Saturday marked Washington’s comedic event of the spring, the 123rd annual Gridiron Club black-tie dinner, featuring satirical skits from 600 of D.C.’s heavyweight journalists and politicians. The four-hour dinner at the downtown Renaissance Hotel even included a country-and-western-style musical number by President Bush, who was dressed in a tuxedo and cowboy hat.
According to Politico, the president brought two backup singers, Gunnery Sgt. Kevin Bennear and Staff Sgt. Sara Dell’Omo, and rehearsed secretly with club music director Col. Michael Coburn at the White House.
Singing about his eventual return to Texas, the president crooned, “I spend my days clearing brush, clear my head of all the fuss, like that big fuss you made over Harriet and Brownie. Down the lane I look and here comes Scooter, finally free of the prosecutor. It's good to touch the brown, brown grass of home.” (As reported by the Reliable Source, some members of the audience even flicked open lighters, handed out discreetly by Karl Rove and others.)
But that wasn’t all there was to see, according to The Washington Post. Clarence Page of The Chicago Tribune and club secretary Cheryl Arvidson evoked Rep. Dennis Kucinich and wife Elizabeth, singing the duo “I Got You, Babe”; Helen Thomas, dressed as a 19th-century schoolmarm, mimicked Condoleezza Rice meeting with foreign heads of state; and singer and club member Mike Ryan, in a full chain-mail get-up, belted his version of “O-bama-lot,” featuring PBS’s Judy Woodruff as Guinevere.
The presidential candidates provided quite a bit of material for the evening (on McCain’s age, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas joked, “They say the presidency ages the man. So why not elect the man who has a head start?”), but the three were no-shows, sending proxies to take their place.