In prepared remarks to welcome the 650 people attending the dinner, Gridiron President Charles J. Lewis of Hearst Newspapers noted that the organization had promised to keep the evening short, “especially because Gene Sperling said that a late night is something we’d all regret.”
With a nod to print reporters’ complaints about dealing with the Obama administration, Lewis said he thought he had overhead Obama remark on the way to the dinner: “So many newspaper reporters. So many interviews to turn down.”
Musical skits are a tradition at the Gridiron dinner, and club officials released its musical program ahead of the event. Using the Beatles song “When I’m 64,” one skit featured a look at Hillary Rodham Clinton’s future with the lyrics:
Got a bit older, Growing my hair, Gained a pound or two
Going home to vegetate in Chappaqua, I just want to be a grandma
It was more than a case of Benghazi flu, Still I’ll be just fine.
Will you select me, will you elect me, When I’m 69
Noting the close relationship between the GOP and the National Rifle Association, Gridiron members sang a tune called “My Gun,” a takeoff on the song “My Girl.” The lyrics included:
If you hate the NRA/Tell my Walther PPK
You’re flirting with disaster/With my Bushmaster
And when pigs fly away/You can take me away
From my gun
In a jab at Obama, the Gridiron players offered a version of “Pinball Wizard” that put to music complaints about some journalists’ lack of access to the president:
Who knew when his magic/First had us all transfixed
That this politician/Hated politics?
Loves his teleprompter, loves a White House ball
But mighty Obama/Don’t schmooze with us at all.
The Gridiron Club and Foundation contributes to college scholarships and journalistic organizations. It limits its active members to 65 journalists based in Washington.
Except for Grover Cleveland, every president since the Gridiron was founded has addressed it. The club is the oldest and most exclusive for Washington journalists. Its motto is “singe but never burn.”
No TV cameras were allowed.