White House Correspondents' Dinner


On Saturday night, we headed to the Washington Hilton to join the fun at the reception hosted by National Review before the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld and Me

One of the Big Moments of the night: Rumsfeld and Me. That sounds like a Michael Moore movie, doesn’t it? Yes, well, Michael Moore would not have been happy about our conversation. (And I didn’t know Rumsfeld was carrier-qualified.)

So who is the mystery woman, chatting with my husband?? It’s our lovely, charming (and self-effacing) hostess, none other than K-LO, Kathryn Lopez from NRO. . .

Kathryn Lopez and Jack

Thanks, Kathryn, for a great party!

Then, a double-take, (this happens a lot at one of these events) and, yes, it was indeed Dr. James Dobson and his wife, Shirley.

Jack and Charmaine with Dr. and Mrs. James Dobson

We told them how much we had appreciated the Justice Sunday simulcast, and expressed our mutual concern about the coming conflagration over judicial nominees. . .

. . .and. . .was that Al Franken?? Sure enough. It was. Nope, no pic with him.

Too busy talking with more interesting people like Jonah Goldberg and his beautiful and brainy wife, Jessica Gavora. (Sorry, since this is a family-oriented blog, I can’t reveal the joke that made the Fair Jessica laugh. . . ) You can also find Jessica’s best-selling book on Title IX on the left side-bar.

Jonah Goldberg and Jessica Gavora

We also ran into Michelle Easton, President of the Clare Boothe Luce Institute, who introduced us to Celia Sandys, who is Winston Churchill’s granddaughter. Celia told us that, while England tends to . . .

. . .favor the rule that “children should be seen and not heard” (I was raised on that one too in the American South), her grandfather wanted the children to practice their conversational skills at the dinner table. (Imagine practicing conversation with Winston Churchill!)

Celia was 25 by the time Churchill died, so she was fortunate enough to know him well. Celia has written a book about her grandfather’s leadership skills; direct link to buy it over on the left sidebar.

With Celia Sandys, Churchill’s granddaughter and Michelle Easton

While talking with Celia, saw Stanley Kurtz, an NRO contributor, who is one of my favorite writers and Noemie Emery, from the Weekly Standard, another on my list of don’t-miss writers. And Bill Kristol. And Paul Marshall and Nina Shea, from Freedom House.

And, of course, Rich Lowry. Wish I’d gotten a picture of him as evidence, because, contrary to his own self-description, he looked very put-together and dapper.

A little on the atmospherics. . .

You know you’ve almost reached the Hilton, when you round the corner and see the demonstrators. Here are the folks from FreeRepublic.com protesting liberal bias in the media. A refreshing change from anti-war protestors.


The funny thing about a celebrity-laden event like this one is the varying degrees of famousness. Walking around from reception to reception is a little like traversing Dante’s circles of hell. Well, except everyone is having a pretty good time, so that analogy breaks down.

Anyway, even surrounded by extremely well-known people — hey, there’s what’s-her-name from American Idol! — you still come upon little circles that look like a fight on a school playground. You know something is happening somewhere in the middle, but you can’t see what it is. All around the outside of the ring, people are holding cameras straight up in the air, aimed inward, attempting to get the shot. Here’s an example: Barack Obama is somewhere in the middle of this scrum. Can’t see ‘im though. You’ll have to take my word for it.

Barack Obama, he’s in there somewhere. . .

And here’s the red carpet. Unfortunately, we went through the front door, not knowing that even ordinary mortals like us could walk through. There was a Secret Service agent standing guarding this entrance, but he kept moving to get out of my picture! I told him the picture was better with him in it, but he just laughed.


Then, finally, after hours in my glass slippers, it was time to head home in the drizzling rain. We had parked about three-quarters of a mile away, after learning the hard way last year that it is impossible to get anywhere near the Hilton in a motorized vehicle for this event. (The security for the President’s arrival ties up traffic.)

It had been a gorgeous night earlier in the evening, before the rain, so we had walked from where we parked. But now, facing rain and with me tottering on tired feet, we ducked into Rite Aid and invested in a pair of super-fly pink flip-flops. Then we headed off happily in search of my pumpkin. . .

Where’s the Pumpkin?

Thanks again, Kathryn. It was great fun.


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