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Kessler Dishes on Secret Service, Salahis and His New Book

Kessler at Teatro Goldoni.

“An author’s life is a roller coaster. Sometimes you write a book that no one really cares about, but this one is quite the opposite,” Ronald Kessler said of his latest “In the President’s Secret Service” to a small dinner of journos last night.

Consider the timing- Kessler’s book came out just before the Salahis party-crashing story broke. He says that the stories in his book actually exceed this White House security breach. And that the fault lies with the Secret Service’s management.

The dinner at Teatro Goldoni was hosted by Janet Donovan, Christina Warnke and Beth Solomon, whose Georgetown Dish launches next week.

Joining them was: CBS’ Steve Chaggaris, Pamela’s Punch Pamela Sorensen, Bisnow’s Patrick Dowd, Yeas & Nays’ Nikki Schwab, Washington Whispers’ Jessica Rettig, Washington Life‘s John Arundel (with mags hot off the press in hand), Bill Press, Fox’s Catherine Herridge and The Hill‘s Christina Wilkie.

With late appearances by Time‘s Jay Newton-Small and Bobby Ghosh, Politico‘s Kiki Ryan, Tim Burger and Christina Sevilla.

More photos courtesy of the lovely Pamela Sorensen after the jump…

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What’s Going On Tonight…

“Suspicious Package” Tears Down the Wall

“Suspicious Package”- Tim Burger, Tom Toles, Josh Meyer, Bryan Greene and Christina Sevilla- played at the German Embassy Saturday night, at a gala celebrating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

More photos after the jump…

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To Crash or Not to Crash? The Media-Types’ Complete Holiday Party Guide

We’ll just provide the dets of this holiday season’s media-type parties, most of which are invite-only, and let you decide for yourself whether or not to pull a Salahi…


6-8pm British Ambassador Nigel Sheinwald hosts Christmas Drinks at the residence (invite only)

Tuesday, December 8th

6pm Quinn & Gillespie host a “Holiday Party” at the W Roof (invite only)

6:30-8:30pm The American News Women’s Club host a “Holiday Party” at headquarters on Embassy Row (invite only)

7:30pm The Brunswick Group’s Hilary Rosen, David Shapiro, David Sutphen and Michele Davis host a “Holiday Party” at L2 (invite only)

Wednesday, December 9th

6-8pm MediaBistro hosts a “Holiday Party” at Current Sushi

Thursday, December 10th

6pm Radio & TV Correspondents Association hosts a “Holiday Party” at the Capitol Visitors Center

6-8pm Regional Reporters hosts a “Holiday Party” in the Truman Lounge at the National Press Club

Monday, December 14th

6:30-9pm NLGJA-DC hosts “Cocktails and Conversation” at Long View Gallery, with special guests, former employees of Blade

Wednesday, December 16th

7-9pm Fashion Group International of Greater Washington, DC and Greater Washington Fashion Chamber of Commerce host a “Very Fashionable Holiday” at Saki

We’ll continue to update this list. Follow FBDC’s coverage here on the blog and on Twitter.

Palin and Rep. Frank Entertain at Gridiron’s First Tweet-able Dinner

Times are a-changin’ for the Gridiron Club. For the first time in its 124-year history, the Gridiron lifted its “off the record” rule at a dinner and allowed tweeting, CNN reported first (and tweeted).

USA Today‘s Susan Page, CNN’s John King, Time‘s Karen Tumulty, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times and Politics Daily’s Lynn Sweet and one of the Gridiron’s newest members Slate and CBS’ (and avid Tweeter) John Dickerson– just some of the journos at last night’s dinner whose Tweets we were following.

Sarah Palin- who was in town for a book signing- and Rep. Barney Frank were the winter dinner’s Republican and Democratic speakers, respectively.

Palin, who attended with husband Todd, poked fun at herself:

@mitchellreports: Surrounded by newsmen and women -Palin joked she likes being in dc – can see the russian embassy from her hotel room

@lynnsweet: Sarah Palin said she was at the Gridiron journo dinner ” to put a face to all those newspapers I do read.”

@ktumulty: Palin tells #gridiron that if situations had been reversed, biden would be writing memoir called “going rogaine”

@ktumulty: Palin tells #gridiron that in dc “I went out for a jog. Or as newsweek calls it–a photo shoot.”

@susanpage: More #palin at #gridiron: said she was addressing “leading journalists and intellectuals, or as I put it, a death panel.”

And some Frank highlights:

@susanpage: At #gridiron, Barney frank proposes reality tv show for palin-McCain: “John & Sarah minus 8.” says his show would be “king of queens.”

@mitchellreports: Barney doest tweet – says “maybe I lack intellectual curiousity bcuz I’m not that interested in what claire mccaskill had for lunch

And the closer…

@johnkingcnn: Governor Palin joins Gridiron Chorus for dinner final song, a twist on 12 Days of Christmas.

