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Correction to This Article
A March 13 Style article on the annual Gridiron Dinner incorrectly described Gridiron President Dick Ryan as the Detroit News's Washington bureau chief; he is the newspaper's senior Washington correspondent. In some editions, the article incorrectly reported that a satirical version of "Sweet Home Alabama" was performed at the dinner and described reaction to it. Such a skit was written, but it was dropped before the final performance. Also, a photo caption identified attendee Mark Shields as Mark Russell.
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Careful, That Dish Is Hot

Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page donned a gold lamé suit and angel wings to lampoon Sen. Barack Obama -- to the tune of Gene Vincent's "Be-Bop-A-Lula." The song pegged him as the Dems' "Be-Bop Messiah."

You want edgy?

This is Washington and the humor is supposed to be polite, so maybe the closest we got to edgy was the country anthem "God Bless the USA" converted into "God and Guns and Gays," as sung by a Heartland Voter:

I support our troops and airmen, 'cause I know that war is hell

And I voted twice for W

'Cause it's a name that I can spell

The Bill of Rights allows me

To bear arms and carry beer

And I support defense of marriage

'Cause I divorced three chicks last year.

By tradition, the president has the final word of the four-hour evening, and Bush did not disappoint. He opened his remarks at the late (for him) hour of 11:15 p.m. with a pointed "Good morning."

After playful digs at John McCain and Donald Rumsfeld and remarking how he was glad to see some good press on his Social Security reform, "most of it from Armstrong Williams," what may have been Bush's best line targeted Bob Shrum, the hapless (0 for 8!) Democratic presidential campaign director.

Bush said he had a sure-fire plan to get troublesome North Korean leader Kim Jong Il out of office.

"Through six-party talks we convince him to hold a presidential election -- and then we send Bob Shrum over to help him."

It wasn't as spiffy as Condi in red, but hey, for Beltway humor, it was a zinger.

After the show, partygoers said the jokes were on point. "A couple were close to the edge," said former secretary of state Colin Powell. "I'm sure some thought they might have been burned, while the rest of us thought they were singed."

For Richardson it was more relief than delight. "I hired jokesters and prepared extensively," he said. "You can't bomb in a big speech like this. I was very nervous beforehand, and now I just need a cigar."

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