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Hotline's Latest Edition / WHCA DINNER

It's Been Real

April 28, 2008

Pres. Bush "poked fun at his potential successors" at the annual White House Correspondents Assn dinner on 4/26, "expressing surprise that none of them were in the audience." Bush: "Senator [John] McCain's not here. ... He probably wanted to distance himself from me a little bit. You know, he's not alone. Jenna's moving out too." Bush, on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama: "Hillary Clinton couldn't get in because of sniper fire and Senator Obama's at church."

Bush "admitted to being 'a little wistful' in his final appearance at the dinner, showing video clips of his routines from previous years." And "he finished by conducting the U.S. Marine Band in a medley of patriotic marches" (Simmons, AP, 4/26).

Lights, Camera, Action

The "biggest catfight" at the WHCA dinner "was between Lauren Conrad and Heidi Montag," both stars of MTV's "The Hills." The New York Post "reported last week that Montag would not make the dinner, but there she was, much to the surprise of Conrad."

 

Conrad: "Oh, she's here?" More Conrad, asked if the event would bring the two rivals together: "Uh, no. ... Not a chance. Thank God it's a big room." Montag, asked if she might reconcile with Conrad: "No, I don't think so" (Gavin/Dufour, "Yeas and Nays," Washington Examiner, 4/28).

Among the other highlights from this weekend's dinner and after-parties:

• Down at the front of the ballroom, near the dais with the Bushes and others, were "the prime tables." Actors Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck were seated with WH counselor Ed Gillespie. And it was "like a paparazzi scene down there with so many camera phone and real camera flashes. They easily were the stars of the night."

• "The story about" Pam Anderson's attendance at the dinner "is that the whole reason she attended was so she could get a meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. She hoped that after meeting them they'd help advocate for PETA" (Schroeder Mullins, "Shenanigans," Politico, 4/28).

• Obama supporter Kal Penn, of "Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay" fame, "was a surprise late addition to the guest list." Penn, who said he is now "a policy wonk," said he was "trying to sway a couple superdelegates" while in town.

• Fitness guru Denise Austin approached "Wedding Crashers" star Bradley Cooper during the dinner, and asked: "Why aren't you drinking? Are you an alcoholic or something?" Cooper, who was drinking water: "Actually, I am."

• Donatella Versace, on DC's fashion: "It's not bad. ... I like how every one uses strong colors." Versace's Bmost fashionable pol? Obama. Versace: "And I think Michelle Obama's just beautiful" ("Yeas and Nays," Washington Examiner, 4/28).

• "Conservative family values guy" Ralph Reed was spotted "double-fisting drinks at the Bloomberg after party" ("Yeas and Nays," Washington Examiner, 4/28).

• Also at the Bloomberg after-party, actor Colin Firth "stood outside in the pouring rain, arguing with apologetic event publicists who denied him entry to the over-capacity party." But inside, "things weren't much better for celebs who did get let in, like Rob Lowe, Eric Dane, Aaron Eckhart, BJ Novak, Donatella Versace, Rupert Everett and "Gossip Girl" star Ed Westwick. A source: "The rain was leaking through the roof, and there were buckets on the floor to catch the drops."

• At Capitol File's after-party at the Newseum, Ashlee Simpson's fiance/Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz, who DJed the event, "kept it classy" by shouting: "I just want to thank my girlfriend's vagina!" (Johnson, "Page Six," New York Post, 4/28). Meanwhile, Wentz was overheard at the dinner saying: "We really wanted to meet Anderson Cooper tonight" ("Shenanigans," Politico, 4/28).

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