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Rove Raps At Radio-TV Follies

Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), whose gun is in police custody, wore a sheepish grin. Potential presidential candidate Fred Thompson's wife, Jeri, wore a conspicuously conservative crewneck dress.

M.C. Rove
Words, and even this photo, do this scene no justice. You'll just have to watch the video. (AP Photo)

And presidential consiglieri Karl Rove? He wore an alter ego.

Rove, well aware that these affairs are overly produced, became part of the headline entertainment at last night's annual Radio and Television Correspondents' Association dinner. He was cajoled on stage by the comedians from the ABC show "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" And he flubbed his first line.

"And what's your name?" asked the comedians, Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood.

Rove's response: "Peter Fitzgerald."

Of course, he meant Patrick Fitzgerald, the off-the-reservation federal prosecutor who convicted former Veep chief of staff Scooter Libby (and hauled Rove before the grand jury five times). Not Peter Fitzgerald, the maverick former Republican senator from Illinois who played a strong role in selecting the other Fitzgerald (of no relation to the senator) to be a U.S. attorney.

The improv actors asked Rove what he liked to do in his spare time. "Tear the tops off of small animals," Rove replied. But Rove wouldn't bite when the comedians asked him what nickname the president had given him. The answer is "Turd Blossom," but Rove wouldn't say it to the assembled crowd of several hundred.

The improv skit quickly turned from random and uncomfortably weird to riotous when Mochrie and Sherwood led Rove in a rap song in which Rove played a rapper -- "M.C. Rove" -- and danced and hopped around on stage. He got really into it, at one point pulling out his cell phone and blackberry, taking multi-tasking to new heights.

The comedians dragged NBC correspondent David Gregory on stage, along with an NBC producer, to be a back-up singer and dancer. You can watch the video here. (Yes, we know, the cringe factor goes way up when reporters who cover the White House dance on stage with Rove & Co.)

Before Rove got his moment in the spotlight, President Bush had the room in stitches with a self-deprecating schtick.

"A year ago, my approval rating was in the 30s, my nominee for the Supreme Court had just withdrawn, and my vice president had shot someone," Bush said. The room roared. "Ah, those were the good ol' days," Bush added.

The president took jabs at pols in and out of the room. He thanked Sen. Webb, whose aide was arrested this week for trying to tote the senator's loaded handgun into a Senate office building, for "providing security." And he deadpanned that the reason 2008 presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) didn't attend the dinner was because: "Not enough press."

Behind the scenes, former senator and current "Law and Order" actor Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), who is being wooed by GOP wise men to run for president, sat with colleagues at ABC News, where he's a radio commentator. His wife, Jeri, certainly looked the role of a presidential candidate's spouse, smiling and wearing an atypically conservative black dress, showing no skin below the neck, unlike what she wore last year to another black-tie dinner.

Hmmm, is the new more subdued look a clue to Thompson's plans?

By Mary Ann Akers  |  March 29, 2007; 9:25 AM ET
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