Michael Phelps and Denzel Washignton at a congressional breakfast for the Boys & Girls Club earlier on Wednesday. (Courtesy of Boys & Girls Clubs of America)

An occasional look at the celebrities who come to Washington to talk up a favorite cause. Tuesday’s visitor: Michael Phelps.

Venue: National Press Club.

Cause: The Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Credentials: Twenty-two Olympic medals.

Backup: Boys & Girls Club President Jim Clark; the CEOs of Wendy’s and Tupperware; pop star Ashanti. Oh, and a fellow named Denzel Washington.

Washington gives Phelps the Champion of Youth Award at the breakfast. (Courtesy of Boys & Girls Clubs of America)

How he looked: Not as polished as Ashanti (cream suit, towering updo), but who could? Like a law firm junior associate — dark suit, salmon tie, gold tie pin — except for the pirate facial scruff.

How he sounded: Not as commanding as Denzel, but who would? A little raw but earnest and sincere. (“If you put your mind to it, anything is possible.”) Spoke without notes.

Soundbite: Phelps did his best, but Washington, a veteran celebvocate for the Boys & Girls Clubs, stole the show with his give-back message. “You will never see a U-Haul behind a hearse,” the Oscar winner said. “Whatever you’ve acquired in this life, you can’t take it with you. The Egyptians tried that. They got robbed.”

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