May 2, 2010 – At the White House Correspondents’ Dinner Saturday, there was gridlock on the red carpet with the number of high-profile Hollywood celebrities in the nation’s capital. Could this turnout be another impact of the “Obama effect”?
Saturday was a star-studded day for folks inside the beltway. For me, it began at the annual White House Correspondents’ Garden Brunch hosted at the home of veteran news producer Tammy Haddad and Ted Greenberg. Other sponsors for the event included Hilary Rosen, David Adler, Jim Courtovictch, Alex Castellanos, BET’s Debra Lee, Steve McMahon and Franco Nuschese.
The summer-like temps made it difficult to stay cool throughout the day, but television and film stars somehow managed to keep cool and look fabulous. I can’t help but mention it appears the number of celebrities invited or seeking to attend this “political” event hit an all-time high. Several of those I spoke with were attending for the first time and attributed their interest in coming to Washington to getting a chance to see the president.
Obama’s presidency appears to be a calling card and few invites are turned down by “A-listers.” Tickets for the dinner are hard to come by and the waiting list appeared to be growing at an alarming rate. It could just be my perception, but it looked like the number of celebs skyrocketed.
The president was the dinner’s headliner and delivered a witty and amusing monologue for the more than 2,500 guests at the Washington Hilton Hotel. Jay Leno delivered an amusing routine as the night’s entertainment and managed to poke fun at the president and Washington politics with ease.
I was able to meet and speak with a number of the Hollywood folks at the garden brunch where the crowd of 300 was much smaller and a little easier to navigate. The charitable event’s honorary chair, Susan Axelrod, wife of Obama adviser David Axelrod, gave brief remarks and thanked everyone for their support. The event raised money for the fight against epilepsy and the Mother’s Day Every Day Campaign, dedicated to eliminating women dying during child birth.
Others in town for the dinner included: Queen Latifah, Morgan Freeman, Common, Chris Tucker, Gayle King and Gabourey Sidibe.