Welcome to the Smart Set. Every morning we bring you the gossip coverage, filtered. Today: The Gingriches add star power to the Kennedy Center honors, Alec Baldwin won't close the door on a New York City mayoral bid, and the NFL confirms Madonna will be performing at the Super Bowl halftime show.
- Newly-minted GOP frontrunner Newt Gingrich hopped off the campaign trail last night long enough to attend the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington with wife Calista. According to The Hill, the couple "walked the red carpet without a handler and sat quietly together in the orchestra section of the Opera House, one-level down from the presidential box," where tickets were priced a $5,500 a pop. When asked about the honorees, Calista Gingrich offered special praise for Meryl Streep. "We love her work," she said. "We love Mama Mia. We’ve seen it several times. Newt’s ring-tone is 'Dancing Queen.' We’re big fans.” For his part, Gingrich wouldn't comment on reports that Herman Cain was set to endorse him today, but did tweet after the show that he thought Stephen Colbert -- who, along with a tuxedo-clad Elmo, introduced Yo-Yo Ma -- was "brilliant at the Kennedy Center Honors tonight." [The Hill and The Washington Post]
- Alec Baldwin was typically difficult to pin down at The Economist's World in 2012 gala last week when he was asked whether or not he'd be interested in a possible mayoral run in New York City next year. At first, according to the New York Daily News, Baldwin said a run in 2012 would be "nearly impossible" because he's agreed to do another season of 30 Rock if the show is renewed. (Wait, he has?) Lest he be seen as removing himself from consideration, Baldwin went on to add that he'd "love" to run, but needed to figure out "when and how" and suggested he was going to "go grab [unbeloved Hillary Clinton pollster] Mark Penn" and ask him for advice. [Gatecrasher]
- The Secret Service wasn't taking any chances last week when newly-engaged second daughter Ashley Biden traveled to Vera Wang's New York offices last week for dress advice. The 29-year-old Biden was accompanied by a cadre of agents with instructions to "check all employees’ belongings, desks and all bathrooms" before the visit. [Gatecrasher]
- Joe Biden will host a fundraiser for President Obama at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York City on Friday. Ticket prices for the event are said to "range from $5,000 to $38,500," though at Biden's fundraiser at the Four Seasons last month, the price of tickets was said to be "negotiable." [Page Six]
- The producers of Celebrity Big Brother in the United Kingdom reportedly have been meeting with Lindsay Lohan in the hopes of convincing her to appear on the show, and have "already started shooting background footage of the actress." But now they're starting to worry that her probation deal won't let her leave the country. [The Daily Mirror]
- The NFL and NBC confirmed Sunday night that Madonna will play the halftime show at this year's Super Bowl. According to the press release issued by the league, her act will be ""imagined by Cirque Du Soleil and Jamie King," Madonna's longtime choreographer. [NFL.com]