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CNN Live Event/Special

Awaiting Biden's Speech & Jokes At WH Correspondents' Dinner; Comedian Darrell Hammond On Hosting WH Correspondents' Dinner; Soon: Biden, Comedian Roy Wood Jr. Roast Washington & Media. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired April 29, 2023 - 21:00   ET




JESSICA DEAN, CNN HOST: Tonight, a celebration of the First Amendment and the importance of a free press in the United States.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Also, jokes, lots of jokes, all the most powerful people in Washington, except us, all in the same room and about to be roasted by the President and a comedian. The White House Correspondents' Dinner starts now.


GEORGE W. BUSH, 43RD U.S. PRESIDENT: Members of the White House Correspondents' Association, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A time-honored tradition, bringing together Washington's most powerful people.


RONALD REAGAN, 40TH U.S. PRESIDENT: I'm so desperate for attention, I almost considered holding a news conference.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And powerful laughs.


BARACK OBAMA, 44TH U.S. PRESIDENT: I invited Luther, my anger translator, to join me here tonight.


UNIDENTFIED MALE: Tonight, comedian Roy Wood Jr. takes aim at the politicians, and President Biden himself will get in on the foot, --


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I told my grandkids and Pete Buttigieg, they could stay up late and watch this show tonight.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- from roasts --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump has been saying that he will run for President as a Republican. So, I just assumed he was running as a joke.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- to jokes --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reality has a well-known liberal bias.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- to mic drops --


OBAMA: Obama.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And every row in between.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What will happen this year? The White House Correspondents' Dinner on CNN starts now.

DEAN: It is only one night a year, and this is that night. The annual White House Correspondents' Dinner are underway right here in Washington D.C.

BERMAN: You let up the hanger stockings up on the mantel right now. It's that kind of night. This is the hour when we will hear the jokes from comedian Roy Wood Jr., also President Biden. There are going to be some serious important moments too, as the night is about honoring freedom of the press.

We want to kick off this hour, though, with some very special guests with our very special red carpet king Harry Enten. And he is joined, I'm told, by Sara Sidner and Kate Bolduan. All true?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: And this is 100 percent true, but we even have two additional guests. It feels like the line just keeps growing here. We have Sara to my left. We have Kate over here.


ENTEN: Yes, you can.

BOLDUAN: May I jump in?

ENTEN: You may jump in.

BOLDUAN: Kate Bolduan, thank you so much. Lena Headey and Marc Menchaca.

MARC MENCHACA, ACTOR, "OZARK": Menchaca lot here.

BOLDUAN: We have been joking with them all. They're sitting in a table, and we have been boozled them to come up to hang out with us.

LENA HEADEY, MARC MENCHACA'S WIFE: It was a total bamboozle, by the way.

BOLDUAN: We told them there was free food.

ENTEN: No free showed.

BOLDUAN: And then we showed up it was only Harry Enten.


BOLDUAN: So, have you ever -- if you guys ever been to one of these before?

MENCHACA: No. We have not. And when, we got the invite via Lena, she was like we shouldn't go there, and I said, no, we're absolutely going. Well, no.

BOLDUAN: So, it's your fault, is what we've been informed.


SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR, CNN NEWS CENTRAL: Okay. So, I know a couple of things because we haven't -- you just met somebody, don't be upset, he does not work for a network, but you just met someone who you thought you would never meet in life.

MENCHACA: Never in my life.

SIDNER: What was that moment like for you?

BOLDUAN: Well, who was it, first and foremost?

MENCHACA: He gave me a smile that's as big as on my face right now.

SIDNER: You were kind of fame like.

MENCHACA: I was a little bit -- total federal.

SIDNER: (inaudible).

MENCHACA: Yeah (inaudible).

SIDNER: So, you never thought --

MENCHACA: Never thought -- never thought -- no. I never entertained the thought in my mind.

BOLDUAN It's actually -- it's a perfect encapsulation of what this evening offers up, which is just like a collision of worlds, sometimes strange, like now, but sometimes really amazing, like now. It's like everyone coming together in like a kind of a wacky fashion. I reject the word nerd prom because some of us don't even deserve to be in the categories of nerds, because I'm not grown up to actually be a nerd.

