By Lynn Sweet - 03/17/05 12:00 AM EST
Congressional leaders were lampooned Saturday night at the 120th annual Gridiron Club dinner, with singers posing as Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). Showstoppers included a rock-’n’-roll tribute to freshman Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).
Obama’s name was a running mention during the show, featuring red-state/blue-state skits where Democrats and Republicans were equally satirized before the white-tied and ball-gowned audience. The parodies are a tradition of the club, which is made up of Washington-based journalists.
To the tune of “Ohio,” a singer portraying Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) wondered, “Why, oh why oh?/Why did I ever lose Ohio?” Hearst columnist Helen Thomas, posing as Teresa Heinz Kerry, warbled to the tune “Thank Heaven for Little Girls”: “Thank heaven, he lost the race./I’d have to move into a smaller place./Thank heaven/no Air Force One./My plane is faster and it has more space.”
The rockabilly hit “Be Bop a Lula” was renamed “Be Bop Messiah” for Obama’s roast. Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page, dressed in a gold-lam