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At First Lady's Luncheon, Timeless Touches

What do Michelle Obama, Mamie Eisenhower and Blake Lewis have in common? (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak; AP File Photo; PRNewsFoto/ARISTA Records, 19 Recordings)

With all this talk about a modern first lady, it's easy to forget how retro Washington can be sometimes. Case in point: the Congressional Club's annual First Lady's Luncheon yesterday at the Washington Hilton, a tradition that started in 1912.

The tablecloths? Matched the custom-made tote bags created for each guest.

Gift to Michelle Obama? A needlepoint of the White House.

Junior hostesses (daughters and granddaughters of members) were adorably debutant8esque in matching green dresses and hyacinth bouquets.

Paul Pelosi got a huge ovation when he was introduced, but there were few other men in the room, much less VIP husbands like Bill Clinton or Martin Ginsburg.

And, yes, there were a spectacular number of hats.

"I feel like I'm in Mamie Eisenhower's era," whispered one guest.

Except ... who's this? Entertainment by Blake Lewis -- the "American Idol" runner-up from this very century, who did one of his beat-box performances. Cute, but weird.

Before the first lady's remarks to the 2,000 women -- congressional spouses and guests from around the country -- there were 30 minutes of formal introductions: Past club presidents and vice presidents, and wives of administration officials, Supreme Court justices and congressional leaders were escorted down the ballroom runway. Obama (print dress, cap sleeves, bare legs) was the last to emerge and received a standing O.

The first lady opened her speech with a charming update on the family: The kids are settled in and getting good grades, playing soccer on Saturdays and hosting slumber parties. The first mother-in-law has an active social life. And the FIDOTUS?

"I have to say he is the best puppy in the whole wide world," she told the crowd. "I love him to death." Guess who walks Bo? "Even though the kids are supposed to do a lot of the work, I'm still up at 5:15 a.m., taking my dog out. So for everyone who has a child asking for a puppy, you have to want the dog. As I do. I love my Bo."

By The Reliable Source  |  May 1, 2009; 1:04 AM ET
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You know how they say you need a certain amount of hugs, and you need to laugh a certain amount of times each day to be healthy and happy? FIDOTUS gave me enough laughs for the weekend, at least! Thanks for that one, ladies.

Posted by: annieb346 | May 1, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

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