Preparations are underway for all sorts of events related to the WHCD. Check out what Politico has to say about them all here.
Video of the WH press corps suddenly jumping to its feet when President Obama made a surprise visit to the briefing room last week has been stirring up the blogosphere. Why? Because it’s paired with a vid of the press corps remaining seated when Bush once entered the briefing room. CNN’s Jeanne Moos investigated. Check out the video below to see what she found.
By tradition, the president is the guest of honor at the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and the guest of honor addresses the audience of roughly 2,000 at some point during the evening.
It’s usually a light-hearted, often funny speech, very much in keeping with the chummy spirit of the occasion. But for the jokes to work, delivery is everything.
“I’d tell Barack Obama to treat the jokes, the whole thing, as seriously as the State of the Union speech,” Phil Rosenthal tells WHCInsider. “He should deliver it with the same gravity and seriousness.”
Rosenthal, the creator and executive producer of the hit comedy “Everyone Loves Raymond,” wrote material for all WHCDs that Bill Clinton attended as president and also directed “The Final Days,” the famous video of President Clinton at his last WHCD. Considered one of the funniest presidential comedy routines, the short spoof featured President Clinton riding a bike through the White House and later running to give First Lady Hillary Clinton her lunch before she went off to work in a limo. [Read more…]
The Beeb has landed a balanced cross-section of name guests: Sony Corp. chairman and chief executive Sir Howard Stringer, figure skating champ and a recent “Dancing with the Stars” winner Kristi Yamaguchi, Oscar-winning actress Ellen Burstyn, and Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Phil Gordon.
Ali Wentworth, actress, comedienne, Oprah regular, and wife of George Stephanopoulos gave WHCInsider the exclusive insight on her e-rules for the Information Super Highway. WHCInsider has learned that George Stephanopoulos is not permitted to tweet when Ali Wentworth is talking. Ali also doesn’t permit BlackBerrys in the bedroom and says tweeting should be something you do when you’re alone.
And she predicts her former boss, Jay Leno, will be a hit in his new 10:00 p.m. time slot, and thinks Wanda Sykes was told to tone down her blue humor for the WHCD. We picked up these scoops at the raucous party Ali and George hosted Monday night for the fun and fabulous Lee Woodruff’s second book: Perfectly Imperfect.
Check out our interview with Ali and you’ll know why she’s got her own show, “Head Case,” why she has a regular seat on Oprah, and why George is always smiling!
Quinn Bradlee, son of Washington Post legends Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn popped the question (over the phone!) to Pary Williamson and the engagement news was the talk of George Stephanopoulos’ party for Lee Woodruff’s new book.
Sally Quinn tells the WHCInsider that the ring is a Bradlee family heirloom. It belonged to Ben Bradlee’s great-great-grandmother Suzette Crowninshield. Quinn has been on tour for his new book and web site, Friends of Quinn. For photos of the book party Barry Diller threw for Quinn go to WHCInsider.com/scrapbook. Stay tuned for video of the party…
Bill Scheft Hails Wanda Sykes as Great Choice for WHCD Entertainment
If the elite gathering of A-list journos, politicos and celebrities that make up the White House Correspondents’ Dinner
can’t loosen up when Sykes starts her monologue, it’s likely to get what it deserves, says Scheft, a veteran scribe for “The Late Show with David Letterman.”
“If they take Wanda too seriously, she’s going to let ’em have it,” Scheft tells WHCInsider. “I’ve know Wanda a long time. She’ll really give it to ’em, and I think that’s what they need — somebody to yell at ’em.”
Scheft says that Sykes was a great choice to book for the entertainment, noting that Stephen Colbert — who raised as many hackles as he did laughs with his controversial routine at the 2006 dinner — is altogether different. “Colbert was a character playing a character playing a character at that dinner. He’s very character-oriented. Wanda is much more joke-oriented.” [Read more…]
Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore To Have High-Profile Company at Cabler’s Table
In addition to Kutcher and Moore, CNN will be bringing actors Val Kilmer, Kyra Sedgwick, Bradley Cooper and supermodel-turned-talk-show-host Tyra Banks. But anchor Wolf Blitzer has invited a local bold-faced name — Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
In part 3 of our interview with The Examiner’s Julie Mason and ABC News’ Jake Tapper – a former print reporter for Salon.com – tell WHCInsider that televising the White House briefing may be bad for journalism.
“An argument can be made while televising the briefing, while wonderful in the interest of transparency, actually hurts the interest of journalism being committed,” said Tapper. “It becomes a show,” added Mason. “And often time’s reporters are judged on the questions they ask during the briefing, when it’s such a tiny part of what we do. It sort of becomes counterproductive.”
Most of the White House correspondents’ work is done outside the regular press briefings … and both Tapper and Mason joked that they had “occasionally fettered access” outside the scheduled briefings.
Go behind the scenes at the White House briefing room here.
In Part 2 of our interview with ABC’s Jake Tapper and The Examiner’s Julie Mason, the White House correspondents tell WHCInsider that the Obama administration’s Briefing Room is not much different than when President Bush was in office.
It’s a “different vibe,” said Mason, “but in terms of the access we get and the information, it’s very much the same.” Tapper said the Obama White House is an improvement over the Obama campaign – staffers can’t “dodge” reporters so easily: “[They’re] much more accessible here, because they’re right here as opposed to on the phone.”
Does that mean Ana Marie Cox got it wrong, when she said White House correspondents are not necessary?
“Has Ana Marie Cox ever covered the White House,” asked Mason. “I’m not sure what her credentials are … she was there for the dog story.”
“Having a vigilant press corps in that room is definitely necessary,” Tapper added diplomatically. “I didn’t find her piece particularly persuasive.”