Looking extremely unhappy to be pulled out of the audience, approaching the stage as if under duress, presidential adviser Karl Rove in the end got down. Big time.
And why not? It was the Radio & Television Correspondents Dinner, an annual schmooze-fest second only in style and glam to the White House Correspondents Dinner. A-list pols and electronic journos mingle in a friendly, quote-me-only-with-consent atmosphere.
Following dinner comes entertainment, provided this year by Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood of the improv-driven "Whose Line is It Anyway?" The duo tapped Rove, one of CNN’s many guests, to join them for a rap number they were going to do — featuring him.
First they needed grist for their rhymes and asked Rove what his hobbies are. Stamp collecting, quail hunting and "tearing the tops off small animals," came the reply.
Dubbed "MC Rove," he was then told to shout out his name when asked. Cue heavy downbeat and turntable slides, then:
"He’s all white from his head to his toes! What’s his name?" "I’m MC ROVE!"
"When he’s out quail-huntin’ you’ll find him down in the cove, but what’s his name?" "I’m MC ROVE!"
And so on, as Rove even started bustin’ some moves, which Mochrie and Sherwood had actually delegated to NBC Nightly News reporter David Gregory, whom they’d recruited for "back-up dancing," as they called it.
Both Gregory and Rove showed a lot more heart than rhythm, but by the end the thousand or so guests were laughing and applauding.
Even Rove’s boss — George W. himself — got into the spirit of the evening, poking fun at himself and his administration. "We really blew the way we let those attorneys go," Bush observed humbly. "You know you’ve botched it when people sympathize with lawyers. Speaking of supbpoenas, it’s good to see Speaker Pelosi tonight."
He reminisced: "Last year at this time, my approval rating was in the 30s, my Supreme Court nominee had been withdrawn, and my vice president had just shot somebody… ah, those were the good old days."
And he looked forward, noting that after leaving office, Bill Clinton had written a massive memoir. "I think mine will be a pop-up book."
By William Triplett in Washington.