Elton John’s fight on AIDS grabs lawmakers’ attention

Organizers kept a tight protective ring, up to six guards deep, around Sir Elton John Monday night at the National Building Museum, where the National Broadcasters Association honored him for his work in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The protection for John warded off autograph seekers and reporters. Valets at doorways mentioned that he exited through a back entrance to avoid the paparazzi who had gathered at the start of the evening.

Organizers also kept a close watch around the shallow pool in the center of the room, placing large potted plants on the perimeter. During past soirees, tipsy guests reportedly tumbled into the pool, evening gowns and all, despite the staff’s efforts to guard the pool’s edges.

At Monday’s event, stars such as Deborah Norville, the anchor of “Inside Edition,” and Lauren Nelson, Miss America 2007, kept the audience dazzled. Jazz singer Oleta Adams performed a medley of John’s works, from “Your Song” to “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.” John blew her a kiss. Over white wine and hazelnut-crusted halibut, lawmakers such as Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) joined in the celebration.

As he spoke about his work raising money to fight HIV/AIDS, John told the glamorous audience, “This is a chance to make up for behavior I deeply regretted … I’m like the whore that goes around and rattles people’s wallets.”