Low approval ratings, bird shot backlash, problematic port deals...a snub from America's Sweetheart? Things have gone from bad to worse for President Bush.

Jessica Simpson reneged on an invitation to appear at a Republican Party fundraiser to promote the nonprofit venture Operation Smile Thursday night, despite the added enticement of promised face time with her fellow Texan.

Alas, it's a meeting of the minds that will never take place.

The Dukes of Hazzard star, who touches down in Washington, D.C., later today to lobby members of Congress on behalf of the charity, which offers free plastic surgery for disadvantaged children with facial deformities, chose not to attend the gala for fears of politicizing the nonpartisan venture.

In an email statement to E! News, Jessica Simpson publicist Rob Shuter would only say. "Jess is in D.C. to support Operation Smile and would love to meet with President Bush. [But] Jess cannot go to the Republician Party fundraiser tonight."

Her father, Joe Simpson, elaborated in an interview with the Associated Press. "We went back and forth and we could never get the details worked out," her manager and father Joe Simpson told the wire service. "When it became obvious that it was not just a state dinner, it was more of a fundraising event, that is the wrong purpose of why we are here."

But Papa Joe wants to make it clear that Simpson's rebuffment of the president's invitation was not a personal--or political--affront.

"We are huge fans of him and of his family, his girls," he said. "Jessica loves the heck out of him."

A spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, the group putting on the political fundraiser, said that despite the showbiz clan's professed love for the chief exec, they were surprised at Simpson's last-minute rejection of the invitation, especially given that she had already RSVP'd to the event.

While publicists for the soon-to-be ex Mrs. Lachey claim she never intended on showing up at the grand old party, NRCC spokesman Carl Forti said the singer-actress had initially agreed to appear, only to change her mind the next day.

Talk about your flip-floppers.

"It's never been a problem for Bono," Forti said, referring to the U2 frontman's adaptability at meeting with political heavyweights of any party to promote the relief of Third World poverty.

"I find it hard to believe she would pass up an opportunity to lobby the president on behalf of Operation Smile," Forti said.

The Simpson-less dinner gala is expected to raise nearly $7.5 million for Republican candidates for midterm elections in November, but the erstwhile Newlywed will just have to live with missing out on the shindig...and the stellar dinner conversation.

Forti said the NRCC was so sure she would be attending the event that they already saved her a spot at the $2,500-per-plate dinner gala. She would have been seated at one of the event's head tables, along with House of Representatives Majority Leader John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio.

Maybe she just didn't want to be reminded of her hubby-no-more's homestate.

Regardless, Simpson's jaunt to Capitol Hill will still include stops down some important political corridors. The 25-year-old actress is set to meet with several members of Congress from both sides of the aisle in support of Operation Smile.

Simpson has long served as the organization's International Youth Ambassador. The venture treats children and adults in Third World countries suffering from cleft lips, palates and other facial deformities.

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