Politico and its sister outlet Politico Pro handed out “Policymaker of the Year” awards at the Mandarin Oriental Tuesday night. It was their version of report cards, and if they were to issued themselves a letter grade, it would be one notch above an A-plus.
The “welcome” table, stage banners, cocktail table tops, pens and even the napkins were branded with the publications’ names. Call it marketing, but we’re still seeing red spots when we blink.
Kicking off the evening was a “Year in Review” panel discussion with Politico 2012 reporter Alex Burns joined by Pro reporters Elizabeth Wasserman, Dan Berman, and David Nather. The event was led by Executive Editor Jim Vandehei and Chief White House Correspondent Mike Allen. Breakout sessions with policy experts on health care, technology and energy followed.
Allen also moderated the health care panel, nodding his head when he agreed with the speakers, looking out into the audience every three minutes and smiling like a proud son of Politico‘s Founding Fathers.
We didn’t take away much from the session because, coincidentally, there was a lot of coughing going on, making it hard to hear as we feared for our health. But we noticed the stylish cufflinks Allen wore and asked him about them at the cocktail reception after. He said he bought them in Manhattan from Pink, though “someone thought they were Lego.” The cufflinks are pictured at the right.
Politico Pro is just over a year old. Part of the evening was to celebrate it. An attendee who works in the health insurance industry spoke with us at the reception, though she was too shy to be named. She told us she likes Pro, but said it might be becoming too pricey. (In explanation…The rates are tricky. They have varying rates depending on which policy area you want, if it’s for a company or individual, etc. For an individual, Pro Health Care is $2495/year — a rate that will jump to $4495 in the new year. Happy New Year, folks.)
After cocktails, “Policymaker of the Year” awards went to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.
The bar was a big hit. Overheard during the reception…
Attendee 1: I found the bar faster than you.
Attendee 2: I can’t believe that.