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A-list comes to Washington for White House Correspondents Dinner

UPI News Service, 04/27/2013 

Politics, entertainment and the news media blended in Washington Saturday for what has become called the nerd prom, the White House Correspondents' Dinner.

Actors, filmmakers and musicians attend the event each year as guests of media outlets. South Korean pop star Psy, actress Claire Danes, her actor husband, Hugh Dancy, and "Hawaii Five-O's" Daniel Dae Kim attended this year's event, The Hollywood Reporter said Friday.

DreamWorks Studios executives Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Stacey Snider and Skip Sullivan were seated at the Time Inc. table along with political adviser Andy Spahn, Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas, Bollywood actor Aamir Khan, and U.S. actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus with her husband, Brad Hall, THR said.

President Barack Obama spoke for about 20 minutes, delivering an assortment of jokes, including "I'm not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be," and "My job is to be president. Your job is to keep me humble. Frankly, I think I'm doing my job better."

Speaking of this week's dedication former President George W. Bush's presidential library in Dallas, Obama said he had thought of locating his post-presidential center in the place where he was born, "but I'd rather keep it in the United States."

He made light of the National Republican Committee's plan to reach out to minorities, saying: "I can think of one minority they could start with. Think of me as a trial run -- see how it goes."

Ending on a serious note, Obama said recent days have been difficult "for too many of our citizens" -- citing Boston, where three people were killed in a bomb attack at the Boston Marathon; Texas, where 15 people were killed in a fertilizer plant explosion, and the Midwest, which is struggling to recover from widespread flooding.

The President singled out first responders, National Guard troops and law enforcement personnel, and credited newspapers for their coverage.

"When their communities needed them most they were there," he said.

He told the gathering of journalists and political leaders if they focus only on profits, ratings and polls "then were contributing to the cynicism that so many people feel right now."

Kevin Spacey, Barbra Streisand, Robin Wright, Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks and Louisville guard Kevin Ware, who made news in March when he shattered his leg during the NCAA basketball tournament, also attended.

The program featured a video parody of "House of Cards," starring the Netflix series star Kevin Spacey, with cameos by U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., White House press secretary Jay Carney, Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett and journalists Charlie Rose and Major Garrett.

The event to raise scholarship funds for journalism students was held at the Washington Hilton Hotel.

Association President Ed Henry of Fox News Channel announced emcee Conan O'Brien was the first in the event's history to refuse to cash his paycheck for the performance, asking the association instead to put the money in its scholarship fund.

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