domingo, 1 de fevereiro de 2009

Politico's behind the scenes look at the Alfalfa dinner

THE NATION'S ESTABLISHMENT (Don Graham, Chairman Harman, Michael Dell, Henry Kravitz) lined up last night to touch the garment of President Obama, or at least shake his hand, at the 96th anniversary dinner of The Alfalfa Club, one of the capital's most secretive and prestigious organizations. Everyone was there: George H.W. Bush, Sandra Day O'Connor, Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, U2 drummer Larry Mullen Jr., hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons. It's closed to press and off the record, but friends of Playbook report:

--The line to greet the President at the head table at the Capital Hilton was a breach of Alfalfa protocol, but was the latest reflection of the new President's star power. Even Fred Malek, the McCain's campaign's national finance chairman, joined the queue. The well-wishers KEPT BUMPING THE CHAIR OF SENATOR McCAIN, who was on the floor, two seats away from the head table.

--Senator McCain presented the Alfalfa Party's candidate for president of the United States: 'Vernon E. Jordan Jr. – the Washington insider who has advised every president since Lyndon Johnson. Gee, I wish he would have advised ME.'

--Chief Justice Roberts absolved himself of the botched oath-giving by offering to swear in Alfalfa's new president, then doing so WITH GIANT CUE CARDS.--From excerpts of the President's remarks released by the White House: 'This dinner began almost one hundred years ago as a way to celebrate the birthday of General Robert E. Lee. If he were here with us tonight, the General would be 202 years old -- and very confused. ... Now, this hasn't been reported yet, but it was actually Rahm's idea to do the swearing-in ceremony again. Of course, for Rahm, EVERY day is a swearing-in ceremony. But don't believe what you read. Rahm Emanuel is a real sweetheart. No, it's true. Every week the guy takes a little time away to give back to the community. Just last week he was at a local school, teaching profanity to poor children.'

--The President's great unreleased lines: 'I'm a casual admirer of Abraham Lincoln. ... [He should have seen] my inaugural: He never drew crowds like that. ... [To Senator Lieberman] No hard feelings because of the election. My door is always open. Feel free to drop by ANY SATURDAY AFTERNOON. ... [To Gov. Palin] I never expected you to be PALLING AROUND with THIS crowd. I want to congratulate you on your Golden Globe for '30 Rock.' .... [To Vernon Jordan] Just because a guy can give great speeches doesn't mean he's going to be a great president. ... I see Chief Justice Roberts is here to administer my daily oath of office. ... [On the similarity between Cheney and Biden] Dick Cheney is a man of few words. Joe Biden is also vice president. ... [On the delay in getting a dog] The labradoodle we picked has some problems with back taxes. ... [On 'a better way for our time' than blaming each other and passing the buck] I ask you to summon that spirit once more, and make future generations proud of what we did WHEN WE WERE TESTED BY HISTORY.'

--The Alfalfa Dinner has the nation's longest head table – 45 spots, including the First Lady, Mr. Emanuel, Speaker Pelosi, Mayor Fenty, plus various ambassadors, Cabinet secretaries, generals, admirals, senators, governors and Supreme Court justices.

--Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.), the new Alfalfa president: 'Never before have so many, who have accomplished so much, traveled so far -- in coach. .... This is an august gathering. A newspaper recently published a list of the 25 people most responsible for the global economic meltdown. You know who you are. And it's good to see you here tonight. ... I plan to follow Barack Obama's model, and diminish the role of the Vice President. ... If our president didn't know then, he sure does now: Joe Biden is the reason Amtrak invented the quiet car. ... Also, I'm a little frustrated: I didn't get to pick my VP. Instead, a group of people walked into my office and told me who it would be. Now I know how John McCain felt.'

--Sen. Joe Lieberman, outgoing president, concluded his introduction by saying: 'I have the high honor to ... issue an order that neither my mother, nor my father, nor my rabbi ever dreamed I would be able to issue: BRING ON THE LOBSTER.' (That would be the lobster Navarin in puff pastry with royal trumpet mushrooms and star anis.)

--More from Senator Lieberman: 'We had hoped Vice President Cheney would be here tonight. I hope it's not his back injury that's keeping him away. Apparently, he hurt it moving some things out of his office. Personally, I had no idea that waterboards were so heavy. ... I was so close [to being McCain's vice president]: As close as Alaska is to Russia. ... I hear that President Obama will soon be visiting the Washington offices of the New York Times as part of his search for a new house of Worship ... On the other hand, I appreciated your humility when you chose not to arrive at your Inaugural ceremony by walking across the reflecting pool..'

--Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) is the group's new vice president.

--Mr. Malek was the host for Sarah Palin, who was looking relaxed and hot. At the pre-dinner reception by Allbritton Communications Co. (Politico's parent), she towered over Don Rumsfeld as they spoke.

--Upon spying super-lawyer Robert Barnett, one of his well-off clients got down on one knee in genuflection.

Nenhum comentário: