David Rubenstein, the private equity billionaire and philanthropist, slips easily into the role of learned scholar as he strolls down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., on his way to the National Archives.

The 64-year-old co-CEO of the Carlyle Group is carefully attired in a pin-striped suit and blue and white-polka-dot tie. He mentions the hidden river that runs under the pavement and lectures on the area’s transformation from a virtual ghetto to an awe-inspiring site of federal offices and monuments.

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