Political and media elite mingled with Hollywood stars and Washington insiders in Georgetown Saturday at the 18th Annual White House Correspondents’ Garden Brunch held at the beautiful Beall-Washington house (former residence of Katharine Graham, currently owned by businessman Mark Ein.)
The brunch, co-chaired by Wendi Murdoch and Susan Axelrod, was in honor of two important causes: The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood and CURE: Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy. With Mother’s Day a week away, the event kicked off the “Man Up for Moms” Committee of 100 Men” to bring men in to advocate for these causes and push their Mothers Day Campaigns. CLICK to cureepilepsy.org/mothersday and whiteribbonalliance.org/celebratemothers.
Wendi Murdoch, media executive and filmmaker, explained why the issue of maternal mortality is a personal issue. Her grandmother died while giving birth to her mother. Obama senior advisor, David Axelrod, shared their heart-wrenching story of their own family’s struggle with their daughter Lauren’s seizures which began at 7 months. Susan Axelrod, explained how CURE Epilepsy’s sole focus is on finding cause of epilepsy, not just managing medicine to stop seizures.
Sarah Palin made her Washington debut surprising the DC crowd and immediately became the focal point for fans lining up for photos and reporters hoping for a conversation. Palin and her husband, Todd. arrived with Greta Van Sustern and her husband, John Coale. She met David and Susan Axelrod at the traditional brunch “Step ‘n Repeat.” David Axelrod greeted her saying, “Finally, it’s good to meet you.” Palin thanked him for his work on epilepsy research. Palin shook hands, greeted fans and posed for photos. Politicsal reporters watched her work the room and many approached her including the New York Times Mark Lebovich, who is wriitng a book about the Washington culture, Jeff Zeleny, the New York Times political reporter, and CBS News’ Jan Greenberg.
She told Politico’s Patrick Gavin when he asked why she wanted to spend the day with White House Correspondents, that she was honored to be there. “The nice thing about this is that we are doing it for a cause, for special needs, which of course is near and dear to my heart.”
As she was leaving the party, she was overheard telling T. Boone Pickens and his wife Madeleine, she was all for the Pickens Plan. Palin’s sister, Molly McCann came with daughter Bristol who posed for photos for the very excited press pool.
Many of Hollywood’s finest made their way slowly through the crowd including Academy Award winner, Dustin Lance Black, GLEE star, Matthew Morrison, Chace Crawford of Gossip Girl, The Social Network’s Joe Mazzello (soon to star in a Georgetown TV show, Jeremy Piven of Entourage, Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson with his boyfriend, Justin Mikita, and the Creative Coalition’s Tim Daly and Robin Bronk. Celebrity manager, Eric Podwall, worked the room like a DC vet.
The rest of the entertainment industry was well represented beginning with comedian and red carpet commentator, Joan Rivers; Academy award winning actress Mira Sorvino and Maria Bello, who most recently appeared in Beautiful Boy; Dancing with the Stars host and author, Brooke Burke; legandary TV actress, Morgan Fairchild; actress and activist, Rosario Dawson.
Olympic snowboarder, Shaun White, was hard-to-miss with his curly red hair and big smile and Washington Kastles Coach Murphy Jensen posed for fans as he watched the young volunteers hand out CURE Epilepsy iphone covers, White Ribbon Alliance pins and Kastles souvenirs.
Media moguls were well represented by Rupert Murdoch, Sean Parker, Arianna Huffington, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, Internet investor Yuri Milner, and the Today Show’s Jim Bell. On camera stars included WHCA 2010 awardee Jake Tapper, Savannah Guthrie, Jan Greenberg, Ed Henry, Ann Compton, Jessica Yellin to name a few.
Several of Washington’s media elite joined the fun. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, NCTA Chief Michael Powell, Politico’s Robert Allbritton and Fred Ryan plus David Bradley. Greta Van Susteren, Chris Wallace, David Bradley, Ed Henry, Jonathan Karl, Ann Compton, Jamie Rubin, Brett Baier, Paul Berry and Gordon Peterson.
Obama officials and Washington insiders seen at the brunch were new White House chief of Staff Bill Daley and his wife Bernie Keller, FLOTUS COS Tina Tchen, Social Secretary Jeremy Bernard, Kristina Schake, FLOTUS communications Director and FCC Chief Julius Genachowski and his wife Rachel Goslins, Christine Varney, DoJ’s Anti Trust Chief, RNC Chairman Rience Priebus, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Howard Wolfson, Michael Powell, Amb. Elizabeth Bagley, Larry Summers, Carol Browner, Jeremy Bernard, Amb. Capricia Marshall, Rep. Andrew Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin, British Ambassador Nigel Sheinwald, Jane Harmon, Robert Hormats, Anita Dunn, Anita McBride, Tina Tchen, Michael Chertoff,and Representative Aaron Schock.
DC Philanthropists Catherine and Wayne Reynolds, Ambassador Capricia Marshall and Sally Quinn brought sparkle to the historic Georgetown residence. Making the rounds – and donating hundreds of delicious cupcakes for the brunch – were Katherine Kallinis and Sophie LaMontagne of Georgetown Cupcakes.
Other notable brunch attendees include Medal of Honor recipient Salvatore Giunta, Mark Shriver, American record executive Kevin Liles, economist Larry Summers, hotelier Andre Balazs and magician Gerard Senehi. Speaking of buzz, Twitter’s @TheRealBuzz – astronaut Buzz Aldrin (attending with his wife Lois) posed for photos with countless fans who took the opportunity to meet a real life hero.
The Host Committee includes Tammy Haddad, Kevin Sheekey, Hilary Rosen, Mark Ein, Alex Castellanos, Anita Dunn, Bill Knapp, Jim Courtovich, David Adler, Steve McMahon and Cafe Milano’s Franco Nuschese. Bill Homan from Design Cuisine recreated the grand, elegant house into a wonderland of modern comfort, delicious cuisine, and spectacular arrangements of everything including photos and art telling the story of the work of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood and CURE Epilespy!