Raging Bull Gives Politicians Slip as ‘Veep’ Snaps Selfie

It was almost midnight, and actor Robert De Niro, smiling broadly, slipped an arm around the waist of International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde while photographers clicked away.

“I told him how much I loved ’Raging Bull,’” Lagarde said. He gushed about her work in world finance.

This scene, at the residence of Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero for the annual Bloomberg/Vanity Fair party May 3, capped a weekend of events around the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner where royalty from television, music, fashion, film, and the halls of power united.

De Niro left early, relatively speaking, as other famous figures looked for him.

“He’s the only one I haven’t been able to get to,” said New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, preoccupied with his own gaggle consisting mostly of journalists hoping for a morsel of information about his plans for 2016.

Attorney General Eric Holder wanted to kid De Niro about his evil glamour in tough-guy roles setting a “bad example” for would-be criminals.

Holder was joined by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who enjoyed an animated chat with CNBC “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer.

Actor Patrick Stewart, Captain Jean-Luc Picard in “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” was one of the first guests to arrive, seen roaming through the house with a slice of pizza and glass of champagne. Staying until the wee hours were “Veep” actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, supermodel Linda Evangelista, singer-actress Jessica Simpson and country music’s Brad Paisley (without cowboy hat).

‘Cards’ Rules

Louis-Dreyfus took a selfie with Seattle Seahawks star cornerback Richard Sherman. Reid Scott, who plays staff Machiavellian Dan Egan on “Veep,” looked to be keeping character when he took a phone call at the edge of the ambassador’s patio while other guests mingled.

“House of Cards” co-star Robin Wright stood in the valet line barefoot, shoes in hand, at 2 a.m.

It had been a long weekend for the actress and her castmates, who were the star attractions at the weekend’s marathon of parties even without lead actor Kevin Spacey.

“I see them at all the parties, and I think I already know them,” said BET Networks head Debra Lee.

At the residence of British Ambassador Peter Westmacott on the night of May 2, Wright, who plays Spacey’s wife Claire Underwood on the series, was the guest of honor in sleeveless black Joseph Altuzarra.

Wright kept mostly to herself on the terrace’s sofa where she was joined by presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett, a fan of the show.

“I’m going to just have fun and have a relaxing weekend,” Jarrett said.

Ronan’s Selfie

“Cards” cast members Michael Kelly, Molly Parker and Michael Gill, who plays fictional president Garrett Walker, shared storyline jokes with guests. Everyone wanted to know if they watch the British version of the series, a hit for the BBC in the early 1990s. “No, I refrained,” Wright said.

Across town, De Niro headlined a reception for Politico, while Stewart bear-hugged journalist and lawyer Ronan Farrow, the son of actress Mia Farrow and Woody Allen, at a small late-night gathering at a bar.

“I think you can Instagram it,” Farrow reassured one fan whose “selfie” with him didn’t turn out as planned under the muted lighting.

‘Sex,’ Immigration

At a garden brunch at the home of Venturehouse Group founder Mark Ein, Representative Darrell Issa, a California Republican, huddled with the host and Steve Case, the former AOL Inc. chairman. Issa said they were having a spirited debate over immigration reform.

Singer Katharine McPhee, in a pastel Rachel Zoe jumpsuit, perused the buffet while actress Anna Chlumsky, who plays a frazzled aide on “Veep,” sat smiling and relaxed on the lawn with other cast members.

There was a rush of activity when Lupita Nyong’o, fresh from her best-actress Academy Award for “12 Years a Slave,” made her entrance in the parlor, radiant in strapless red.

At the Washington Hilton, before the dinner began, actress Cynthia Nixon of “Sex and the City” fame joined Democratic Senators Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Chuck Schumer of New York, and Representative Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, at The Atlantic/CBS party. At the Yahoo! News/ABC event, Issa was joined by Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, and Yahoo Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer.

Kenya, Clinton

At the dinner, President Barack Obama followed tradition by trying stand-up comedy. Ten one-liners that scored:

-- “I usually start off these dinners with a few self-deprecating jokes. After my stellar 2013, what could I possibly talk about?”

-- “At one point things got so bad, the 47 percent called Mitt Romney to apologize.”

-- “In 2008 my slogan was ‘Yes We Can.’ In 2013 it was ‘Control-Alt-Delete.’ ”

-- On the dinner’s comedian host, Joel McHale, and the gala’s reputation: “On ‘Community,’ Joel plays a preening, self-obsessed narcissist. So this dinner must be a real change of pace for you.”

-- On CNN: “I am a little jet-lagged from my trip to Malaysia; the lengths we have to go to get CNN coverage these days.” Obama then joked that lost-Malaysian-plane-obsessed CNN was probably still trying to find its table.

-- On the Boston Marathon: An American winning the Boston Marathon was inspiring and “only fair, because a Kenyan has been president for the last six.”

-- On Fox News and the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency: “Let’s face it Fox, you’ll miss me when I’m gone. It’ll be harder to convince the American people that Hillary was born in Kenya.”

Orange Glow

-- On Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy: “As a general rule, things don’t end well when a sentence starts, ‘Let me tell you something about the negro.’”

-- On how well Obamacare would have to work for Republicans to quit trying to repeal it: “What if your yearly checkup came with tickets to a Clippers game? Not the old Don Sterling Clippers, the new Oprah Clippers. Would that be good enough?”

-- And, judged by audience response, his best effort of the night poked fun at the House speaker’s ever-present tan: “These days the House Republicans actually give John Boehner a harder time than they give me... which means that orange really is the new black.”

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