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Politics meets entertainment

May 6, 2012
By KATHRYN SPIRA , For The Leader Herald

So, you guys all know I'm not a big politics person. In fact, when I was pursuing my acting career in L.A. and New York City, I was so self-absorbed with the idea of making it in "the business" that I had no idea about political parties and who might be running for what.

To be fair, I really didn't care. If it had no direct effect on me, I didn't pay attention.

So, guess what I did last Saturday night? I eagerly anticipated and then watched with great enthusiasm the White House Correspondents Dinner.

According to Wikipedia, "The White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) annual dinner, begun in 1920, has become a Washington, D.C., tradition and is usually attended by the President and Vice President. Fifteen presidents have attended a WHCA dinner, beginning with Calvin Coolidge in 1924. The dinner is traditionally held on the evening of the last Saturday in April at the Washington Hilton."

This is actually the third year I've seen the dinner, the first being with one of my favorite comedians, Wanda Sykes and last year with Seth Myers of Saturday Night Live. In an interview prior to this year's dinner, Jimmy Kimmel said he had to try to find the balance between edgy humor and not wanting to offend people in the room. I think he came up a little short and was maybe trying too hard not to offend as both Myers and Sykes may have gone too far, but were much funnier.

I think President Obama actually stole the show, starting with supposedly forgetting to shut his microphone off in the restroom, all the way to a fake Mitt Romney commercial bringing in Romney's gaffe about tying his dog to the top of the family station wagon on vacation for such a long trip that the dog actually defecated down the back of the car and the dog's crate had to be hosed out.

The last shot in the spoof showed a dog carrier tied to the top of Romney's private jet while campaigning. Meanwhile, Obama's dog Bo was supposedly "imprisoned" in a "government facility" (the White House) as if he were being mistreated.

MSNBC commentators said the best approach seemed to be self-deprecation, which they added Obama seemed to be a master at.

Besides politicians, I noticed a myriad of "A-list" names in "the business," such as George Clooney, Charlize Theron, Goldie Hawn, Steven Spielberg and members from the casts of "Modern Family" and "Glee."

I'd like to think if I had made it in my career, I could have attended the dinner in person. But I have to say, I enjoyed it all from a distance as well.

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in New York City and Los Angeles, now pursues freelance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns and contact information may be accessed at her website at



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