SIDNER: Yeah. I am not smart enough to be a nerd, but you are.

ENTEN: Thank you.

SIDNER: You are welcome. We love nerds.

ENTEN: I have a question to our two celebrities, which is, there is a red carpet behind us. How does this compare to other red carpets that you've been on?


HEADEY: Oh, well, I think we go through a lot of red carpets.

MENCHACA: Always embarrassing on tough floors.

BOLDUAN: Do you like a red carpet?

HEADEY: Love, enough of them.

BOLDUAN: Yeah. I think the only thing -- the thing I am worried about is she only speaks in sarcasm.



MENCHACA: We relish the opportunity to get on that. Yeah. I like to get on that x that they say and then stand there as long as I can.


MENCHACA: And until uncomfortable, they finally say, can you please get off? Yeah.

BOLDUAN: Excuse me, sir, we need the carpet now.

SIDNER: They call me Ms. Sidner, and I told them to knock it off.

BOLDUAN: Wow. That was aggressive.

MENCHACA: Well, tonight, --


MENCHACA: -- they -- we went out there. And then, they were saying something I couldn't understand. And I realized they were saying, can we just get a picture of Lena, and I said, yep. And I backed up.

BOLDUAN: Now, you know how every journalist feels is told to walk a red carpet when celebrities are on it. Like, it's a terrifying anxiety inducing experience. But, we're having a great time.

HEADEY: It's amazing. You guys have made the night, we tell you.

ENTEN: Well, thank you, and you made our nights, and now I want to toss it back to one of my favorite celebrities, John Berman.


MENCHACA: Appreciate it. Love you but not as much as Al Sharpton.

DEAN: You have four seconds.

BERMAN: I will take it.

DEAN: Congratulations.

BERMAN: I will take what I can get. Thank you all for that. All of you have a wonderful evening. I'll see Kate and Sara on Monday, and we're going to talk about this, believe me. But, I -- there was Queen Cersei.

DEAN: I know.

BERMAN: Queen Cersei was there.

DEAN: And I think Kate made such a great point which is, it is such a kind of smashing together of all these different worlds you have, media. You have politics. You have celebrity and Hollywood, and it all kind of mushes together in Washington D.C., which does have the feel of a small town from time to time. I don't know if any of you all have been in the room and been -- I assume you all have. But, what are kind of your thoughts about it in terms of how it mixes together all these different people?

ASHLEY ALLISON, FORMER NATIONAL COALITIONS DIRECTOR FOR BIDEN-HARRIS 2020: Well, I remember last year, I saw Pat Sajak and I lost it.


ALLISON: I mean, I like lost it. And it's like, what are you doing in D.C.? Why aren't you like, with Vanna, flipping letters? But, it is a really interesting night. There are so many parties. It's so much fun. You get to see people you haven't seen in a really long time, and you get to see people that you've never really worked with, and get to ask them, like, why are you here, and you realize it's because they care about this country. And it's not just a night of celebrity and fun and jokes. It's actually like people come to D.C. A lot of them go on the Hill. A lot on the go to the White House, doing some lobbying on policy issues. So, it's a really cool weekend in the city.

LZ GRANDERSON, OPED COLUMNIST, LOS ANGELES TIMES: I remember when I was there during Obama's last White House Correspondents' Dinner. And to your point, I was star truck by the cast of scandal.

ALLISON: Yeah. All right, everybody. I remember --

GRANDERSON: And it was so funny -- DEAN: That was like peak scandal.


GRANDERSON: So, my first see was actually very close to the castle scandal, suddenly there was, like, a girl. What's going to happen next? This one comes to me and say, I'm sorry, but your seat is actually down. It was actually close to the front stage. And I initially didn't want to go back because I was like, girl scandals over here. I don't know what's up there, but scandals right here.

DEAN: And it is funny how, like, the politicians or the media wants to meet Hollywood. Hollywood will want to meet, like -- as we were just hearing from him, he is, like, I got to meet Al Sharpton. Like, everybody kind of gets weirdly star struck by kind of -- it's surprising kind of mix there, I think. Yeah.

