Photo by Natalia Janetti
The so-true program illustration
The so-true program illustration

Linda Deutsch (left) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Linda Deutsch (left) and Sen. Barbara Boxer

The Washington Establishment was in full flower Thursday night as journalists, wanna-be pundits, members of Congress, lobbyists, Trump and Cruz critics, and young people who aspire to climb a ladder of some sort gathered at the 72th annual Congressional dinner of the Washington Press Foundation.

On the dais were House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Barbara Boxer, House Speaker Paul Ryan (minus his Abe Lincoln beard), ex Republican presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham, Representative Kevin McCarthy and emcee Bill Plante of CBS News’.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Sen. Lindsey Graham

Cocktails pre-and-post dinner that drew hundreds upon hundreds to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel brought a din of networking voices. Skills in lip reading were a must. Photographers scanned the jackets for lapel pins that proved the wearer was a current senator or congressperson.

The night honored AP reporter Linda Deutsch with a Lifetime Achievement Award. She famously covered high profile legal trials, such those involving O.J. Simpson, Patty Hearst, Charles Manson, Michael Jackson and Sirhan Sirhan.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

Jonathan Tamari of the Philadelphia Inquirer was the recipient of the David Lynch Regional Reporting Award for excellence in congressional reporting.

Digs at presidential candidates were de rigueur and so it was:

Pelosi about Ted Cruz: “How can you not like a Canadian?”

And again:

“There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t laugh at my jokes.”

Boxer: Trump has been married so many times that “he calls his current wife an incumbent:”

Graham brought the house down by donning a Make America Great Again white baseball cap. His monologue included:  “My party has gone batsh** crazy.” And, “if you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, nobody would convict you.” He also noted that he himself ran for president, got out, and then endorsed Jeb Bush until JEB got out.  “I am the Dr. Kevorkian of the Republican primary.”

Here's a bit of history on the Foundation:

The Women's National Press Club was at the forefront in the battle for equal rights, with an emphasis on women in journalism.  After a fierece struggle for equality throughout the 1950s and '60s, it took the lead and admitted men in 1970, becoming the Washington Press Club. Within months, the National Press Club opened its doors to women.  In 1985, the two clubs merged and the Washington Press Club Foundation was established to continue to pursue the goals of the original Women's National Press Club. The Foundation now supports local newsrooms by funding internships, and also works to preserve the history of pioneering women in journalism.