Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. did not attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, but he was the star anyway.
Mid-way through the dinner, President Barack Obama presented a seven-minute long video of Biden taking “Veep” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus on an adventure around the White House and Washington, D.C.
Biden played a Steve McQueen-esque version of himself, sporting a bomber jacket and driving a Corvette around the grounds of the Naval Observatory while wearing aviators … at night.
Word spread fast online over the video. While dinner attendees rushed off to after-parties, and eventually bed, there were nearly 35,000 views of the video on YouTube as of 9:20 a.m.
House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi performed cameos, along with first lady Michelle Obama.
Pelosi popped up when Biden and Louis-Dreyfus stopped by a seedy tattoo parlor. Pelosi calmly greeted the pair as she was being administered body art that said “It’s gavel time.”
Boehner, known in the video as “J-Dawg,” told Louis-Dreyfus that he would skip the dinner in favor “important things going on in the Capitol.” That meant watching the National Zoo’s panda cam.
As for the rest of the night, the evening’s comedian, Joel McHale did not completely bomb in the room, although there was visceral reaction to his needles on Twitter. Some jokes went over well, particularly one mocking Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s apology for the George Washington Bridge Scandal
But the collective sentiment among the reporter-set after the dinner was that his performance was “too mean” and jokes about Sen. Lindsey Graham and Biden were below the belt.
“He needed an editor,” a TV executive groused at the MSNBC after-party.
Overall, the tone of this dinner was markedly different from the recent past, back when a fading star like Lindsay Lohan, drink in hand, was chased through the Washington Hilton lobby by paparazzi. Several news outlets noted that the dinner has lost appeal among many on the Hollywood A-List.
There were still plenty of actors and sports stars to be seen, especially among actors who appear on fictional shows about politics. But the decline in Tinseltown presence meant that actual sources — Hill staffers, members, political operatives — had an increased presence this year.
Members spotted include: Republican Sens. Deb Fischer of Nebraska and Ted Cruz of Texas, John McCain of Arizona; Democratic Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Charles E. Schumer of New York; Pelosi, Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and Joseph P. Kennedy III of Massachusetts, Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
Hill staffers and operatives also showed up in force and included: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s spokesman Doug Heye, AshLee Strong communications director for Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill and DCCC independent expenditure director Jesse Ferguson.