The “How We Pick the President” gabfest, moderated by Sir Harold Evans, escalated into a verbal shouting contest more typical of Hardball than a dinner party. Karl Rove, Harold Raines, and Doug Schoen were intermittently reprimanded for their comments, and it didn’t help that the formerly secretive Rove was the most loquacious panelist. Wish we could have heard what Matt Cooper, Tammy Haddad, Betsy Fisher, Joe Di Genova, Mark Russell, Victoria Toesing and Hilary Rosen had to say, but they weren’t within ear shot.
As good as it gets
The only thing better than having celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck personally flip your pizza at the gala opening of the Newseum on April 12th was bumping into Nick Clooney. Yes, that Clooney: former newsman, anchor, talk and game show host, columnist, father of George, brother of Rosemary, Democratic contender for a House seat from Kentucky and most recently a human rights activist for Darfur. As rumored, the elder Clooney is indeed more handsome and more charismatic than his famous son. He did not, however, confirm (as rumored) that he will maintain an apartment in the Newseum residences (where he would enhance the already breathtaking views).
The new facility is a remake of its previous site in Rosslyn, across from the location of the USA Today Building, and cost nearly a half billion dollars. It’s doubtful then that the $20 admission fee will ever cover those costs, and no surprise the guest list sported many corporate heavyweights
While the event could have used a red carpet and more fanfare, guests managed to find each other while wandering between three floors. We spotted Ben Bradlee, Sally Quinn, USA Today founder Al Neuharth, Ellie Merrill, Strobe Talbott, Tim Russert, Maureen Orth, Wolf Blitzer, David Bohman, Andrea Mitchell, Alan Greenspan, Charles Krauthammer, and Nina Totenberg.
The Radio & Television Correspondents’ Association could have saved a bundle on a comedian if they’d just stuck with Vice-President Dick Cheney. Now in its 64th year, the organization celebrates excellence in broadcasting and the event is second in media prestige only to the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.
While comedian Mo Rocca of Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me fame was the entertainment headliner, it was Cheney and Governor Mitt Romney who stole the show. In a rare jovial mood, compatible with someone about to leave office, the Veep spared no one. “You all know how to make a man feel welcome. Obviously you’re not the kind to look down on a bitter man who clings to his guns.” Digs about the oft ridiculed Al Gore included a global warming barb: “I have no doubt, none at all, that we are in the midst of a global warming; or, as I prefer to call it, Spring.” In thanking The President (via video) for thinking he is the funniest guy he knows, Cheney shot back: “I’ll take that as a compliment, but I’ll try to forget that it comes from the same fella that thinks that nine o’clock is late, believes ginger ale is a nightcap and paradise is 40 miles west of Waco.”
Romney’s surprise appearance no doubt left the Botox crowd jealous of his 40ish looks. Listing the top ten reasons he lost his Presidential bid, he concluded that “There weren’t as many Osmonds as I thought.”
CNN closed the night with a caviar-driven after-party.