Sarah Palin and Barney Frank were the featured speakers at last night’s winter dinner of the Gridiron Club. The event also marked what could be the beginning of a new era for the 124-year-old club, which is an institution where traditions die hard. (It was only five years ago that they decided to open up membership to journalists from magazines and new-fangled broadcast outlets, which is how I happened to be invited to join. John Dickerson of Slate was recently inducted as the club’s first internet journalist. )
Last night, the club moved a step further into the 21st century:
These evenings are traditionally deemed “off the record,” but that has never really been enforced. (Indeed, it was at a Gridiron dinner that Teddy Roosevelt first railed about about those who “muckrake.” The NYT later reported “It made such an impression that he was urged to deliver it in public, and he did, but in a much-toned-down version.”)
Last night, in another (and overdue, in my view) break with tradition, members were formally allowed to write about–even Tweet!–the proceedings.
You can see some of the one-liners on my Twitterfeed here. Jerry Seib has a fuller summary here that includes Palin’s solo in the club’s rendition of the “Twelve Days of Christmas.” Some others who were working their thumbs last night: John Dickerson, Lynn Sweet, Susan Page,Andrea Mitchell,
and John King.