The Gridiron dinners are closed to the media- and club leaders say last night’s tweeting was just an experiment for now.

EARLIER on FBDC… Tonight: Journos’ Gridiron Dinner with Palin and Rep. Frank

RELATED… AP: Palin pokes fun at herself at journalists’ dinner

CNN Celebrates the Holidays at Nats Stadium

CNN hit the batting cages at Nationals Stadium last week for the bureau holiday party. Ed Henry got shots of John King and Briana Keilar in action and shared them on Twitter.

We hear there was even karaoke involved… and that Wolf Blitzer and Donna Brazile make quite the duet.

More pics via @edhenrycnn after the jump…

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“SNL” Spoofs the Salahis

“Saturday Night Live” opened with a Salahi spoof last night (and the DC Twitterverse went wild)…

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer also got the “SNL” treatment last night, reporting on Tiger Woods.

Richard Wolffe Working on Second Obama Book

Via WaPo‘s Reliable Source:

After a brief stint in lobbying/PR, Richard Wolffe is back in journalism.

The longtime White House correspondent for Newsweek — a talking head so ubiquitous and vivid (those glasses, that accent) he inspired a “Saturday Night Live” caricature — had left the magazine in April to become a senior strategist with Public Strategies. He remained on TV while with the public affairs firm (though MSNBC took heat for originally failing to note he’d switched sides). And now, eight months later … he’s leaving to write a book about the White House, he told us. “I have nothing but good things to say about [Public Strategies], but the chance of writing a White House book was the opportunity of a lifetime,” he said.

His publisher is Crown, which put out his brisk-selling Obama campaign book, “Renegade.”

Sunday Show Preview

NBC’s Meet the Press: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), NYT‘s Thomas Friedman and WaPo‘s Bob Woodward

CBS’ Face the Nation: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

ABC’s This Week: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) and a roundtable with CFR President Richard Haass, ABC’s and columnist George Will, The Nation‘s Katrina vanden Heuvel and WSJ‘s Peggy Noonan

Fox News Sunday: U.S. Central Command Commander Gen. David Petraeus, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and a panel with Fox News analysts Weekly Standard‘s Bill Kristol, NPR’s Mara Liasson, former White House press secretary Dana Perino and NPR’s Juan Williams

CNN’s State of the Union: National security advisor Ret. Gen. Jim Jones (Ret.), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Gov. Mitt Romney (R) and CNN’s Mary Matalin and James Carville

CNN’s Reliable Sources with Howard Kurtz: CBS’ Chip Reid,’s David Frum, TNR‘s Michelle Cottle, Lisa Bloom, Us Weekly‘s Bradley Jacobs and New York Magazine‘s Will Leitch

CNN’s GPS with Fareed Zakaria: U.S. Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke, NYT‘s Tom Friedman and former IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei

NBC’s The Chris Matthews Show: BBC’s Katty Kay, New York Magazine‘s John Heilemann, CNN’s Gloria Borger and Time‘s Michael Duffy

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal: ABC’s Martha Raddatz, Time‘s Michael Duffy, NJ‘s James Kitfield and LAT‘s Doyle McManus

Bloomberg’s Political Capital with Al Hunt: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Bloomberg’s Janine Zacharia, Margaret Carlson and Kate O’Beirne

Washington Watch with Roland Martin: U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), and U.S. Army (Retired) Major General John Hawkins, American Urban Radio Networks April Ryan, Republican commentator Ron Christie, Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons, Politico‘s Nia-Malika Henderson and News One/Interactive One’s Smokey Fontaine

CNN’s Amanpour: Afghan President Hamid Karzai

Tonight: Journos’ Gridiron Dinner with Palin and Rep. Frank

To preview tonight’s winter Gridiron dinner, here’s FBDC’s post from earlier this week:

The Gridiron Club’s winter dinner is this Saturday and while the President isn’t expected to attend, some big name guests will be there.

For speakers, Sarah Palin, who’s in Fairfax for a book signing Saturday, will represent the Republican party and Barney Frank will rep the Democrats. The Gridiron’s main event is in the spring so at this weekend’s dinner, there will be a few songs, but no extravagant costumes.

A Gridiron representative tells FBDC the President doesn’t traditionally attend this smaller dinner. Though you’d remember President Obama didn’t attend the Gridiron dinner in March, he was the Democratic speaker at the 2004 winter dinner after his election to the Senate.

“Thanks to Sarah Palin and Barney Frank, it looks like we’ll have the biggest turnout in many years,” Gridiron secretary Carl Leubsdorf told FBDC. They expect about 190 guests.

This will also be the Gridiron’s first online journalist’s debut event- Slate’s John Dickerson was welcomed to the club earlier this month.