Mitt? He Really Packs a Punch Line!

Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Thursday, April 17, 2008

Another media dinner! The calendar is crammed with them lately -- from the various foundation benefits to last Friday's Newseum gala to the climactic White House Correspondents' Association dinner next week -- and once you get past the novelty of seeing Tim Russert in a tux, you may feel trapped in the greenroom of the damned.

So last night, when CBS political news director Steve Chaggaris took the podium at the Radio & Television Correspondents' Association dinner and started blathering about the 2008 race, our beef-or-fish?-filled stomachs sank just a little . . .

But wait! Who was this rushing the stage? Why, it was surprise guest Mitt Romney, commandeering the mike with his own take on why his campaign tanked:

  • "There weren't as many Osmonds as I thought."
  • "I got tired of the corkscrew landings under sniper fire."
  • "As a lifelong hunter, I didn't want to miss the start of varmint season."
  • "Word leaked out that nobody had bothered to search my passport files."
  • "I took a bad fall at a campaign rally and broke my hair."

Ha! Maybe not quite as insane (or polarizing) as last year's surprise shtick -- MC Karl Rove grudgingly rapping with a couple of improv comics -- but a welcome kick in the pants anyway.

"There are so many dinners. My goal was to set us apart a little bit," said Chaggaris, who chaired the gathering at the Hilton Washington. "If we can do this every year, we can show them it's as good if not better than the White House correspondents' dinner."

Next up, the comedic stylings of Dick Cheney, standing in for President Bush, who was having a dinner in honor of the pope. The veep riffed on global warming, "or as I prefer to call it, spring." But seriously: "Every time I'm rushed to the hospital I insist on a hybrid ambulance."

And how about that Hillary Clinton? "She's made a lot of mistakes. She confused the Bosnian trip with the time I took her hunting." Bada-boom.

The closer was comedian Mo Rocca, who jabbed at the newcomers in the room: "Any bloggers here? Don't cheer, just rattle your inhalers and the keys to your parents' house."

After a couple of gibes at Cheney's expense that left the vice president visibly uncomfortable, Rocca joked, "This must be sheer torture for you. Um, I mean, sheer enhanced interrogation."

From Martha Stewart, a Concern for the Ages

Thought you knew everything about Martha Stewart you really needed to know? Domestic perfectionist, marketing genius, convicted felon? Check, check, check. But it turns out she's an expert on getting old, too.

The 66-year-old businesswoman was the star witness at yesterday's Senate Special Committee on Aging because . . . well, because her mother, Martha Kostyra, lived to a robust 93 (she died last fall). "She did 40 segments on my television programs," Stewart testified, adding that her mom gave seniors "lots of hope they could age gracefully." Last year, the TV star founded the Martha Stewart Center for Living at N.Y.C.'s Mount Sinai Hospital in her mother's honor.

Stewart (navy pantsuit, gray shell, pearl necklace) discussed the problems of a growing elderly population with too few caregivers. She also revealed that she works seven days a week but made time to see mom once a week (sent the driver to pick her up), is writing a handbook for caregivers, and is launching a magazine for women over 50. (Homemade wrinkle cream? A good thing?)

The senators, led by Chairman Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), were flattering and polite. "Thank you for leading the way," said Ken Salazar (D-Colo.). Even the Code Pink war protesters in the back of Dirksen 562 were ladylike quiet and held pink homemade banners. So crafty. So Martha.


"I'll shake your hand! I'm not the Pope -- although my mom thinks I am."

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier, cheered by Pope watchers as she stopped by to oversee security on the motorcade route on M Street in Georgetown yesterday. according to first-hand witness Brian Noyes, former magazine art director

"I'm a huge fan of gays. They love me; I love them. They consider me kind of a gay icon, which they've labeled me as."

Tori Spelling in an interview with Reuters promoting her new romantic comedy, "Kiss the Bride," which she swears the gays will just love. The showbiz scion/former "90210" star also says she officiated at the wedding of two gay fans last year. All right, all right, Tori, we believe you!

© 2008 The Washington Post Company