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A roasty-toasty time at the Gridiron

Garcon, more champagne!

In dire need of booze and belly laughs, 600 of the capital's journalists (laid off, bought out) and politicians (raged at, stimulused out) squeezed into the grand ballroom of the Renaissance Marriott downtown for the annual Gridiron Club dinner, which just ended. Veteran journalists dressed up in costume and impersonated the politicians they cover -- in song, backed by the U.S. Marine Band. There was a lot of eating and drinking and whooping, although early reviews say the show was way too long and kind of blah, especially without President Obama in attendance.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is the highest-wattage VIP, just now pausing at the top of an escalator to greet a glut of people in the lobby, as dimunitive Energy Secretary Stephen Chu gets squished in the backlog.

The evening featured lobster panna cotta and seared jumbo scallops, some halfway clever song parodies (the most applauded: "He did it myyy way," sang a Dick Cheney impersonator doing Sinatra referencing Bush) and a whole lot of attention paid to a guy who wasn't even there.

Without the glitz of Michelle and Barack -- the first chief exec since Grover Cleveland to skip the Gridiron in the first year of his presidency -- everything felt a little second-tier. Still, the guest list featured some nice Cabinetage: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner (who left the event immediately after the song that mocked him), Defense Secretary Robert Gates (biggest security detail besides Biden's), Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (the butt of at least five jokes, four of which mocked his infamous pottymouth), senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and ambassador to the UN Susan Rice.

Also: Dr. Jill Biden (uber-hot, as always, in a shoulderless, sleeveless ivory gown), four senators, two justices of the Supreme Court (John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy), at least three mayors (Bloomberg of New York, Villaraigosa of Los Angeles and Fenty of Washington) and three other governors (including former struggling actress and current Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm, who roasted tablemate Schwarzenegger during her speech: "Like Arnold, I never made it as an actor").

See the full updated Gridiron story online here and in print Monday.

-- Dan Zak

By The Reliable Source  |  March 21, 2009; 11:45 PM ET
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I can wait for all the self-important journos to complete their moments of unwarranted fame. One would wish they were good enough to really do some original reporting on, say, the financial crisis, except to feed on the same nuggets of news allocated to them, or better yet, silently piggy back on someone else's story as if it were their own. When you boil it down, there is hardly any original, proactive reporting of the financial crisis. Which is probably not a topic that was broached at the Grid.

Posted by: axolotl | March 22, 2009 7:24 AM | Report abuse

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