Reporter tops lawmakers to win charity spelling bee
© National Press Club | Twitter

Journalists and lawmakers faced off at the National Press Club on Thursday night for the annual Press vs. Politicians Spelling Bee with the Washington Post's Alexandra Petri winning the contest.

Petri took the winner's belt after correctly spelling the word gallica, which refers to a type of rose.

The contest came after a momentous day on Capitol Hill, which saw gripping testimony from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and from Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexual assault. The spelling bee's participants said they appreciated the opportunity to come together for a good cause.

Organized by the National Press Club, the annual event raises money for the club's nonprofit Journalism Institute, which defends press freedoms and provides scholarships for young reporters.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It was a really good opportunity to come down and have some fun and do some good to help support a free press at a moment when it’s more important than ever,” said Rep. Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchFlorida Dem rep: Scott is 'spinning conspiracy theories' With Democrats controlling the House, a bipartisan climate solution is possible Dems damp down hopes for climate change agenda MORE (D-Fla.), a member of the lawmakers' team.

The team of lawmakers were all Democrats. Joining Deutch were Reps. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinPelosi allies push back on proposed Speaker nominee rule change Papadopoulos seeks immunity before possible Senate testimony Conservatives say Papadopoulos testimony reinforces belief of no collusion MORE (Md.), Suzanne BonamiciSuzanne Marie BonamiciReporter tops lawmakers to win charity spelling bee Lawmakers, media serve up laughs at annual 'Will on the Hill' Congress — when considering women’s health, don’t forget about lung cancer MORE (Ore.), and Mark TakanoMark Allan TakanoDems aim to balance oversight, bipartisanship on VA committee Reporter tops lawmakers to win charity spelling bee House panel advances major VA reform bill MORE (Calif.).

Raskin said he wished GOP lawmakers had been able to join but said the participants were forced to cancel at the last minute.

The journalists' team, which had five members, included Todd Gillman of the Dallas Morning News, who won in 2017; NPR's Alison Fitzgerald Kodjak, Tamar Hallerman of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Petri.

It was a light-hearted affair, with Raskin joking at one point that the journalists' team name should be the "enemy of the people."

Thomas Burr, a former president of National Press Club and Washington bureau chief for the Salt Lake Tribune, said the spelling bee is a valuable opportunity to bring the media and lawmakers together.

“It’s nice on occasion to be able to prove over and over again that we are not the enemy of the people, that we are the people," he said. "We can actually have a good time and have fun, and work together raising money.”

Petri celebrated her win, which she said was a nice break from the larger events of the day.

“What I had to do was fun, and enjoyable, and words are good," she said.

"But, what was happening on the actual Hill was bleak and alarming, and courageous. And that’s 2018.”