Tick Tock: The White House Correspondents’ Association dinner

This year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner was hotter than previous years’ — and in more ways than one. Not only did Hollywood celebrities clamor to be present for President Obama’s speech, but the sticky weather and shoulder-to-shoulder pre-parties left many guests sweating off their makeup or pitting out their tuxedos.

From start to finish, here’s a recap of the high-profile event and its related activities.

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FRIDAY

The Creative Coalition and Capitol File magazine’s
premiere party for the
documentary “Poliwood,” the Naval Heritage Museum

7:28 p.m. — Staff rushes guests into the film after event starts late.

7:31 p.m. — Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) pushes her way to the bar to get a glass of water.

People and Time magazines’ cocktail party, St. Regis Hotel

7:49 p.m. — CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer is in a corner talking on his cell phone.

7:59 p.m. — MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews tries to say hi to actor Kevin Bacon, but Bacon is surrounded by fans.

8:09 p.m. — Matthews finally gets to talk to Bacon.

8:23 p.m. — Rapper and actor Ludacris, asked if he’ll run for office one day, says, “Ask me again in 15 years.”

9:12 p.m. — CNN newlyweds Dana Bash and John King leave with a to-go box of cupcakes, the main treat served at the party.

SATURDAY

White House Correspondents’ Association annual dinner, the Hilton Washington Hotel

3:40 p.m. — Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes arrive at the hotel, according to a source. They are “casually dressed,” she in a khaki trench coat and knit beret, he in a navy dress shirt, jeans and aviator sunglasses. They stop for pictures with people when asked.

6:10 p.m. — CBS News’s Bob Schieffer walks into the upstairs lobby. Minutes later, NBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd enters through the same door.

6:25 p.m. — Sting and wife Trudie Styler cause a jam at the top of the escalator after walking the red carpet.

6:27 p.m. — British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright enter the pre-parties at the same time.

6:30 p.m. — A reporter working the red carpet leans over to tell a colleague, “I just heard Wanda Sykes tell somebody, ‘Before I came here, I had to call my attorney to see if I paid all my taxes.’ ”
6:36 p.m. — Former “Saturday Night Live” star Amy Poehler and husband Will Arnett pose briefly for photos on the red carpet.

6:36 p.m. — Tammy Haddad escorts Capt. Richard Phillips — the man kidnapped by Somali pirates in April — down the red carpet, introducing him to reporters.

6:37 p.m. — Tyra Banks looks wearily at the red carpet, flips her hair.

6:40 p.m. — Al Sharpton stops for photos on the red carpet.

6:41 p.m. — Katie Couric stops briefly on the red carpet; moments later, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) walks by unrecognized.

6:45 p.m. — Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) descends the escalator behind the red carpet. He looks at the dozens of photographers and crowd of tourists gawking at a celebrity, asks a reporter, “Who’s that?” — referring to Ed Westwick of “Gossip Girl” — and immediately turns around to ascend the same escalator.

6:49 p.m. — Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus works her way through the lobby in a black dress with a long train. She stops to pose for a photo with a fan, who unknowingly stands on her dress. “I just have to pick my dress up,” she says.

6:50 p.m. — Actor-couple Idina Menzel and Taye Diggs walk toward the pre-parties just behind Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

6:54 p.m. — Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) walks through the lobby with his girlfriend, Huma Abedin, an adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

6:55 p.m. — New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) and an entourage sneak behind a pillar to bypass the crowd getting into the pre-parties.

6:59 p.m. — At the Atlantic Media/ABC party, Justice Antonin Scalia says that he’s seated at a dinner table with Bon Jovi but that he’s “not really a rock music fan.”

7:15 p.m. — A dinner guest points to MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski as she walks by and says, “I love her.”

7:16 p.m. — Fox’s Bill O’Reilly tells a story during a pre-party about his outing with Donald Trump last Friday to the New York Yankees baseball game. He says he and Trump haggled over who would pay for the $2,500 seats.

7:18 p.m. — Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and his wife take a picture with a trio of young women outside the banquet room.

