at Daniel.
Into the wee hours Tuesday, the Tarab Ensemble will perform sets of Arabic music as part of "Arabian Night in New York," with a video on the history of Arabic immigrants to New York, at the Dahesh Museum of Art/Café Opaline on Madison Avenue. Former Gov. John H. Sununu and Indiana gubernatorial candidate Mitch Daniels are expected.
NFL hall of famers will gather Wednesday morning for a no-press-allowed breakfast with football commish Paul Tagliabue at 280 Park Ave. A Wednesday night hot ticket puts Frank and Malachy McCourt, James Carville and Mary Matalin at a Cipriani bash hosted by Sen. John McCain with entertainment provided by Lorne Michaels.
Set to last long after the confetti has fallen Thursday night is the "Next Generation of Leaders" cocktail bash at Gotham Hall. Presidential daughters Jenna and Barbara Bush are expected at a party hosted by political progeny Emma Bloomberg, Emily Pataki and Taylor Whitman, son of Christie Todd Whitman.