Capitol Hill, stars shine at dinner

Published May 4, 2012

WASHINGTON — Hollywood and Washington went on a romantic date Saturday night in the basement ballroom of the Washington Hilton, where more than 2,000 politicians, celebrities, journalists and hangers-on dined on crabmeat terrine and chocolate truffles and belly-laughed at remarks delivered by President Barack Obama during the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner.

"My fellow Americans, we gather during a historic anniversary," Obama said during his after-dinner speech, seeming to allude to the killing of Osama bin Laden. "Last year at this time — in fact, on this very weekend — we finally delivered justice to one of the world's most notorious individuals." At which point a photo of Donald Trump — who spent much of last spring questioning Obama's citizenship — flashed on giant screens.

The seating mixed elites from different industries. Kate Hudson was next to former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Sofia Vergara of Modern Family and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, cracked each other up and posed for photos together.

The dinner is perhaps the only venue on the planet where erstwhile presidential candidate Rick Santorum would snap a photo of eternally addled starlet Lindsay Lohan. Which he did.

"I have the nuclear codes," Obama said in a voice-over that lampooned his hot-mike moment with Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev this month. "What am I doing telling knock-knock jokes to Kim Kardashian?"

And, "Newt, there's still time, man!" to Gingrich, encouraging him to keep his presidential campaign running.

The night's featured funnyman was Jimmy Kimmel. Proceeds from the White House Correspondents' Association dinner go toward scholarships for aspiring journalists and awards for distinction in the profession. This year's award winners are ABC'S Jake Tapper, Scott Wilson of the Washington Post and reporting teams from Politico and the Associated Press.