ALLISON: I mean, in fact, Joe was at the White House on Thursday. I saw him on West Exec. And I was like, I was literally like, what's the culture doing at the White House? It was literally fat Joe, the vice president, they met. He was here advocating on transparency and healthcare and making healthcare affordable. You don't think those two worlds collide, but this weekend, it lets it happen.

DEAN: Yeah.

BERMAN: All right, Scott. Who was the -- who made you star struck?

DEAN: Yeah.

BERMAN: Who are you most excited to meet?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the last time I went to this in the Bush years, it was the Stephen Colbert. I think he was the headliner. And I did meet him that night.

BERMAN: And I can see he made a big impression.


BERMAN: You are still giddy over it now.

JENNINGS: I mean, there were other celebrities there. I've seem to recall, sort of recognizing. I mean, this is not my --

BERMAN: You don't do even fun.

JENNINGS: I'm not the --

DEAN: You are not a pop cultured guy.

JENNINGS: If you were in The Avengers, I know who you are.

DEAN: Okay.

JENNINGS: If you're on any -- there is some children's programming --

DEAN: Sure.

JENNINGS: -- that I'm generally aware of. Other than that --

DEAN: So, I got time for --

BERMAN: I mean, I will say that was Queen Cersei right there. And it does -- I wanted to ask her, so many things are compared to Game of Thrones. Oh, it's just like Game of Thrones. I'm like, well, is this going to be like Game of Thrones? What actually is like Game of Thrones?

DEAN: Maybe we'll get our chance later. She can come back. When we come back, someone who knows what it's like to be at center stage at this annual dinner, comedian Darrell Hammond is going to be with us, a former headliner at this very same event a few years ago.


What jokes would he tell, if he were hosting tonight? We're going to talk to him when we come back.



ROY WOOD JR., COMEDIAN: There is just so much chaos in the world right now, I don't even know what I'm going to do yet. Look, this is -- these are all the cards. These are all of the bits. And I don't know which ones are going to get done.


BERMAN: What could possibly go wrong --

DEAN: Sounds great.

BERMAN: -- for comedian Roy Wood Jr. There he is. You can sight him right there. There Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland. But, Roy Wood Jr. will be up on stage this hour, delivering his comedic take on the year that has been in politics and the press, and of course, no doubt he will roast the President who will be sitting right there next to him. Our next guest has done that several times.


DARRELL HAMMOND, COMEDIAN: Mr. President, have a seat.


We must find common ground. We are going to build a bridge to the 21st century. I'll have to refer you to Lanny Davis on that one. I was doing this night show a couple of weeks ago, and Leno said, Lanny is a very interesting man, George Bateman (ph). But, if you think about it, all he really did was move back into his parents' old house.


BERMAN: That was comedian Darrell Hammond, and he is here with us now. Thank you so much for being with us. It's such an honor to see you here. And I have to say, you're one of the few people who knows what it's like to be up on that stage. What is it like to be standing next to the President of the United States and making fun of him?

HAMMOND: I think it's really -- the whole thing feels so natural, because the whole room has more power in it than any room you've ever been in before, and that includes Joint Chiefs, members of Congress. And then, there is the President and there is the First Lady. And it's like a -- what do you call it, a high wire act, it feels like to me, and there is a potential for lots of destruction to your career if you bomb. It's a tough crowd. It was tough for me. I was always a little bit scared.

DEAN: Oh, man, I would be terrified. I think it's --


DEAN: -- it's a tough crowd. That crowd doesn't always take jokes at their own expense very well. So, that can tough. We heard from Roy just a little bit ago, and he had all the cards. He is trying to figure out which jokes he is using, which ones he is not. Do -- when you did it, did you really nail it down, or did you do anything on the fly?

HAMMOND: I had planned a, b, c and d on the day. It's in front of me too. Yeah. I mean, listen, if you start off and the first couple of minutes is not going well, you got to veer off and try another direction, like, to me, obligating yourself to what you're going to do out there. At least in my case, it would have been treacherous.

BERMAN: Do you have any moments that have scarred you for life?

