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Virginia Politics
Posted at 03:14 PM ET, 04/30/2012

McDonnell has wonky time at White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) had to overcome a bummer of a seat assignment to enjoy himself at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. Ditto for Sen. Mark Warner (D).


Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell at a breakfast in Reston in February. (Cliff Owen - AP)
They were seated together.

“Of all the people in all the world, I sit next to Mark Warner,” McDonnell said in Richmond Monday when asked about last weekend’s star-studded event. “Both of us were disappointed.”

Not because the Republican governor and Democratic senator don’t like each other. “We know each other,” McDonnell explained.

McDonnell nevertheless had a great time. (The jury’s still out on Warner, whose office did not immediately return a call seeking comment.)

“It’s the most eclectic and interesting group of people under one roof that I think that gets assembled,” McDonnell said. “The politicians are gawking at the actresses and actors, and vice versa. And the media’s just having a ball watching both interact. Each thinks the other lives in this parallel universe that is surreal. The difference is, the actors go back and pretend. We gotta go back to the real world and actually balance budgets and get stuff done.”

So did McDonnell manage to meet any celebrities?

“I had dinner with the chairman of Google, who’s a very fascinating guy here, Eric Schmidt,” he said. “I had a Harvard Ph.D. professor, [Lisa Randall], who was trying to reconcile quantum physics with the theory of relativity. We had a very interesting discussion. ... I had chats with people like [Chicago Mayor] Rahm Emanuel and others that I don’t get to see very often.”

Yeah, yeah. But no hobnobbing with George Clooney? Jimmy Kimmel? Or even Uggie, the dog from “The Artist”?

“I didn’t meet any [celebrities],” McDonnell said. “I saw a couple of them. I met a lot of the politicos actually ... the ambassadors and other governors and senators and other people like that. I was more the policy wonk than chasing the glamour.”

By  |  03:14 PM ET, 04/30/2012

 
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