The annual 121st dinner of the Gridiron Club, a group of senior hill reporters, featured celebrities, lawmakers, The Marine Corps band, send-ups of the Vice President by Barack Obama and President Bush, and some peculiar stage routines by well-known reporters, The Washington Post reports.
Helen Thomas, as a Scarlett O'Hara/Hillary Clinton cross, sang a song that compared the White House to a plantation, all decked out in green curtains (complete with Carol Burnett curtain rod). Barack Obama joked that he was nervous to stand so close to the Vice President, in the presence of alcohol. But the most memorable performers of the evening (for better or worse) were Tim Russert and President Bush.
Excerpts from the Post's recap follow:
Tim Russert, making his first appearance as a new member, decked out in a blue dress and a shiny blond wig as one of the cable news bunnies. But there were also some true clunkers. Singing about torture, subbing "rendition" for "tradition" and borrowing the "Fiddler on the Roof" song was not funny at all. The chumminess of the politicos and the press corps can be cloying.
And, on President Bush's routine:
"Dick, I've got an approval rating of 38 percent and you shoot the only trial lawyer in the country who likes me."
"You know there are all these conspiracy theories that Dick runs the country . . . or Karl [Rove] runs the country. Why aren't there any conspiracy theories that I run the country? Really ticks me off. The truth is that I do run the country . . . but Dick runs me and Lynne runs Dick. So actually Lynne runs the country. And Lynne, I think you're doin' a heckuva job. Although I have to say you dropped the ball big time on that Dubai deal."
And: "By the way, when Dick first heard my approval rating was 38 percent, he said, 'What's your secret?' "