Celebrities work the red carpet at WHCD

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) got her photo taken with Nicole Kidman and Connie Britton while Sofia Vergara was surrounded by men with iPhones, snapping shots of the "Modern Family" star.

Such sightings were common during the two hours before the White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) dinner -- when several news organizations hold cocktail receptions throughout the Hilton Hotel.

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After the stars work the red carpet, they head to one of the receptions, pushing their way with everyone else through the crowd of guests and onlookers filling the hotel’s halls.

"Good lord," Kidman was heard to say of the crowd.

Louisville basketball player Kevin Ware had one of the toughest jobs of the night, navigating the packed hallways on crutches. He told concerned onlookers he was getting around just fine.

Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who was a prominent Obama bundler, headed straight to a private reception with Obama and winners of the scholarships the WHCA gives out at the dinner. She did stop for photos with onlookers who asked.


Inside the CNN/Time/People reception, sci-fi fans saw Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, who arrived together and held court at the party. But sorry “Star Trek fans,” Stewart wouldn't pose for pics.

At the Bloomberg reception, “House of Cards” stars Kate Mara, Robin Wright, and Constance Zimmer huddled near the bar while Kevin Spacey stood nearby, chatting with a group of guys.

Bradley Cooper caused a stir when he entered the Newsweek/Daily Beast party with dark hair and a beard.

Actor Tony Goldwyn, who plays a fictional president on "Scandal," was spied chatting with Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff James A. Winnefeld, Jr. at the ABC/Yahoo pre-party.

The Hill brought Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) as its guest to the dinner and the lawmaker was the subject of one of the jokes from master of ceremonies Conan O'Brien.

"Also joining us tonight is a Congressman from New York named Steve Israel. That's right. He's from New York and his name is Israel. Now there's pandering and then there's pandering," O'Brien said. "That's like having a congressman from South Carolina named Jesus H. Gun."

Israel enjoyed the joke.

"Loved being subject of @ConanOBrien bit on pandering @ #whcd," Israel tweeted after the dinner. "Hope he'll attend my nxt Kosher-Pizza-Corn Beef & Cabbage Town Meeting on LI."