The Pre-Dinner Scene

Washington is filled with celebrities famous and infamous, which is pretty much the tradition of the White House Correspondents Dinner.

Recent years have seen a warm up to the event itself in the form of a garden party at the home of Tammy Haddad (once the residence of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas), and this year’s soiree saw a crowd populated by showbiz, media and administration types.

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano chatted about getting accustomed to having people come up to her and relaying their airline travel experiences. Nearly, Val Kilmer spotted Christian Slater and said, “There’s one of my kind.” Political strategist Steve McMahon, a friend (and reportedly advising Kilmer), said the actor has not yet decided whether to run for governor of New Mexico.

Under the tent, teen girls stood in anticipation of getting their pictures taken with Chace Crawford, star of “Gossip Girl,” while Haddad, Ann Curry and Susan Axelrod took a makeshift stage and tried to call the hundreds gathered to order to listen to a short talk about the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood.

Also spotted: Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, David Gregory, John King, Capt. Richard Phillips, Andrea Mitchell, Todd Palin and Kerry Washington.

Rapper Ludacris arrived just as things were winding down in midafternoon.

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