HAMMOND: I'm not scarred for life. I -- there was one time I said something, I sort of lamely said, and I think that women should be in positions of power in the Military. And you could feel the room just go shake, just dead stop. And this whole August (ph) crowd is looking at you, like, we're not helping you. We're not helping you. And we're not going to laugh, because they don't want to laugh at something or applaud at something that some of their political friends might find objectionable. It gets all bipartisan on you. You're like, wow, man, I just stepped in the wrong direction for one second.

DEAN: Yeah.

HAMMOND: But, I kept going.

DEAN: You've to live to tell the tale.

HAMMOND: Yeah. And then I told -- I made another mistake. I called Bill Clinton, Bill, and more shock and awe in the audience said, what the hell. It is wrong with you. And then I had to correct that. So, I survived okay, but it was scary. And there were definitely some rough patches in the stuff that I did.

DEAN: Yeah. We were talking earlier tonight about just how much has changed just in the environment since when you probably hosted. Now, you've got social media, and how so many people probably watch this. There'll be clips. Maybe in the past, you could do it, and it might be hard to find again the next day if it didn't go so well. But, it seems like it's even more pressure now, because it could live on forever on the internet.

HAMMOND: Forever and forever and forever. The whole world knows real quick, like, everywhere you look, you can see examples of your failures and successes.

DEAN: Yeah.

HAMMOND: I mean, that's -- that is quite a group, isn't it?

DEAN: It is.

BERMAN: It is, and they're all --


BERMAN: -- wearing the same thing. I mean, do you think any of the men are looking at each other saying, oh my god, I'm so embarrassed. He is wearing just what I am.

DEAN: Big laugh from the comedian.

BERMAN: That was a courtesy. That was a courtesy laugh right there.

DEAN: Darrell, that was nice. That was believable.

BERMAN: Yeah. Okay.

DEAN: I believed it was genuine.

BERMAN: That was pity. Is there any error here, do you think, is particularly ripe this year? If you were doing this tonight, what are some of the things that you might make fun of?

HAMMOND: I don't think it's ripe. I mean, it's -- I think it's dangerous. You're going to do some AI. You're going to talk about Ted Cruz, the audio tapes. I mean, you're going to talk about mental competency tests. I mean, where you going to go out there? You want to try to stay down in the middle. It's like the closer you get to something that someone will be disgusted by, and they can all get all bipartisan and sort of do a Judge Judy on you. The closer you get to that, the funnier you are. You just occasionally step over the line and that's a crowd to let you know up pretty fast.

DEAN: Yeah.

BERMAN: How hard do you think you could go, or how hard did you feel you could go on the President, and how hard do you think that Roy Wood thinks he can do it tonight?

HAMMOND: I don't think you do know.


I mean, you want to stay around the locker room towel snap. Hey, this is good natured fun. But, you don't know. I mean, you don't know. But, as I said, where is that line? There is -- there was this one time when I taught -- I said the thing, Clinton had been laugh and had been so supportive to me, and I said that thing about the Military and I looked in his eyes and there were like clouds going by. He just abandoned me, like. But, the whole time, he'd been laughing and yucking. Anyway, it's tough.

DEAN: And then, just, like that. It is. You're right. It's a high wire act, for sure. But, we are --


DEAN: -- we are cheering on Roy Wood. We're excited to see what he has got tonight, and it is fun to walk down memory lane with you.

BERMAN: Darrell Hammond, thank you so much. Great to see you.

HAMMOND: My pleasure. Nice to see you both.

BERMAN: We are going to be back with much more of our special coverage, including comedian Roy Wood Jr. and President Joe Biden. Stay with us.


DEAN: Well, as we await the President and comedian Roy Wood Jr. to roast Washington just in a few moments, we did send Harry Enten to the red carpet, and he brought us back some highlights.



ROY: Yes.

ENTEN: I have one question for you. Obviously, you're the comedian of the evening. But, if you were not in fact the comedian of the evening, would you actually be watching this event?


ENTEN: I am the dada (ph) guy. You know who I am?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah. I know exactly.

ENTEN: And I know who you are.

ROY: But, this was going up against Monday Night Football. And I'll be the yard and check back on it later.

