WASHINGTON – Russell Crowe’s phone-throwing tantrum at a New York hotel cost him a dinner date with President Bush and a sleepover at the White House.

But a bust two weeks ago of a XXX-rated porn star so far hasn’t deterred the president from plans to speak before a GOP congressional fund-raiser Tuesday with her and her pornographer boss among the invited guests.

Crowe, 41, the Australian star of “Gladiator” and “Master and Commander,” had been invited to dine with the president and host a private screening of his new film, “Cinderella Man,” about a boxer, before spending the night at the White House.

But his antics in the Mercer Hotel foyer last Monday morning had White House officials on the phone to cancel the engagement.

Officially, Crowe canceled the arrangements himself as a courtesy measure to save President and Mrs. Bush, Laura, any embarrassment. A White House spokesman cited “scheduling problems” for the cancellation.

Crowe allegedly hurled his room’s cordless Panasonic phone at concierge Nestor “Josh” Estrada after being unable to get through to his wife, Danielle Spencer, in Australia. The phone was described in the New York police charge sheet as a “dangerous and deadly instrument.” He faces up to eight years for the alleged assault, for which he has apologized.

Porn star Mary Carey excited about Flag Day dinner with President Bush

The cancellation of the get-together, however, is a stark contrast to the president’s continuing controversial plans to permit porn star Mary Carey and her pornographer boss, Mark Kulkis, to attend a $2,500-a-plate fund-raiser for the National Republican Congressional Committee this week.

The 24-year-old XXX-rated actress will accompany her boss, president of Kick A– Pictures, at “The 2005 President’s Dinner and Salute to Freedom.”

The idea of the president of the United States publicly rubbing elbows with pornographers and accepting money from them is shocking to some, including Rev. Don Wildmon, chairman of the American Family Association.

“The reason these people are doing this is for publicity and to embarrass Bush,” Wildmon told WND. “I think the Republicans can survive this, but they need to go public with an explanation. They need to exclude them or withdraw the invitation. Just doing nothing is the worst thing they can do.”

Carey, whose real name is Mary Ellen Cook, says she was named after the Mary Ellen character on “The Waltons” TV show. Born in Cleveland, she was raised in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., studied theater in college, and worked jobs in restaurants before trying stripping and then making the decision to enter the world of celluloid sex.

“I kind of wanted to be a porn star,” she said. “I wasn’t raped or abused.”

She maintains pornographic movies don’t harm anyone, and are beneficial in a way, providing safe fantasies for the “lonely” public.

Last month, the actress was among five people arrested at a new strip club in a suburb of Tacoma, Wash. All were accused of violating the local adult-cabaret ordinance, some by getting too close to customers and others – including Carey – by touching themselves in a sexual manner, according to the Associated Press.

Kulkis, 40, says he’ll be representing the $10 billion porn industry as well as his own company at the fund-raiser. A native of Michigan, the English literature major turned pornographer says he’d be surprised, disappointed and upset if he were somehow turned away, but he doesn’t expect that to happen. He also serves as honorary chairman of the NRCC’s Business Advisory Council, a group which describes itself as a “small, prestigious group of conservative businessmen and women.”

Previous stories:

Bush dinner’s porn star: I’m a praying Christian

Porn industry pushing Bush GOP fund-raiser

Bush event organizers OK with porn star’s attendance

Porn star to dine with Bush

Related column:

The president & the porn star

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.