7:22 p.m. — Klobuchar walks past actors Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the red carpet. A reporter asks Klobuchar, who gave a well-received comedic speech at a congressional dinner a couple of months ago, what her advice would be for the night’s entertainers, President Obama and comedian Wanda Sykes. “I think the key is low expectations,” she says.

7:28 p.m. — Warren Buffett steps on a reporter’s shoes three times.

7:30 p.m. — The mob in the downstairs of the Hilton is so bad that CNN and People come up with an “exit strategy” to whisk their celebrity guests into the dinner. The party rooms have a back exit that goes through the kitchen, and guests Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, Kyra Sedgwick, the aforementioned Kevin Bacon, Bradley Cooper, Tyra Banks, Eva Longoria Parker and Chase Crawford all slip through it so they can get to the dinner on time. Our spy says, “They all thanked the kitchen staff along the way for letting them come through … And Secret Service met us back there to wand them and check bags.”

7:37 p.m. — Actor Colin Firth is speaking Spanish with a fan.

7:41 p.m. — Stevie Wonder gets escorted toward the ballroom with his wife, Kai Milla, who has designed clothes for first lady Michelle Obama.

7:46 p.m. — A dinner guest shakes hands with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, to which the guest’s friend says, “That’s awesome.”

7:50 p.m. — Alaska’s “first dude” Todd Palin stands near his table talking to his fellow Fox News guests. Philippe Reines, one of Secretary Clinton’s main spokesmen, joins Palin and Greta Van Susteren at the Fox table.

8:22 p.m. — Wyden and his wife appear lost while looking for their table.

8:24 p.m. — The president and first lady arrive.

8:39 p.m. — “Mad Men” actor Jon Hamm and Dennis Leary smoke together outside the hotel’s front door.

8:42 p.m. — Longoria Parker checks her BlackBerry while talking to a tablemate and waiting for dinner to be served.

8:43 p.m. — Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) talks with table neighbor David Gregory. Comedian Mike Myers is seated on her other side.

9:28 p.m. — “Friday Night Lights” actor Kyle Chandler chats up White House press assistants Priya Singh and Ben Finkenbinder.

9:53 p.m. — Cantor is walking through the ballroom with his security guard before the president or Sykes speaks.

10:20 p.m. — When Sykes says in her speech: “Sarah Palin’s not here. She pulled out at the last minute. Someone oughta tell her that’s not how you practice abstinence,” Meghan McCain is spotted “shaking her head vigorously.”

10:45 p.m. — After the event’s end, Myers leaves the ballroom with a bodyguard through a back door. Of Sykes’s performance, he says, “I thought she knocked it out of the park. I thought she was hilarious.” Myers’s bodyguard then gets between Myers and a reporter, saying he needs to leave because he’s late for a flight.

10:55 p.m. — Forest Whitaker and wife Keisha walk toward the exit. Keisha asks a companion, “Should we go straight to the Vanity Fair party?”

11:02 p.m. — Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) talks to Alan Greenspan in a back hallway of the hotel’s first-floor lobby.

11:03 p.m. — NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Greenspan and Harman leave the hotel together.

11:04 p.m. — Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis leaves through the hotel’s front entrance.

Capitol File after-party,
Corcoran Gallery
of Art

11:29 p.m. — Longoria Parker and her huge posse arrive.

12:17 a.m. — CNN’s Ed Henry and Fox News’s Bret Baier stop to chat.

12:37 a.m. —White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel takes off his tuxedo jacket in the overly warm party.

12:42 a.m. — “Gossip Girl” actor Matthew Settle watches the dance floor from the upstairs VIP balcony. “We’re watching Rahm Emanuel dance,” he says.

12:54 a.m. — Sykes arrives to screams and applause. “Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi runs up to her, gives her a big hug and screams, “You did so great.” Sykes tells The Hill that she got presidential approval for her speech. “He told me I did a great job,” she says. “The first lady said the same thing. I got a ‘Well done’ from the president; I’m on cloud nine.”

1:38 a.m. — Emanuel leaves the party in a giant SUV.

Michael O’Brien, Jordy Yager and Sam
Youngman contributed to this feature.