Walking Wounded

John McCaslin

4/28/2008 10:29:32 AM - John McCaslin

"People keep coming up to me and asking, 'Are you OK? Are you OK?' "

Or so an amused Katie Couric told us at Saturday evening's White House Correspondents' Association dinner, referring to the myriad reports of late that she might be abandoning the anchor chair of "The CBS Evening News" later this year — well before her five-year contract expires — because of the newscast's record-low viewer ratings.

Fox in henhouse

"Hookers and politicians — it's a match made in heaven," explains Dennis Hof, owner of the Bunny Ranch — the largest legally operated house of prostitution in the nation and now in its third season of being featured on HBO — as his reason for attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.

Meanwhile, at John McLaughlin's annual rooftop brunch yesterday at the Hay Adams Hotel, Mr. Hof told us that during the dinner "I spotted several of my customers," two of whom e-mailed him yesterday morning and "thanked me for not walking up to them to say hello."

During yesterday's brunch, Mr. Hof presented the longtime host of "The McLaughlin Group," a former Catholic priest need we recall, with a "VIP pass" to the Bunny Ranch.

Mr. McLaughlin, who was at the event with his wife, took the pass in good humor.

Late and early

"I hope he hurries up. I've got three sermons tomorrow, and it's already past my bedtime."

Such was the late-night assessment of Bishop Harry Jackson Jr., senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in the Washington region and author of the Black Contract with America on Moral Values, who couldn't wait for George W. Bush to deliver his final remarks as president to the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.

Baseball guy

"I know you! I know you! You don't give me enough credit," President Bush told Ward 2 D.C. Council member Jack Evans, who introduced himself by name to the commander-in-chief at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.

"I've met the president three or four times before, and all he ever wants to talk about is baseball," noted Mr. Evans, who worked very hard to bring professional baseball — and the Washington Nationals — back to the nation's capital.

Two thumbs up

"Best entertainment in a long time," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said of Craig Ferguson, the Scottish-born host of CBS' "The Late Late Show" and featured entertainer of Saturday's White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.

Arguably one of the comedian's better lines came after he asked President Bush how he would pass the time once he leaves office. "You could look for a job with more vacation time," he suggested, referring to Mr. Bush's history of escaping Washington for extended periods of time.

Sharing himself

Speaking of John McLaughlin, his 26-year association with NBC and WRC-TV Channel 4 in Washington came to an end yesterday, as both "The McLaughlin Group" and "John McLaughlin's One on One" will now move to CBS and WUSA-TV Channel 9 while still airing on more than 300 PBS stations around the country.

"I've corrupted NBC for 25 years, it's now time to corrupt another network," the talkmeister told us at his rooftop brunch yesterday.

Armstrong and Al

Black broadcaster Armstrong Williams makes his debut at 9 p.m. tonight on XM Satellite Radio's Power 169, adding its first conservative talk show to the "all-black-liberal" lineup — as Mr. Williams refers to it.

"I was honored and ready to meet the challenge when approached by XM officials in March," he told us yesterday, adding that his first week of shows will feature prominent Bush administration officials, members of Congress, celebrities and entertainers.

"Special envoy to the European Union Ambassador C. Boyden Gray; world renowed neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson; NAACP chair Julian Bond; former HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson; fellow talk-show host Rev. Al Sharpton ... , Stedman Graham and many more," was the guest list Mr. Williams rattled off.