Barbra Streisand set to return to White House Correspondents’ dinner

April 22, 2013

She’s back! After a long absence, Barbra Streisand will be returning as a celebrity guest to the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner on Saturday.

Streisand with Henry Kissinger at a State Department luncheon in 2011. (Larry Downing/Reuters)

Her rep told us that the star will attend the annual banquet at the Washington Hilton as one of Michael Bloomberg’s guests.

Streisand, as it happens, was one of the first A-list showbiz types to grace the media-political banquet as a guest. The avid Bill Clinton fundraiser caused a sensation when she attended in 1993, back when Hollywood folks were still a novelty at a dinner dominated by official Beltway types and the occasional scandal figure thrown in for flavor. As Roxanne Roberts noted after the May 1993 dinner:

Saturday night’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner wasn’t about the press or the president. One peek at the crush surrounding Table 105 in the Washington Hilton ballroom was ample evidence.

“Now, where is Barbra Streisand?” asked Wolf Blitzer, CNN’s senior White House reporter. “I mean, let’s get our priorities straight.”

Passing by Cabinet secretaries and administration officials, Blitzer beelined for the center of the room, where Streisand was conferring with Gen. Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, about homosexuals in the military. “I’ve been a great fan of yours all my life,” offered Blitzer, who then found himself in an intense political discussion with the diva.

And why not? Streisand, elegant in an off-the-shoulder cream gown, pearls and diamonds, has impressive political credentials: Let’s see … she’s played an activist in more than one movie, raised a bunch of money for Bill Clinton and, she remembered, “I sang for President Kennedy 30 years ago” at this very event. “That’s why I was so excited to come as a guest tonight.” Streisand, escorted by producer Richard Baskin, was a guest of Newsweek.

Of course, that was then. These days, celebrities are packed so dense into the room that it’s hard for any one to stand out. . . . Records aren’t complete, but it appears this will be the first time she’s attended a WHCA dinner since then. Though, of course, she’s been to her share of state dinners and other official Washington events over the decades.

Earlier: White House Correspondents’ dinner: How a little press banquet conquered Washington

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