"Meet" Welcomes Erika Masonhall to NBC

“Meet the Press” rolled out the red carpet Wednesday night for its newest acquisition Erika Masonhall. Betsy Fischer, “Meet The Press” Executive Producer, hosted a cocktail reception at her home to introduce Washington TV and political reporters to the program’s new press representative. For some Hill reporters it was a chance to get reacquainted as Masonhall came to NBC from Capitol Hill, where she worked for several years as the communications director to Senator Joe Lieberman.

Masonhall is representing some of NBC News’s biggest franchises including “Meet the Press” and “Nightly News.” “Meet the Press” Moderator David Gregory invited the crowd of reporters and NBC executives to raise their glasses in a toast Mendenhall.

NBC News President Steve Capus, NBC News press team leader Lauren Kapp and the new Washington Bureau Chief Antoine Sanfuentes, chatted with reporters about the latest Washington buzz on a potential government shutdown, the 2012 GOP field and of course, the upcoming book from Mark Leibovich already causing an uproar on the Hill and in journalism circles.

A state visit from team Politico led by Mike Allen, Jonathan Martin, Manu Raju, and Keach Hagey.

Reporting favorites Emily Goodin, Jackie Kucinich (on her way to USA Today) Jeff Zeleny and Paul Kane enjoyed crab cakes, spring rolls and “Meet the Press” cupcakes made by Marla Romash of “Marla’s Magic.”

Tribute to Moms at WHC Garden Brunch

2010 WHC Garden Brunch: Story Landis, Susan Axelrod, David Axelrod

While at the 2010 White House Correspondents’ Garden Brunch, guests were asked to share the best advice from their mother in honor of Mothers Day Every Day and CURE Epilepsy.

Some of the answers from the media, business, and political elite who stepped across the lawn at the 18th annual brunch are posted below – and be sure to WATCH the video of the tribute to two important causes which affects the lives and health of families all across the globe: maternal mortality and epilepsy.

Susan Axelrod, Founder & Chair of CURE Epilepsy spoke from the heart about the disease and the desperate need to support research and find a cure. Axelrod, the honorary co-chair of the brunch, was joined on stage by “Glee” star Matthew Morrison, People’s cover boy Chace Crawford, and HBO’s “The Pacific” star Joe Mazzello, as well as the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato, who showed their support for CURE Epilepsy and MDED by signing a giant Mother’s Day card.

CHERYL HINES: My mom taught me to have fun in life. That’s what it’s about!

RUPERT MURDOCH: My mother told me to look after my sisters!

DANA DELANEY: Tell the truth – it’s easier to remember

STEVE WEBER: Swallow your spit

SUSAN SHER, First Lady’s Chief of Staff: 1. Always wear lipstick 2.
It’s just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor man. (I followed neither.)

WOLF BLITZER: Do the best you can!


NICK JONAS: Treat women with respect!

JOE JONAS: Coins are not edible!

DEMI LOVATO: Pack clean underwear!

JOE MAZZELLO, HBO’s “The Pacific”: Make it real

DAVID GREGORY: Always wear socks!

KIM KARDASHIAN: My favorite thing my mother taught me is…. To be myself

CHEVY CHASE: Make sure you shake few hands. You can get hurt.

JAYNI CHASE: Wear comfortable shoes.

PATRICIA ARQUETTE: Get quiet and ask God to let you feel who you are …your true self.

BRET BAIER: Always open a door and pull out a chair for a lady!

ANDREA MITCHELL: Watch out when you cross the street

2010 WHC Garden Brunch for MDED and CURE Epilepsy from whcinsider on Vimeo.

Pre-WHCD Garden Party a Hit

Early estimates for the turnout at the Pre-WHCD Garden Brunch exceed 500, probably more, as a capacity crowd mingled and mixed in anticipation of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner tonight. The weather — always an issue in D.C. — cooperated, serving up a sunny, if slightly humid afternoon.

Guests included actors Val Kilmer, Christian Slater, Matthew Modine and Dana Delaney; Capt. Richard Phillips of the Alabama Maersk and his wife Andrea; Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano; former Clinton administration official Donna Shalala; David Gregory, Andrea Mitchell and Ann Curry of NBC News, and many others.

The party ran from Noon until 3:00 p.m., when guests started leaving to prepare for tonight’s big event.

Janet Napolitano and Donna Shalala

Janet Napolitano and Donna Shalala

Christian Slater

Christian Slater
Val Kilmer

Val Kilmer

Shelby Coffey and Ann Curry

Shelby Coffey and Ann Curry

Memorable Moments of Dinners Past

If there’s a single instance in the recent history that encapsulates what the White House Correspondents’ Dinner has become in staid, old Washington, it would have to be the “Ozzy moment.” The year was 2002 and the unified spirit that enveloped Washington in the wake of the 9/11 attacks still lingered as the elite masses gathered at the Washington Hilton hotel for the annual dinner. President Bush was on hand, riding a wave of political popularity. Cabinet members like Colin Powell were also present, as well as the upper echelons of official Washington.

Comedian Drew Carey was the featured entertainment (after the president, of course), and the requisite celebrities were on hand as well – Harrison Ford, Christie Brinkley, etc. But it was heavy metal icon Ozzy Osbourne (invited by Fox News host Greta Van Susteren) everyone was clamoring to see. His MTV reality show “The Osbournes” had become a cultural phenomenon and the muttering poster boy of rock ‘n roll excess was more famous than he had ever been in his head-banging heyday. Even the president couldn’t resist the pull of America’s sudden and most unlikely celebrity. “The thing about Ozzy is he’s made a lot of big hit recordings,” Bush said as he gave the singer a shout-out during his remarks. “’Party With Animals,’ ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath,’ ‘Face in Hell,’ ‘Black Skies’ and ‘Bloodbath in Paradise’ … Ozzy, mom loves your stuff.” Osbourne responded by standing on his chair, arms raised and shouting as the audience howled and applauded.

[Read more…]