Correction to This Article
An earlier version of this article misspelled the name of the editor of the Virginia Tech student newspaper. Her name is Amie Steele.

At This Dinner, A Dollop of Vitriol

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, April 22, 2007

Global warming was the talking point last night at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner when singer Sheryl Crow and "Inconvenient Truth" producer Laurie David walked over to Table 92 at the Hilton Washington to chat with Karl Rove -- and the resulting exchange was suitably heated.

"I am floored by what I just experienced with Karl Rove," David reports. "I went over to him and said, 'I urge you to take a new look at global warming.' He went zero to 100 with me. . . . I've never had anyone be so rude."

Rove's version: "She came over to insult me and she succeeded."

Things got so hot that Crow stepped in to defuse the situation and then got into it with Rove herself. "You work for me," she told the presidential adviser, according to singed bystanders. "No," was his response. "I work for the American people."

News of the dust-up filtered quickly through the room. Some witnesses said David was very aggressive with Rove; a shaken Crow later said that Rove was "combative and unresponsive."

Sanjaya Malakar, the shy, slender, 17-year-old "American Idol" reject, was at his table when a tall, middle-aged man stopped by to ask for an autograph. The boy's hosts, from People magazine, tried to shoo him away.

"We are trying to let him eat," they explained.

The man protested: "But I'm the governor of New York."

And so Eliot Spitzer got his autograph. It was that kind of night. It always is.

Larry David, the grouchy-comic creator of "Seinfeld" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm," held court from a prized front-row seat just feet away from President Bush while Alberto Gonzales and Paul Wolfowitz were relegated to tables in the Outer Siberia of the ballroom.

The evening took a turn toward the somber when the president took the stage. After a videotaped message from David Letterman ("Top 10 George W. Bush Moments"), he said, "In light of this week's tragedy at Virginia Tech I've decided not to be funny."

And with that he handed the lectern over to Rich Little. "I'm not here to make any political points," the veteran comic said. "I'm a nightclub entertainer who tells a lot of dumb stupid jokes. I'm just here tonight trying to make enough money to get my relatives out of Canada."

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2007 The Washington Post Company