I've come across some after hours photos and stories from various events that have CNN staff have attended in the Washington, D.C. area. This one is from last year's White House Correspondents' Association Dinner (WHCAD). The photos & article are from Washington Life and the photos included are from the event, pre & post parties.
ON CELEBRITY CHASING …
BY ED HENRY CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT
Rolling at the CNN pre-party with the unlikely triumvirate of rapper Ludacris, Jeopardy!'s Alex Trebek and Super Bowl-winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was quite interesting given the mob vying for a photo-op with them. But spying Karl Rove dining just a few tables away from Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson definitely added to the intrigue of the dinner. Here were nearly 3,000 newsmakers and journalists rubbing elbows at a time of unprecedented tension between politicians and the press. As a disciple of the late muckraker Jack Anderson, I'm a hard-liner when it comes to standing up for the First Amendment, but what's wrong with socializing with the people we cover for one big night?
There's actually something reassuring about our ability to break bread, despite the blizzard of subpoenas and stakeouts, depositions and suppositions. I sat at the same table with Gen. Michael Hayden. This guy doesn't just collect secrets – he knows how to keep them: We sat together for nearly three hours and he gave not one solitary hint that within days there would be a coup at the CIA resulting in him replacing Porter Goss! I squirmed in my seat when guest comedian Stephen Colbert cracked, "If anyone needs anything for your tables, just speak clearly into your numbers and someone from the NSA will be there shortly."
But I noticed Gen. Hayden chuckling – and I was pleasantly surprised to find him talking about sports teams from his hometown of Pittsburgh instead of wonkery battles in Aspen. I resisted the temptation to join the stampede to George Clooney's table (didn't want to confirm the impression that the journalists put style over substance) so, imagine my surprise when Gen. Hayden suddenly jumped up from his chair and raced across the room. Had the intelligence officer spotted a terrorist? Nope. Gen. Hayden, a quarterback in grade school, had been calculating just the right moment to approach Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger for a handshake – and he was pouncing like a linebacker. Maybe celeb-chasing isn't so bad. You have to like a four-star general wearing his blue-collar roots on the sleeves of his Air Force dress blues.