Some highlights from the annual Alfalfa Club dinner at the Capitol Hilton:
Once inside the banquet hall, which is always off-limits to the media, the Alfalfans took turns trying to crack each other up. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) -- the club's outgoing president -- noted that former vice president Richard B. Cheney injured himself while moving into his new home, according to a source inside the dinner.
"I had no idea waterboards were so heavy," Lieberman quipped.
The incoming club president, Sen. Christopher S. Bond (R-Mo.), reminded guests that a newspaper recently published a list of the 25 people most responsible for the global economic meltdown. "You know who you are," he said, according to the source. "And it's good to see you here tonight."[...]
The Alfalfans have been doing this since 1913, gathering each year on the anniversary of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's birthday for an evening of lobster -- always lobster -- and heavy drinking. (The invitation-only club gets its name, members say, because alfalfa is a crop that will do anything for a drink.)
The official leaking of their remarks is a time-honored tradition for many of the speakers. Before the dinner, former Florida governor Jeb Bush -- the son and brother of presidents -- caught a club official handing a sheaf of papers to a reporter.
"Whatcha doing?" Bush asked. "Leaking?"
However, the Obama administration, which has promised to be the most transparent in history, decided not to join in that part of the ritual. Despite much begging, the text of the president's speech remained a pre-dinner secret.
Once the doors closed, though, the White House relented and revealed that Obama quipped that "every day is a swearing-in ceremony" for his famously foul-mouthed chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.