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.
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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…]
Michael Steele, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, told WHCInsider that he thought Obama’s speech was great. Steele said he thought the ribbing was “fine and fair.”
“Wanda is Wanda, she comes real and you got to be prepared. But there will be news made later this week, I guarantee you,” said Steele.
Watch Wanda’s routine below.
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Conservative commentator and former candidate for the GOP presidential nomination Pat Buchanan said Barack Obama’s speech to the WHCD was well-done and well-delivered. Speaking on MSNBC, Buchanan particularly praised Obama for poking fun at everyone, while Wanda Sykes, Buchanan said, was “over the top” because of some harsh jokes at Republicans’ and conservatives’ expense. Other MSNBC commentators thought Sykes at times might have been controversial.
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Red carpet pandemonium — packed on both sides of the velvet ropes — photographers and reporters on one side, faced fans and star gazers on the other. Glenn Close,”It’s completely crazy!” Screams and shouts for arriving VIPs: aplusk (Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher), Alicia Keys, Ludacris, Bon Jovi, and Stevie Wonder.
Asked by WHCInside whether she would hold back anything for her monologue tonight, comedian Wanda Sykes said, “I don’t think so.”
During the steady stream of red carpet arrivals at the Washington Hilton, screams and yells from star-gazers behind the velvet ropes often bewildered some of the guests. Sykes even looked taken aback at times, but made her way on into the ballroom.