ENTEN: That's a great question. I have no idea what I'm doing here. Oh, they called this the nerd prom. I have to ask, how does this compare to your actual prom back in the day? Well, actually, there is no difference between this prom, my actual prom. I don't have a date to either one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I wasn't nerd. So, this feels right to me.

ENTEN: Your accent makes my accent look so crummy by comparison, and people always say I have this thick New York accent, but nothing compared to your accent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow. Who can make this up?

ENTEN: Who can -- I don't think anyone could make it up. Oh, look, there is Phil Mattingly. I wonder if he'll tell us tales from his baseball days.

ROY: You know what I would love to see do this event? Chris Rock.

ENTEN: Oh. That -- wasn't here be okay?

ROY: You said it, not me.

ENTEN: I am very hard of myself. Do you suggest that he gets for dinner if he is looking for something interesting to eat in Bentonville, Arkansas?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, of course. The barbecue can't be beat there.

ENTEN: You stand then. You stand now. When the heck do you ever sit down, I'll start on this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's sort of a foodie paradise there. So, you'll find a lot of different options, and some incredible tacos, Mexican food.

ENTEN: I'm Harry.


ENTEN: Yeah. I know you, because I watched the show Wings. Wings was one of my favorite shows of all time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You must have been four-years-old. But, great. I'm glad you watched it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was on an episode of Wings.

ENTEN: Were you really?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah. I played this tall girl at a single stance, and I started crying because I'm too tall and no one wants to dance with me.

ENTEN: You are not too tall for me.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell three of us wear heels, actually. That's the -- that's a little known secret of this team.

ENTEN: Whatever you want to wear is all right by me. Can you believe they allowed me to do this? And I'm just standing here. I go out of myself. Who am I and what am I doing here? I don't really know the answer to that question. But, someone thought it wise for me to come down here. So, I was like, sure, what the heck? I'll interview some people. It turns out I've met some people. I've had a few laughs, a few jokes. But at the end of the day, Washington won't change me. I'll change Washington.


DEAN: I mean, I wish he'd have fun.

BERMAN: We have no idea what just happened right there.

DEAN: I don't know.

BERMAN: I don't this the Asa Hutchinson has any idea what happened right now.

DEAN: No. He was like, excuse me.

BERMAN: My prom.

DEAN: I was told I would not be asked about my prom.

JENNINGS: There is something before, like --

DEAN: Oh, Harry, that was great. All right. We're going to take a quick break. And I promise, it really is just moments now. We keep saying it, but it really is just moments now, the President of the United States coming to the microphone at the Annual White House Correspondents' Dinner. Don't miss it.



(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, FORMER GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA: -- always that you are actually doing the people's work. You're the ally of the people. So, never ever stop shining a light on the truth and informing the public. I'm very proud of all of you. And it's not just me. It's also Lulu and Whiskey and the -- my twin brother Danny DeVito. We're all proud of you.

DANNY DEVITO, AMERICAN ACTOR: Gimme some more of that cracker. Yeah, I come over here. I'm going to get bit by a horse. Okay, all-righty. Okay, that's the finger.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Good girl. Good girl.

DEVITO: Thank you very much.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Now, speaking of questions that annoyed the hell out of me, I would like to introduce you to someone who covered me during my time as governor of the great State of California, who has gone on to bigger and better things. Please welcome White House Correspondents' Association's President, Tamara Keith.

TAMARA KEITH, NPR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT AND CO-HOST: Ally of the people has a nice ring to it. Thank you, Governor, and welcome to the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner. For the first time since 2016, we have both the President and the Vice President here, as well as their spouses.

Their presence is a statement and endorsement of the importance of a free and independent press, even if they don't always like the questions we ask or the way we ask them. Now, acknowledging that this is an entire evening dedicated to celebrating journalism and the White House press corps, I am also here to tell you that it isn't about us or the celebrities who are here, though, thank you for your support. Thank you very much for your support.

As the governor said, as weird as this event is with politicians and glamorous famous people and totally unglamorous journalists all gathered in the same room, there is something uniquely American about the fact that we can all be here together. And then, these reporters can go out on Monday and do stories about these very same politicians that pull no punches.

