In Washington, the president is like the weather: An unpredictable force of nature always poised to thwart your commute with his motorcades – or your parties with his speeches.

“The TV will be on,” promised pundit Margaret Carlson in a follow-up email to her invitation to a Tuesday night party. “Please note,” urged the folks from CNN, who were hosting their own long-planned festivities that night, “President Obama’s address to the nation will be aired live inside the event.”

Guests at CNN’s “Crossfire” party watch the president’s Syria speech. (Amy Argetsinger / The Washington Post)

What, worried your wonk guests would bail? Carlson, whose party toasted PR exec Emily Lenzner’s new job at Atlantic Media, noted that these things sometimes happen in D.C. – at New Year’s, it was the fiscal cliff debates. (She ended up turning the TV off: Too early for the Syria speech, and no one cared to watch the pre-game.)

At the Carnegie Library to celebrate its “Crossfire” relaunch, CNN extended the party to 10 p.m., so guests could sit tight and watch rather than rush off. And after the president left the screen – why, look, wasn’t that “Crossfire’s” Newt Gingrich and Stephanie Cutter, evacuated from their own party to pull a second on-air shift for post-speech commentary? Seemed to be what they were talking about anyway — though by then, the hosts had already cranked up dance music again.

More Reliable Source: Miss America; “Homeland” premiere; Jimmy Kimmel; Alec Ross; Clinton Foundation; Neil Young; Gerald Rafshoon; Kim Jong Eun; Australian ambassador