White House Press Briefing Room Trivia Break
Before a pool was installed for FDR, the Press Briefing Room space was a laundry room, shown here in 1909.
Before a pool was installed for FDR, the Press Briefing Room space was a laundry room, shown here in 1909.
From transcript of “The O’Reilly Factor,” May 12, 2009.
All right. White House Correspondents’ Dinner. My man Miller here actually emceed an event for Bush the elder, and you were pretty tame. I mean, you didn’t go after anybody, did you?
MILLER: Oh, I was scared witless. I mean, you know, I was just a kid trying to make it, and it was Bush 41. I thought Wanda Sykes was kind of funny, for a girl. That’s a joke, Wanda. You know it. That’s all she’s doing today is explaining that. It was a joke. And the way I look at Wanda Sykes, man, I thought he was going to bring Reverend Wright in. So Wanda Sykes seems — that seems like a respite from the sturm und drang. I thought he might do Jeremiah down to do the gig. I thought Wanda was probably eager to please. I mean, you’re a black comedienne, and you’ve got a black president. I mean, can you imagine how much she needed to make him approve of her? So he went for it, and it looks like it worked. He was laughing his butt off, especially at the — you know, the…
O’REILLY: It all went south. Taken from somebody who was there in the front row, and I was. It all went south in the last 10 minutes. The first 15 minutes were fine. But then she got mean. And here’s my question to you. The remarks about Limbaugh, about Sarah Palin, Cheney to some extent — that wasn’t over the top — were mean. And then they flashed to Obama laughing at the meanness. I don’t think that does him any good there, Dennis.
MILLER: Well, listen. Cheney thrives on that stuff. It’s like Dennis Hopper with the mask in “Blue Velvet.” He just eats that stuff up. But I would say this. I don’t think she was a pro that night. You know, a comedian’s judged by somebody whether they’re a pro or a non-pro. I don’t know how funny or funny it wasn’t. But I do know it wasn’t pro, because at some point you get hired, and she didn’t fill the requisite out for what they needed. They needed it to be edgy but to not make it feel weird. [Read more…]
Wanda Sykes told the WHCInsider Saturday night that she was told not to use the F or N words, but was her comedy routine too tough on Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and others?
“Lost in the frenzy is the more important matter of our thin-skinned intolerance and our reflexive lurch to take offense. We might remind ourselves that it’s always the fanatics who can’t take a joke”, from the last line of Kathleen Parker’s, Washington Post column today.
by Kathleen Parker (Washington Post)
Which is why we probably shouldn’t quarterback a comedian over coffee when she was performing for a crowd primed on cocktails.
That reasonable rule seems not to apply, however, when the venue is the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner and one of the revelers happens to be the president of the United States. Whether he laughs, smiles or frowns carries political freight far beyond the moment.
Washington buzz lately has become a buzz saw.
In the days since the correspondents’ dinner, reaction to Barack Obama’s reaction to Wanda Sykes’s one-liners has resembled a confederacy of scolds. What dreary, sensitive wretches we’ve become.
Do I think Sykes was a monument to hilarity? No, but she was funny much of the time. Do I think her now-infamous Rush Limbaugh jokes were over the top? Yeah. That’s a comedian for you. Do I think her performance — and Obama’s apparent amusement — marks the decline of civilization? This is hardly a new development.
I do think we take ourselves far too seriously — and literally.
For those who’ve somehow managed to avoid the controversy, Sykes joked that Limbaugh, whom she compared to Osama bin Laden, might have been the 20th hijacker, but was “just so strung out on OxyContin he missed his flight.” She also suggested that Rush might be guilty of treason for hoping Obama’s policies fail.
In a final flourish, she said: “Rush Limbaugh, ‘I hope the country fails’ — I hope his kidneys fail, how about that? He needs a waterboarding, that’s what he needs.”
Ho-ho-ho. The audience did not, in fact, roar with laughter, at least not compared to other jokes during the evening. From where I sat, most who laughed were reacting to the outrageousness of the “joke.” Even Sykes acknowledged that she’d gone too far, but noted that we’d be talking about it later. She got that part right. [Read more…]
As in years past, parties of every kind and color—from movie screenings to exhibit openings to hangover brunches—surrounded this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. Here’s a wrap-up of the weekend’s attractions:
Bloomberg and Vanity Fair’s After-Party
Capitol File may have hosted the weekend’s biggest party, but the most exclusive honors went to Bloomberg LP and Vanity Fair, who hosted an impossible-to-get-into shindig for 250 on Saturday night. Taking over French ambassador Pierre Vimont’s turn-of-the-century home in Kalorama, the party drew big names from politics and Hollywood, among them Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, Glenn Close, Eva Longoria, David Axelrod, Desiree Rogers, and the ubiquitous Captains Chesley Sullenberger and Richard Phillips. The party took over the mansion’s interior rooms with bars and buffets, and spilled out into the backyard, where the many trees were uplit in blue, pink, and green.
