May 8th, 2009
11:50 PM ET

Dear President Obama #110: Dinner Time!

Reporter's Note: President Obama believes Americans should help determine the future of their country by sending suggestions to him. I believe they should help determine the college plans of my children by sending checks to me. So far I am helping him with his plan, with a letter a day to the White House.

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Hey, it just occurred to me that we’re going to have dinner together tonight! In a manner of speaking. It will be me, you and about four-thousand other journalists and their guests, but still I feel we’ve grown to share a special bond and I look forward to the occasion.

And that’s saying something. DC is a city that loves big, hot shot, black tie dinners packed with Senators, diplomats, and movie stars. Congressmen too, although, as you know, they are about a dime a dozen in this town. Can’t swing a dead cat without hitting one, but still they give the Senators someone to push around, so they serve a purpose. And the White House Correspondents dinner is one of the hottest tickets of the year. I’ve chatted up Bo Derek, Tim Gunn, Michael Bloomberg, Joe Biden, and a host of others during this dinner (or at least at some dinners a lot like it) in the past, and it’s pretty good fun.

On the other hand, I’ve never felt entirely comfortable socializing with political types. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to insult you and your pals. I just think when we journalists start walking around in tuxes and gowns with you all, (and yes, I will be wearing a gown) sharing drinks, and laughs, and meeting your spouses, it can look an awful lot like we’re friends. And by our very nature, I don’t think we should be. We don’t have to be enemies or antagonists. But people already think (rightfully so, I’m afraid, sometimes) we’re too chummy as it is.

Enough of that. This is your first one of these, right? I don’t recall seeing you there before, so here are a few tips. Don’t expect much from the food. It’s good enough, but they’re cooking for a veritable media army so a certain gustatory predictability prevails. Don’t check your coat. The pickup line is way too long afterward. And, only a suspicion, but you might want to give the Fox table a wide berth. Just saying.

I know being a newcomer can be awkward. So I’ll make the same offer I’d make to any new President: Give me a buzz, or text me on the sly, if you want me to introduce you around. See you there!



Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Terry, TX

    To quote Tom..."but you might want to give the Fox table a wide berth"... why Tom...he might actually get a difficult question...apparently with their ratings they must be do something right. Last I checked this isn't Venezuela or Cuba where all the media has been taken over by the government. Hey ..aren't several CNN employees now working for the White House...how about Carville and Belago...spokespersons for Rahm Emmanuel...Susan Roesgen and Anderson with their coverage of American Citizens on April 15th. Well the President should have spent half his time at the MSNBC and CNN tables. Hmmmm.

    May 11, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  2. Rose from Muscoy, Calif

    Well, Tom if you feel that way stay home!

    May 11, 2009 at 12:06 am |
  3. J.V.Hodgson

    I cannot see you Tom or CNN as a media group becoming even remotely "Chummy" with President Obama.
    Nor should you be either "Chummy" or his "best worst enemy".
    Did I miss something here about journalists and medias responsibilty and obligations:-
    Fair, balanced, factual, reasonable, accurate, reporting even if you "personally " disagree!?
    Not an easy job I agree but this level of flippancy, undermines you at least as an individual reporter. If you believe these events are a waste of time say so, and then justify that view based on your responsibility and obligations as a reporter.
    Just in case you missed it, this comment falls into the Negative type CNN asks for in Contact us.

    May 10, 2009 at 3:11 am |
  4. Boomer

    Who is Wanda Sykes and what moron led her to believe she is funny? Barack Obama did not get to be President by saying 'you know' at least two times in every sentence.

    May 9, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
  5. Jacqueline, NY


    You're too funny. Have fun at the dinner.

    May 9, 2009 at 6:56 pm |
  6. Arlinda Davis-Miller

    I recently viewed the student loan segment, i believe there was a young lady from Atlanta with $20,000 in student loans. Well try $221,088.67 for a bachelors of Arts and Humanities, where do you work with this degree, certainly not any place the will allow you to make enough money to pay mortage, light, gas, etc. and take care of one college age child and two that will be college age soon enough the original loan amount given to me was $44,444.44 and $25,560.00 how this adds up to $221,088.67, I never know, i am currently employed making only $42,000 annually, but not because of my bachelors is in, but what I went to trade school for in 1998. huh, it's pretty depressing knowing i'll go to the grave and beyond paying these folks off. I've work at a non-for-profit for 5 years and is currently teaching, i believe that the amount that they will allow me to write-off the student loan will not even scratch the surface.....help I feel overwhelmed...........

    May 9, 2009 at 11:58 am |