Presenting the First Annual WHC Weekend Insider Awards

WHC Insider presents the first annual WHC Weekend Insider Awards to highlight the great deeds of the famous and infamous who came to Washington to party, schmooze, and most importantly – be seen – at the events surrounding the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.

It’s the biggest weekend in Washington, second only perhaps to Inauguration, which you clever kids know from civics class only comes once every four years (and without as many brunches).

So, here it is, the best of the fetes, as we scour the tables at the Washington Hilton to find someone not represented by Bob Barnett.


Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. No one walks in LA, but apparently Hollywood hottie and “Entourage” star Adrian Grenier was making his way on foot to the Bloomberg/Vanity Fair after party when he was spotted by none other than Rahm Emanuel. The White House Chief of Staff’s brother, Ari Emanuel, was the inspiration for the high-strung, heavyweight agent portrayed by Jeremy Piven on the hit HBO show “Entourage.”

Rahm immediately had his motorcade pull over and Adrian hopped in. Now that’s taking it to the people!

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Top WH Aide Feinberg to Bloomberg

White House favorite Sarah Feinberg, who has been Special Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor to White House Chief of Staff  Rahm Emanuel, joins Bloomberg L.P. as director of communication and business strategy efforts, with an emphasis on expanding Bloomberg’s global presence.

“Sarah has demonstrated the strategic leadership that will build on Bloomberg’s position in Washington and across the globe,” said Kevin Sheekey, head of government relations and public affairs at Bloomberg L.P. and chairman of the new government information division. “Her experience at the intersection of communications, politics and public policy, her track record of managing complex issues and teams and her entrepreneurial spirit will be tremendous assets at Bloomberg.”

“I’m thrilled to be joining Bloomberg at such an exciting time for the Company,” said Feinberg. “As Bloomberg expands its presence in Washington and prepares to launch its government information division, I’m looking forward to being a part of an organization with such an impressive record of innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Feinberg, who is married to White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer, will oversee all Washington-based communications across the Bloomberg product portfolio.

Grove Attacks WH Press Corps: The View from Michael’s

Former Washingtonian and Washington Post reporter Lloyd Grove has picked up the attack against White House correspondents launched by Ana Marie Cox last year.  Ana Marie, did you spend anytime with Lloyd at Michael’s when you visited your new GQ editors in NYC? Grove’s Daily Beast blog recently harrumphed against the hardworking, hard tweeting members of the most exclusive club in Washington journalism – the ones who report to work at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

While I enjoy Michael’s like the next media maven, what’s so wrong with covering the leader of the free world 30 feet from his office and home? Grove’s complaint about Robert Gibbs tweeting reminds of when we began putting Ross Perot and President Bush and a former governor by the name of Bill Clinton on Larry King Live in 1992.  Our newsroom colleagues lamented the end of journalism, but social media didn’t just start on the Internet; interactivity has always been an important part of journalism.

Ask Dan Pfeiffer, the president’s communications director, how much his press shop likes responding to the five reporters who call with follows on each White House reporters’ tweet.  Take a quick look at the stories and interviews done by NBC’s Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie as well as ABC’s Jake Tapper; you want them to pull back and tweet from Café Milano?

Tell WHC Insider what you think after reading Lloyd Grove’s column.

Obama Originals and Regulars Reunite at HBO Party

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“By the People,” the HBO documentary by Amy Rice and Alicia Sims, brought together top Obama campaign veterans and the press corps that followed them through the historic 2008 election for a backslapping, bear-hugging reunion at the newly renovated Motion Picture Association of America. HBO President Richard Plepler greeted top White House advisers Anita Dunn, Austan Goolsbee, Dan Pfeiffer, Sarah Feinberg, Bill Burton, Mike Blake, Dag Vega, and Washington’s newest Chicago import Susan Sher, the First Lady’s longtime friend and chief of staff.

The filmmakers’ Obama bus mates were well represented in the 80-plus crowd beginning with bestselling author Richard Wolffe, Obama “original” Juliana Goldman, Lynne Sweet, plus several campaign heavy hitters: Mike Allen, Mark Leibovitch, Jeff Zeleny, and David Jackson.

Representing the 2008 TV and pundit corps: Hilary Rosen, Jonathan Capehart, Betsy Fischer, and David Chalian.

The party went into overdrive when Reggie Love huddled with Richard Plepler; one line formed to take photos with Love and another to shake hands and schmooze with Plepler.

Washington’s elite came out to watch the HBO screening: Ben Bradlee, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, George and Liz Stevens, and Bob Barnett. And all eyes were on Barnett and the HBO chief, as they huddled over their upcoming projects.

Obama media man Jim Margolis and White House Communications Director Anita Dunn spoke after the screening, reminding the crowd that Rice and Sims joined the campaign in 2006.  And after an inspiring speech about the campaign, Margolis told how he meticulously prepared for commercial shoots at the critical campaign moment Rice and Sims were always present, whether it was around the campaign office or stepping in a the right moment to get the shot of the candidate who made history. Dunn said the film captured the special feeling of what it was like to work on the campaign and that “there will not be another campaign that was like the Obama 2008 campaign…people felt that they were a part of something much bigger than one individual.”

Reggie Love, who was always one step in front of or behind Obama in the film, attended the screening with two BlackBerry’s in hand, greeting many of those who spent hours covering the candidate or working on the campaign.  MSNBC’s Richard Wolffe, who made several appearances in the film, cheered and laughed along with his colleagues as the audience could see through the camera lens the sometimes quiet and sometimes frantic moments of the campaign.

For many it was a chance to relive the excitement of the campaign, for others it was to catch up with Obama people who are now running the country.

“By The People” premieres November 3rd at 9:00 p.m. ET on HBO.

Air Force One: Riding the "Bird" with President Obama and Jon Meacham

Obama, Meacham, Gibbs, Haddad in

It is always different; the way a White House informs you that you have the President of the United States for an interview. Sometimes it’s a call to warn an important call is coming, and you better agree to the conditions. Often it is four to six people calling to claim credit for making the interview happen. But, as in most things with Obama, this is a drama free process: just an email asking where you can be reached. This email is from Dan Pfeiffer, deputy communications director of the Obama White House, and the cool and collected center of the daily press hub since the beginning of the campaign.

Newsweek, along with everyone else, had a request in to the White House to get more of President Obama’s words on the record. The interview is for Jon Meacham, named Newsweek editor at 29, now just 40. Meacham is a poet-historian and, like Obama, a bestselling author. Pfeiffer’s email advises that we will get our interview and it will be on Air Force One. Despite no video or audio, we were pleased and I reply, “We are in.” There was a quick handover to the operations folks for details of the trip to Phoenix for the President’s commencement address at Arizona State University.

Meacham and AF OneI ask Meacham if he’s ever been on Air Force One, and he said only at the Reagan Library. My only time was during my stint running MSNBC’s 2004 election coverage when 30 Rock was transformed into “Democracy Plaza,” — a piece of an Air Force One plane was part of the plaza-wide exhibition.

Meacham and I meet up with Newsweek star photographer Khue Bui, a White House press corps veteran and delightful campaign trail mate, who will round out the Newsweek Air Force One team. We arrive at Andrews Air Force Base looking like the desk jockeys we are; editors and producers aren’t usually allowed out of their bureaus.

We watch as the entire White House traveling press corps arrives for a security check; however, they’ll be traveling on the press charter plane departing ahead of Air Force One.

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