As they have before, People and Time will get the White House Correspondents Dinner weekend off to a glass-clinking start with a Friday night cocktail party in downtown D.C. Last year their WHCD-eve party drew a mix of insiders and stars. This year’s is not likely to be much different.
Archives for April 2009
Hero of USAirways Flight 1549 to be Guest of NY Daily News
Chesley Burnett Sullenberger III — better known as “Sully,” the pilot who safely landed his crippled airliner on the Hudson River last January — will be attending the WHCD as a guest of the New York Daily News, Politico is reporting. The last time he was in D.C. was to receive personal thanks and congratulations from President Obama for his heroism. Click here for more.
The WH Correspondents Dinner is known for outrageous moments, when a headline comedian roasts the President, who must sit and smile through the jokes. But in 2004, President Bush turned the tables on Jay Leno, giving him a little assist in standing.
It was 2004 and Carl Cannon of National Journal was president of the White House Correspondents Association. National Journal Group Publisher John Fox Sullivan was seated on the dais, with a clear view of President and Laura Bush, and late night talk show host Jay Leno.
Sullivan said, “When it comes time for the president and the first lady to be seated, we all stand up, but Jay Leno was a little slow to rise from his seat. President Bush secretly reached over and goosed Leno, while making a funny sound to startle the comic.”
In a ballroom packed with 2000 reporters, a sitting president grabs an American icon — who is about to tell jokes at the president’s expense! This is what makes the White House Correspondents’ Dinner a must-attend event every year.
“The president looked at Leno with a wonderful jocular smile,” said Sullivan. “Leno burst into laughter. After the speeches people asked what happened. Some thought it looked like Leno tripped.” Sullivan told WHC Insider it was one of the most memorable moments in his 33 years of working in Washington.
Go to the Back Story to watch Leno’s 2004 roast of President Bush, after the president got closer than Leno ever expected.
So far, the news coming out of the White House Correspondent’s Association Dinner party-circuit has all been bleak: People has traded in its after-party in favor of a joint cocktail party with Time magazine the night before the event, and Bloomberg and Vanity Fair — traditionally two of the big power players on Saturday night — announced that they are merging their parties.
But Niche Media’s Capitol File magazine is about to buck that trend with the announcement of an entire weekend slate of events. In addition to their annual Saturday night after-party on May 9, the magazine is teaming up with the Creative Coalition on Friday night for a screening of the Creative Coalition’s “PoliWood” documentary (directed by Barry Levinson).
Sting and Anne Hathaway are among the stars expected to join the movie’s co-producers (and co-founders of the Creative Coalition) Tim Daly and Robin Bronk.
The next night, the magazine will host an after-party at the Corcoran Gallery of Art with a power guest list that includes President Obama’s Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers. Jarrett and Rogers appear on the cover of Capitol File’s summer issue, which comes out the same day as the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. Other guests expected at that after-party include Hathaway and the Dinner’s official emcee, Wanda Sykes. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/21/emcapitol-fileem-expands_n_189656.html
Remarks Suggest President is Open to an Investigation
April 21 — Press secretary Robert Gibbs faced persistent questioning from the White House press corps, which focused primarily on whether President Obama is now open to possibly holding former Bush administration officials — including the former president — accountable for CIA interrogation methods of suspected terrorists.
In response to reporters after his meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah earlier in the day, Obama said, “If and when there needs to be a further accounting of what took place during this period, I think for Congress to examine ways that it can be done in a bipartisan fashion, outside of the typical hearing process that can sometimes break down and break it entirely along party lines, to the extent that there are independent participants who are above reproach and have credibility, that would probably be a more sensible approach to take.” [Read more…]
Cultivating Relations with Celebrity Press/Paparazzi
Don’t think those pictures you see of the Obamas as an ordinary family leading an ordinary life just happen naturally, reports the Los Angeles Times. “The White House, eager to cultivate an image-making media machinery that thrives on personality, has invited coverage from such outlets as television’s ‘Access Hollywood’ and ‘Extra.’ Aides dole out exclusives accordingly, acutely aware of the shelf life for cover stories in glamour and celebrity magazines,” the paper says.
“Administration officials have even weighed the economics of paparazzi photography, strategically releasing images of the family to diminish the monetary value of unauthorized pictures and give the White House control over how the family is portrayed. In return for access, celebrity news outlets must refuse to publish unauthorized pictures — or risk being cut off by the White House.” Full story here.
“I’d been invited to go in the past administration but I didn’t want to schlep all the way there for them,” Louis-Dreyfus tells CelebrityGossip.com. “But now I’m going and I cannot wait!” Click here for more.
Behind the Scenes at the New White House Briefing Room Redesigned for the 24/7 News Cycle
The White Briefing Room Series
Part One: The Technology
On the surface, the revamped and spiffed-up White House Press Briefing Room looks like a clean, well-lighted and more streamlined version of its old self. But largely hidden from public view is evidence of the extensive cutting-edge technology — not to mention the intensive labor — that went into the 2006-07 renovation.
For instance, that rich, royal blue backdrop behind the podium? Not blue at all. “That’s an entirely new backdrop with lots of LEDs,” says Scott Sforza, the former White House deputy assistant communications director and director of the renovation project. “Those lights can make the backdrop any color of the spectrum.”
Complete walls were torn out. A stairwell to access cabling in the deep end of the pool below the briefing room floor was dug and installed. (Yes, the briefing room is atop the old White House swimming pool.) New wiring, new lighting, new air conditioning (finally serious air flow), and pretty much new everything went in. [Read more…]
Sorry Folks: Neither George Clooney or his father and American University visiting professor Nick Clooney, will attend the White House Correspondents Dinner reports WHCinsider.com.
Washingtonians have been delighted to have Nick and Nina Clooney as neighbors for the past seven months as he taught at American and thrilled Newseum visitors and media big wigs with a series of programs on TV, movies, and his international campaign on Darfur.
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