When we're asking questions in the Oval Office under the wing of Air Force One or in the briefing room, we are standing for the American people. Our responsibility to the country is woven into the fabric of the nation, enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution. And we take that responsibility seriously. But, not so seriously that we can't have a little fun tonight and laugh at a few jokes, including some at our own expense.

So, welcome to the nation's biggest celebration of the First Amendment and the important work of bringing an inquisitive spotlight to those in power. Up first to present the WHCA awards, please welcome ABC News White House Correspondent, Karen Travers.

[21:35:00] KAREN TRAVERS, ABC NEWS: Good evening. I am honored to present this year's WHCA Awards to several incredible journalists, some of whom are also wonderful colleagues of mine on the White House beat, journalists who bring the years of wisdom and experience, sharp insights, and tenacious reporting every day to their beats.

The Aldo Beckman award for overall excellence in White House coverage is named for a former association president, the late Chicago Tribune Correspondent Aldo Beckman. This year, the award goes to Matt Viser of The Washington Post. The judges said Matt Viser stood out among his competitors for work that went beyond the humdrum of covering the managed events of the presidency and the White House. Viser captured the spirit of Joe Biden, particularly with stories about the President's brother and how his Catholic faith influenced his strategic vision of the office. The WHCA is pleased to give the Aldo Beckman Award to Matt Viser.

The WHCA gives out two awards for reporting under deadline pressure, one for print, another for broadcast. This year's print winner is Jeff Mason of Reuters. The judges said, based on a tip and working his sources, Jeff broke the news of a White House solar initiative late on the Sunday night, hours before the administration announced on Monday morning. The speed of just reporting had an impact on the markets and led to multiple other news outlets citing his piece before the official White House announcement the following day. Please welcome the winner of the Deadline Award for Print, from Reuters, Jeff Mason.

And now the broadcast award. This year's winner is Phil Mattingly of CNN. The judges said Phil Mattingly of CNN was ahead of the competition and the official White House announcement in breaking the news and the details of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's planned trip to the White House in December 2022. Phil led CNN's coverage of Zelenskyy's visit, including asking both Zelenskyy and President Biden questions at their joint press conference that elicited deeply personal and newsworthy responses. Phil's 16 live shots in a 24-hour period combined scoops, context and depth. Take a look.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right now, planning is underway for President Zelenskyy to visit the White House to meet with President Biden face to face, a visit that will coincide with the announcement of a new security assistance package, a package that will include some things Zelenskyy has long asked for, Patriot missile systems that White House officials and the Department of Defense have been weighing over the course of the last several weeks and have been moving towards signing off on.


TRAVERS: We are pleased to honor the deadline reporting of CNN's Phil Mattingly.

[21:40:00] The award for excellence in presidential news coverage by visual journalists this year goes to my dear friend, everybody's dear friend, Doug Mills of The New York Times. Of the winning photo, the judges said Doug Mills expertly captured an unscripted moment with President Joe Biden as he emerged from the shadows to celebrate the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 at an event on the South Lawn. The image is striking for its composition, symmetry, and use of light. The President's expression and posture intensify the atmosphere with a sense of gravity, as you, the gazing marine honor guards, who frame him. Let's congratulate New York Times photographer Doug Mills.

The WHCA partners with the University of Florida to present the Collier Prize for State Government Accountability, which is designed to encourage coverage of state government, focusing on investigative and political reporting. For their series about the spectacular failures by the State Bar of California to regulate and enforce the integrity of lawyers in the state, this year, the award goes to Harriet Ryan and Matt Hamilton of the Los Angeles Times.

The university said the series showed the bar's failure to prevent a trial attorney from using client settlement money to buy his wife $750,000 diamond earrings, and his mistress, a sitting appellate court justice, a $300,000 beachfront condo. It also showed that disbarment rates for blackmail lawyers are nearly four times more than those of their white peers. Their reporting resulted in reforms, government investigations, increased transparency and new legislation. Please join me in congratulating Harriet Ryan and Matt Hamilton of the Los Angeles Times.

