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Posted at 10:42 AM ET, 04/28/2008

Celebs Descend on Annual Correspondents' Dinner

By Liz Kelly

'Desperate Housewives' star Marcia Cross talks to a TV crew from the red carpet. (Liz Kelly for

I'm not sure what the attraction is for celebs who attend the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner and after-parties. D.C. isn't exactly L.A. or Cannes and the Washington Hilton isn't exactly the Roosevelt Hotel. But perhaps attendance at the annual press do lends a certain gravitas to the walking airbrushed who attend. (Here I thought Ashlee Simpson was a lip-synching airhead until she walked the red carpet, proving that she at least knows how to catch a plane to the nation's capital. Well done, Ashlee. You're one step ahead of Miss South Carolina. You probably have a map.)

Although I didn't see Pam Anderson, I'm told her table -- shared with "Hills" star Lauren Conrad, among others -- was a hub of activity during the actual dinner and Pammy even merited a shout-out from President Bush, who joked that her proximity to Mitt Romney was surely a sign of the apocalypse. And who can blame Washington's assembled big deals for going ga-ga over an actual celebrity? Sorry, CIA director Michael Hayden, but your uniform kind of pales in comparison to Pammy's cleavage-baring get-up.

I did catch up with many other Celebritology mainstays who made the pilgrimage from their glitzy world all the way to the basement of the Dupont Circle Hilton to rub shoulders with the likes of Newt Gingrich, Henry Kissinger, John McLaughlin, Ben Bradlee, Andrea Mitchell and a bumper crop of D.C. media types.

Watch the video below for a peek at red carpet arrivals and my mini-interviews with celebs -- including Pete Wentz (whose slicked-down hair defies natural laws of motion), Kal Penn (riding his "Harold and Kumar 2" opening weekend high), Aaron Eckhart (who is surprisingly centered and forthcoming despite some off-camera heckling from one of my colleagues) and jarringly energetic exercise guru Denise Austen, who had earlier dropped to the red carpet for some impromptu push-ups.

Some other interesting moments, not captured on tape:

- A lost-looking Bob Balaban roundly ignored by the media scrum on the red carpet. He wandered off after milling around for about five minutes, waiting to be noticed.

- Celeb-blogger Perez Hilton getting the biggest reaction from the crush of fans cordoned off to the left of the red carpet.

- Madeleine Albright talking up Andrea Mitchell as Morgan Fairchild, awash in turquoise dress and eyeshadow, swishes by.

- Martha Stewart's date, Charles Simonyi, standing idly by as the assembled press mobbed Martha for pix.

Warning: Some interviews are bedeviled with crowd cacophony (noisy journos!) and bad lighting (dim Hilton!). Also, to turn your viewing into an at-the-scene experience, jack your heat up to about 95 degrees Farenheit.

By Liz Kelly  | April 28, 2008; 10:42 AM ET
Categories:  Celebrities  
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