Behind MSM Lines: MKH at the Radio/TV Correspondents Dinner

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Apr 17, 2008 1:00 AM
I just got home from the Radio and TV Correspondents' Dinner, a black-tie Washington affair that's essentially the little sister of the famed White House correspondents' dinner. I was a guest of the great folks at Fox Business Channel (thanks, guys!).

Best surprise of the night? Guess who I was seated next to?

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That's right. Mr. and Mrs. Kucinich and I were chatting it up. They really are like a pair of teenagers in love. I imagined all the articles about them were exaggerated, but I asked them how they were enjoying their time back in D.C., off the trail, and they both emphasized that it was great because they get to spend so much time together...right before whispering in each other's ears.

Dennis Kucinich is working on such projects as "ending the war" and getting the "international community involved" to do it. I really enjoyed Elizabeth's company, who is just as pretty in person as in pictures. She and I both bemoaned occasions on which one has to get so dressed up but is given no opportunity to dance. Vegan and lactose intolerant, each ate a plateful of fruit and spurned the entrees.

Dick Cheney was the keynote speaker and Mo Rocca (of "The Daily Show" and "Iron Chef") was the entertainment. Cheney was much more funny than Rocca, though Rocca did have a good zinger about the Radio and TV Correspondents' Dinner being the MSNBC to the White House Correspondents' Dinner's CNN.

But before I get to Cheney, let me mention that Mitt Romney started off the show with quite a funny bit, himself. As a speaker was doing the intro, mentioning how McCain had run away with the nomination, Romney walked up behind him and grabbed the mike to give his Top 10 Reasons He Dropped Out of the Race:
10. There weren't quite as many Osmonds as we calculated.
9. I was tired of all the corkscew landings under sniper fire.
8. As a lifelong hunter, I didn't want to miss the start of varmint season.
7. There wasn't room for two Christian leaders in the race. (This got a lot of noise, because I believe Huckabee was supposed to be in the room. Not sure if he actually was.)
6. I got the news that no one bothered to search my passport files.
5. I wanted to get fat, grow a beard, and try for the Nobel Prize. (Lots of disapproving murmurs on this one. I laughed.)
4. It was time to take off dark suit and tie and kick back in a light suit and tie.
3. As soon as Ann figured out I wasn't going to win, my fundraising dried up.
2. On the trail, I took a bad fall and broke my hair.
1. There was a flaw in our theory, "As Utah goes, so goes the nation."
Great stuff.

Cheney followed up with a very solid performance, introduced by a video greeting from the President, who usually attends these dinners, but was busy with the Pope tonight.

Cheney walked up to the podium, put on a fishing hat and sunglasses, stood silently for a second, and delivered his deadpan line: "You wouldn't believe how many people want to go fishing with me these days."
Referring to the Pope, he said he "spent the day with one infallible authority and now I get to spend tonight with 1,000 of them."

"I'm reducing my carbon footprint, bigtime. Every time I'm rushed to the hospital, I demand a hybrid ambulance."

"I asked Lynne if she minded that I'm often referred to as Darth Vader. 'Not at all,' she said. 'It humanizes you.'"

"I'm honored to be here with Mo Rocca. He used to host a show called 'Things I Hate About You.' I think that show's still on, but now it's called 'Countdown with Keith Olbermann.'"

In reference to Jeremiah Wright, "If Obama becomes President , you're not gonna wanna miss those prayer breakfasts."

"Don't blame Hillary for her story about Tuzla. It was a simple mistake. She just got it mixed up with the time I took her hunting."

On Hillary's shot-taking on the trail, "Looks like she replaced Mark Penn with Johnnie Walker. Now, that 3 a.m. phone call's going straight to voicemail."
After the dinner, I wandered around to a few after parties, but alas, could not find David Gregory dancing anywhere.

Update: Video, here.