The Katharine Graham Award for Courage and Accountability, named in honor of the legendary Washington Post Publisher, goes this year to Josh Gerstein and Alex Ward of POLITICO. The judges said POLITICO's efforts to report, verify and publish the draft Supreme Court opinion reversing abortion rights and the organization's follow-up work exploring the consequences of the decision were globally historic and groundbreaking. It flipped the long-standing belief here in Washington, D.C. that nothing leaks from the Supreme Court. Here was journalism about a ruling that has had a profound and immediate impact on tens of millions of lives. Take a look.


TRAVERS: Please welcome the winners of the Katharine Graham Award, from POLITICO, Josh Gerstein and Alex Ward. Congratulations.


Let's hear it one more time for all of this year's winners. Congratulations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please welcome to the microphone, POLITICO White House Correspondent and Playbook Co-Author, Eugene Daniels.

EUGENE DANIELS, POLITICO: What a beautiful evening. Hello, everyone. Obviously, there are some of us who come to this dinner very excited, to get selfies with celebrities. John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, hello you two. I will come back later. Lisa Vanderpump and Gene Sperling. But, that's not what this is about. What you're really doing here in this ballroom is funding scholarships for the next generation of the fourth estate.

Over the last 10 years, the WHCA has given out nearly $1.1 million in scholarships, and leveraged another $1 million in additional aid to aspiring journalists like Julia Benbrook. In 2021, while a student at Northwestern University, she won our Deborah Orin Scholarship. Tonight, she is here as a Washington Correspondent for Spectrum News.

Yesterday, we had 28 of this year's scholarship recipients meeting White House Correspondents Weijia Jiang from CBS, Zolan Kanno-Youngs from the New York Times, and Sabrina Siddiqui of The Wall Street Journal. They heard from Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, a strong supporter of press freedom, and the daughter of a journalist. And they got an on-the-record briefing from Karine Jean-Pierre, sitting in the seats we hope these students will someday occupy.


Me and other members of the White House press corps, spent most of yesterday with them, and let me tell you, these scholars are much more impressive than any of us were at that age. These amazing young journalists are here with us tonight. If they come to talk to you, give them a job. Now, with our students, please stand up and let's give them all a round of applause.

KEITH: And watch out, because these journalists are going to be hitting you up for scoops and jobs at all of the after parties. Last year at this dinner, we announced the creation of a new award for Lifetime Career Achievement as a White House Correspondent, the Dunnigan-Payne Prize.


It was named in honor of two trailblazing women, Alice Dunnigan and Ethel Payne, the first two African American women to serve in the White House press corps. They were also the first recipients posthumously of the prize that carries their name. Tonight, WHCA Vice President and NBC News Senior White House Correspondent Kelly O'Donnell will present the prize to two journalists she worked with closely and considered great friends.

KELLY O'DONNELL, NBC NEWS: Good evening. Tonight, we celebrate the extraordinary careers of two journalists who are deeply missed. Gwen Ifill of a PBS NewsHour in Washington Week. He passed away in 2016. And Bill Plante of CBS News who left us last year. The 2023 Dunnigan- Payne Prize honors Gwen and Bill. Now, beyond their well-known accomplishments, let me share a couple of memories that tell us a bit about who they were.

Gwen and I were colleagues at NBC News back in the 90s. I did not know her well at that time. As I was visiting D.C., covering my very first presidential race, I casually shared with her that I really didn't get by a campaign made certain behind the scenes moves. As Gwen was heading to her car, she stopped, turned around and offered up her experienced and smart take on what was really going on. Now, that helped me in the moment, but she gave me something much bigger. She showed me that real pros, stop, turn around and help out. Her example made me one of the that kind of colleague. Thank you, Gwen.

And Bill, more than 50 years at CBS News, was a master of the shouted question at the White House, one of the President's favorites, I'm sure. Many of us also knew Bill's gift for making presidential trips real life memories by finding time to experience the flavor of the places we visited. Around the world, he would select a perfect restaurant, the right bottle of wine, and bring together a group of us to hear his stories and share some of our own. A rooftop in Vietnam, hearing about his war coverage, was exceptional. What a memory. He encouraged us to savor the journey of this job. Thank you, Bill.

Gwen and Bill were gracious and generous. John Dickerson at CBS News shows us how their tremendous careers we have a legacy of excellence.


