Rose Pak plays ping-pong politics

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A City Hall press conference Tuesday that concluded with Mayor Ed Lee playing table tennis commemorated the 40th anniversary of ping-pong diplomacy. It was also a lesson in ping-pong politics.

Word is that there was some trouble finding the money to hold a reception party for the Chinese ping-pong delegation on Monday night, so in swept the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and its consultant Rose Pak. She says the chamber helped pay the bill for the reception, which was held out on the bay in the San Francisco Belle River Boat during the Fourth of July fireworks show.

Pak, who has been pushing hard for Lee to run for mayor, was working the crowd at the party. Lee attended the party, but he didn’t make any announcements about running for mayor. That didn’t keep Pak from handing out “Run, Ed, Run” buttons at a press conference on Tuesday. She was so complimentary of the interim mayor that she even complimented his prowess at sports.

With a mean backhand, Lee held his own with champion ping-pong players and about a dozen photographers capturing the scene. He ended the demonstration with a smile, and in the ensuing hubbub that followed you could hear Pak complimenting him on his ability to play sports.

“He’s a natural athlete,” she said.

Pak hopes Lee will some day realize he’s a natural politician, at least before the deadline to file to run for mayor.

If only he could work on that forehand.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

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