David Bradley’s Private Dinner
On Friday night, Atlantic Media owner David Bradley and his wife, Katherine Brittain Bradley, hosted an indoor cocktail reception followed by an outdoor seated dinner at their Embassy Row home. Sponsored by Toyota and Robert Mondavi Winery, the annual event was twice as large as last year, thus requiring for the first time a 40- by 40-foot HDO Productions tent, which Frost Lighting technicians draped with white rope lights.
by Neil Grace
Capitol File billed its White House Correspondents Dinner after party as the evening’s “must attend” event, after Bloomberg combined forces with Vanity Fair for a trimmed down, ultra-exclusive, 300-invitation affair at the French Ambassador’s residence. Across town at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Niche Media’s Jason Binn (and Capitol File publisher) threw a larger fete in typical Binn-style aimed squarely at the younger Hollywood-meets-Washington crowd. [Read more…]
After the tour de force from President Obama, it didn’t seem like the night could be any more magical. But as guests walked up the circular drive for the Bloomberg | Vanity Fair after party at the French Ambassador’s residence, the magic continued. It was the ultimate insiders affair: no red carpet or paparazzi gauntlet, just Owen Wilson lounging near the front door talking quietly to a few Washington admirers.
With Donald Rumsfeld, who lives down the street, stopping by for a drink, it was a night, a location, and a crowd where anything could happen. Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Vanity Fair Editor Graydon Carter, joining party forces this year, welcomed the exclusive guests.
The brave captain of the Maresk Alabama, who offered his life in exchange for his mates, was Bloomberg’s special guest for the weekend. That followed getting the keys to New York City from Mayor Bloomberg the day before. Captain Richard Phillips shrugged off the compliments of celebrities (Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore) and politicos who lined up to shake his hand, but he did pose proudly with another real-life Captain America, Chesley Sullenberger, who safely piloted a US Airways jet onto the Hudson River.
Earlier in the day, Phillips and his wife, Andrea, met with President Obama in the Oval Office, after a private tour of the White House. The unflappable captain told Bloomberg it was an “honor to meet the President. He’s a very amazing man and he’s a very down-to-earth man.” His wife agreed, “It was very overwhelming, surreal to actually, be inside the Oval Office … I was so deeply excited to have met the President like that.”
After being introduced to the Commander-in-chief, Phillips admitted it was hard to get excited about meeting anyone else after being introduced to the Commander-in-Chief.
The Examiner’s Jeff Dufour got the scoop of the night: Who wrote the President’s comedy routine? Jon Favreau, the president’s chief speechwriter. Favreau told The Examiner it took him two weeks, working with speechwriter Jon Lovett, Obama political adviser David Axelrod, and a team of joke writers, to craft the punch lines. He also said they spent several hours on Friday, working out Obama’s opening sight gag with the teleprompter screens.
If you weren’t one of the lucky 250 to attend the Bloomberg/Vanity Fair After Party the courteous folks at Bloomberg have brought back their After Party Web site so you see inside the party…. CLICK on http://www.bloomberg.com/afterparty/
The Father of the Modern Political Panel Talk Show, John McLaughlin, came to national prominence as President Nixon’s priest who defended him so well on television after his fall. But for many in Washington, he’s almost as well known for his Sunday brunch on the White House Correspondents Dinner weekend. One of the great traditions for A-listers (local and Hollywood based) is to wake up and head on over for more people watching. “The McLaughlin Group” is the first panel political show to put opinions and humor into Sunday morning political talk. From the beginning McLaughlin captured and advanced the conversation with original panelists like Robert Novak, Jack Germond and Mort Kondracke to the omnipresent Patrick Buchanan. The long suffering Eleanor Clift still holds her own, while Moynihan “hottie” Lawrence O’Donnell has brought in a new audience to this Washington staple. McLaughlin owns his show which is both on NBC and syndicated on PBS stations around the country. Others have tried and failed to compete with his original delivery and thought provoking banter. He is the ringmaster and makes politics more accessible to audiences that would not watch a cable show.
His unique place in the political conversation has made his brunch just as thought provoking. When Robert DeNiro was prepping for “Wag The Dog” he was McLaughlin’s guest for the WHCD. The double takes as DeNiro talked to Laura Ingraham and Janet Langhart was a classic McLaughlin brunch moment. The occasional appearance of Tom Selleck, as well as VP Cheney and other cabinet officials of both parties, caused an incredible fight for an invitation. The brunch, then in McLaughlin’s Woodland Drive home, has become another weekend tradition.
This year’s Brunch at Teatro Goldoni, the first to coincide with Mother’s Day, brought out a crowd that included, Tivo Chairman Tom Rogers, Nancy Bagley, Soroush Shehabi, Nicole Bagley, former Sec. of Defense Bill Cohen, Beth and Ron Dozoretz, Fred and Marlene Malik, Buzz Aldrin, Debbie and John Dingell, Amb. Ivonne A-Baki, Susan Hurley, Tandy and Wyatt Dickerson, Pat Buchanan and wife Shelley, Ali and Mark Russell, Spike and Tina Karalikis, Jim Kimsey, former Md. Cong. Tom McMillen, Judith Czelusniak, PR worldwide Bloomberg, and Dr. Christine Warnke among others.
More pictures of today’s brunch after the jump. [Read more…]