After all these years, I have figured out the best way to attend the White House Correspondents' Association dinner or at least this year's dinner: with a 16-year-old girl.
Rebecca had an eagle eye for celebs, some of whom I would never have recognized. Ludacris? I've heard of him, but that's it. But there he was on the red carpet, with his mother (smart guy!), and I wasn't completely clueless.
Other folks were easy to recognize, but Rebecca was much better at spotting them in the crowd. There's Owen Wilson! Will he pose for a picture with a young fan? Sure.
Same with Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Eva Longoria Parker, Demi Moore, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Jason Bateman, Amy Poehler, and on and on. We also tracked down Ed Westwick, the wonderfully arch Chuck Bass on "Gossip Girl," with the help of Ana Marie Cox, Wonkette emeritus.
I hate to say this, but it was almost star overload. You'd be heading for one (I won't name names), then you'd see someone even more cool in one instance, the stunning Padma Lakshmi of "Top Chef" -- and detour over to her, lest you miss your chance.
I have two favorite memories: Rebecca spying a tall nerdy guy wearing a red bow tie and saying, "Peter Orszag! I have to say hello." Her best friend babysits for his kids, and oh by the way, he's President Obama's budget director.
Favorite moment No. 2: Walking up to a friendly-looking old man and striking up a conversation about Woodrow Wilson High School here in Washington, where Rebecca goes. This man graduated from Wilson more than 60 years ago, and when I mentioned the connection, he said, "Oh, a Tiger!" and launched into the Wilson fight song.
Then he said, "I'm going to whisper a stock tip in Rebecca's ear, and you take our picture." OK! Eventually, Rebecca figured out who this jolly grandpa was: Warren Buffett.
I have a suggestion for next year: Send all 2,000 tickets to Hollywood and let the stars divvy up the tables and decide which journalists
and politicos to invite.