Jim VandeHei Would Like To Give Dana Perino A Piece Of His Mind


More party photos from Wednesday’s “Meet the Press” party over at Wonkette.

Also, Mike Allen’s Playbook write-up after the jump…

    6) POOL REPORT – The new Newseum at 555 Pennsylvania Ave., under construction for seven years, isn’t scheduled to open till the first quarter of 2008. But NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ got a temporary certificate of occupancy for two floors for a mammoth throwdown last night to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the show that defines news – and was described by Tim Russert as ‘the longest running television program in the history of the world.’ As one aficionado likes to put it: From the time you hear the first note of the theme song, you know serious business is about to be done.

    Russert, who after 16 years is the show’s longest running moderator and Executive Producer Betsy Fischer presided in the Newseum’s ‘Great Hall of News,’ beneath a suspended Bell and Howell chopper that has been used by NBC’s Dallas affiliate, KXAS. (We love those call letters!) A jazz trio (guitar, string bass, alto sax) helped keep the giant space inviting. It had been a construction site just days before – Betsy had to wear a hardhat during her many visits. The building, constructed on the site of a razed D.C. employment-services office, has massive windows as symbols of transparency and a free press.

    Overhead, a 40 foot by 22 foot high-def screen with 3 million pixels streamed clever snapshots from over the years, such as ‘Time Travels,’ pairing mug shots of Alan Greenspan on the show in 1971 and 2005, Donald Rumsfeld from the same two years, the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan from 1965 and 2000, Nixon from ’52 and ’88, etc. Another feature was ‘Husbands and Wives,’ including Todd Purdum and Dee Myers, and of course James and Mary.

    Willard Scott was kissin’ the ladies. And don’t even worry about the passed butternut-squash ravioli, or the sweet-corn bisque, or the spicy tuna in sesame tortillas that looked like little ice-cream cones, or the witty Wolfgang Puck creations in tiny cardboard Chinese takeout boxes, complete with the red writing on the side.

    ‘In the proud tradition of ‘Meet the Press,’ this is a party where you can eat and drink,’ Russert said from the stage. ‘Thank you all for coming to celebrate this national treasure, and we’ll see ya at the 75th.’

    Jeff Zucker, the president and CEO of NBC Universal, made brief remarks: ‘I think John Kennedy said it best in 1962, when he said Meet the Press was a 51st state. … Every Sunday, it makes us proud.’

    As did Steve Capus, the president of NBC News: ‘To be in THIS facility, which celebrates the First Amendment, at a time when journalists get criticized for asking tough questions, it’s fitting that we come here tonight to remember what the calling should be at this important time in our country’s history. … As they say, if it’s Sunday, it’s ‘Meet the Press.’ And the road to the White House WILL, in fact, go through ‘Meet the Press.’ ‘

    Russert led applause for Bob Dole, who was in attendance and holds the record for appearances, at 63.
    ‘Senator Dole, thank you,’ Russert said. ‘And that record will stand for a long, long time.’

    Other frequent appearers on the show: Senator McCain, 50 times; Richard Gephardt, 41; Senator Biden, 41; Senator Lugar, 36. Among reporters: David Broder, 396 (!) and Bob Novak, 247.

    A VERY PARTIAL list of attendees last night: Amy Argetsinger, Kendra Barkoff, Jeremy Bash, David Bass, Ben Bradlee, David Broder, David Brody, David Brooks, Betsy Burton, Patrick Butler, Steve Capus, Courtney Carlson, Margaret Carlson, Tucker Carlson, Jay Carney, Barbara Comstock, Peter Cherukuri, Mark Corallo, Tom Delay, John Dickerson, E.J. Dionne, Bob Dole, Jeff Dufour, Betty Dukert, Susan Eisenhower, Rahm Emanuel, Leslie Fahrenkopf, Sarah Feinberg, Michael Feldman, Howard Fineman, Andy Fisher, Betsy Fischer, Julie Fischer, Tom Friedman, Patrick Gavin, Ed Gillespie, Dawn and Michael Gerson, Alan Greenspan, David Gregory, Tammy Haddad, Karen Hanretty, Congresswoman Harman, Todd Harris, John Harwood, Gen. Michael Hayden, Molly Henneberg, Al Hunt, Jack Hurley, Karen Hughes, Alicia Jennings, Gordon Johndroe, Robert Kaiser, Senator Kennedy, Senator Kerry, Joe Klein, Ann Klenk, Courtney Kube, Howard Kurtz, Carl Leubsdorf, Barbara Levin, Bob Livingston, Joe Lockhart, George McGovern, John McLaughlin, Steve McMahon, Jon Meacham, Andrea Mitchell, Bill Monroe, Geoff Morrell, Nancy Nathan, Bob Novak, Kelly O’Donnell, Norah O’Donnell, Katherine O’Hearn, Susan Page, Dana Perino, Sally Pomeroy, Dina Powell, Dana Priest, Todd Purdum, Gene Raineri, Sally Quinn, Marissa Rauch, Natalie Ravitz, Philippe Reines, Tom Ricks, Stuart Rothenberg, Tim Russert, William Safire, Bob Schieffer, Susan Schmidt, William M. Schneider, Willard Scott, Lisa Shields, Bob Shrum, Kristen Silverberg, Roger Simon, Senator Snowe, Jacques Steinberg, Richard Stengel, Pam Stevens, George Stephanopoulos, Tina Tate, Fran Townsend, Jim VandeHei, Lynn Wasserman, Richard Wolffe, Robin Wright, Bob Woodward, Ali Zelenko, Jeff Zucker – and so many more.

    P.S. At 11:40 p.m., leaving an after-party at Wolfgang Puck’s The Source, Philippe Reines paid homage to Mr. Russert one last time by wishing him ‘Happy 60th birthday, Tim!,’ instead of ‘anniversary.’ Russert, well short of 6-0, loved it.