B’cast newsies host good-humored Bush

Politicians and newshounds meet and greet

WASHINGTON — President Bush went to dinner last night with TV newsies, opting to roast himself rather than taking the media world to task.

The president read from a book that makes fun of his malapropisms: “How about this one — ‘Is our children learning?’ ”

The 57th annual banquet of the Radio & Television Correspondents’ Assn. has long served as an opportunity for politicians and newshounds to set aside their mikes and enjoy a night of sequins and velvet.

By tradition, the president speaks at the dinner — it’s a perfect opportunity to get in a few digs (all in good fun, of course).

Bush even joked that the government was testing arsenic levels in the banquet drinking water. But where the president really won the crowd over was his self-deprecating remarks, even laughing over a new Bushism from earlier in the day, his observation about “misunderestimating.”

“When John Ashcroft first met me,” Bush said, “he thought I was talking in tongues.”

The president concluded by saying that he is “a boon to the English language.”

All the major nets were repped, with anchors such as Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw rubbing elbows with Duchess of York and Weight Watchers spokeswomen Sarah Ferguson, top media execs and politicians.

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