place-setting.jpg Ed Chen, President of WHCA and a reporter at Bloomberg, said today that he believes everything at this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner will run smoothly. Although right now, he admitted, on a scale of one to ten his nerves are at a “minus four.”

He added, “All in all we’re almost there. That’s what I say to myself every morning.”

Yes, it’s true, the hotel patio at the Hilton is unavailable.

“It’s just not ready and we knew that,” Chen said. “The idea is to check that only people who have invitations can get past that point. This is all designed to keep out people who are not invited. We were more worried about the congestion. We think what we’re trying to do will make things better.”

Some WHCA attendees are in full blown worry mode that the new stringent invitation system will make the evening a cluster%&$!. The patio is (again) closed for renovations, so all parties will be downstairs. As FishbowlDC reported earlier today, the WHCA notice says news organizations must post volunteers on the concourse to check off guests.

“This could be very ugly,” one scribe declared. “If the checking off is going on at the top of the escalators, that’ll push everything right out the door.”