BILL PLANTE, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: My name is Bill Plante, and I'd like to show you some of my work.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For 52 years at CBS News, Bill Plante showed us his work, covering the civil rights struggle.


PLANTE: Is this the grand climax?




PLANTE: Bill Plante, CBS News, (inaudible).


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Presidents Reagan, Clinton, Bush and Obama.


PLANTE: Mr. President, do you believe Osama bin Laden's denial that he had anything to do with this?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bill's approach was simple, ask direct questions, and keep your opinion out of it.


PLANTE: Did you make a mistake in sending arms to Tehran, sir? REAGAN: No. And I'm not taking any more questions.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His baritone in case to the best of accountability, journalism, from his front row seat to history, even when getting to that seat required a climb.


CLINTON: It was very impressive.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or when he wasn't in it.


OBAMA: Real point. No. Bill is not here. That's shocking.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Bill was beloved around the halls of CBS News, collaborative, generous in spirit, and with spirits. On the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday --


PLANTE: Mr. President, why is there such a disparity in the way blacks and whites see race relations?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bill conducted his final presidential interview, steps from the Edmund Pettus Bridge, a place where he'd witnessed the march to Montgomery a half a century earlier, at a time when a black president seemed impossible.


OBAMA: A white newsman, Bill Plante, who covered the marches then and who is with us here today, quipped that the growing number of white people lowered the quality of the singing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gwen Ifill, a preacher's daughter, came of age in the civil rights era.


Her journalism career began at a Boston newspaper.


GWEN IFILL, WASHINGTON WEEK, PBS NEWSHOUR: I came to work as an intern and found a racial slur directed at me at my new -- my workspace, and instead of getting assaulted and suing, I just hung in there.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we're lucky she did. Her talent took her to the Baltimore Evening Sun, Washington Post, and New York Times, where she covered the Clinton White House.


IFILL: How do you address those two things?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then, television came calling. First, NBC.


IFILL: Bob Doll really does have a good argument to make about how his tax cut will help women.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then in 1999, to the PBS NewsHour and Washington Week. She became the first black woman moderator of a national public affairs show. Gwen was also admired for incisive questions and thorough preparation, skills she brought to the PBS NewsHour anchor desk as one half of the first all-female network news team.


JUDY WOODRUFF, ANCHOR, CBS NEWSHOUR: Good evening. I'm Judy Woodruff.

IFILL: And I'm Gwen Ifill.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She moderated a pair of vice presidential debates and tangled with presidents too.


OBAMA: I always appreciated Gwen's reporting even when I was at the receiving end of one of her tough and thorough interviews.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a city so often defined by cold power and its abuse, Gwen Ifill shared what she had achieved, turning her smile to light the way for those she could help. She was often a first, but she made sure she wasn't the only.


IFILL: Promise to care about more than yourself to affect the lives of those around you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tonight we honor Bill Plante and Gwen Ifill posthumously with the Dunnigan-Payne Prize for Lifetime Career Achievement.

KEITH: What a remarkable legacy, and accepting the Dunnigan-Payne Prize on Bill's behalf is his son, Chris Plante. And for Gwen, please welcome her brother Bert Ifill. How lucky are we to have their example, their record of accomplishment, and everything that they leave us to inspire us going forward. The Dunnigan-Payne Prize, thank you all so much. Gwen and Bill truly were the best of the best.

When I was a teenager, my parents showed me a movie that opened my eyes to the possibilities that I didn't even really know existed. We were living in Hanford, California, which is a smallish town in California Central Valley, surrounded by dairies and cotton fields and orchards. But, this movie, it transported me across the country. It was about a hard charging TV producer with a clarity of purpose and really strong feelings about how journalism should be. It took me to Washington, D.C., where news was life, and the stakes were always high. The movie was broadcast news.

And the dramatic climax takes place on the night of the White House Correspondents' Dinner with Holly Hunter as TV producer. Holly Hunter was dressed up as TV producer Jane Craig, and she wears this fancy strapless gown, black with white polka dots and a big bow on the front. As you can see, it made quite an impression. What I saw on the screen seems so unattainable, so very far away. Many of the journalists here in this room started at small local papers, like the Hanford Sentinel, or TV stations and tiny markets or niche industry newsletters.