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Snubbed, media readies cozy Obama dinner to sing Auld Lang Syne

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

When Washington's Big Media get mad, as they are at President Obama's repeated snubs and lack of promised access, they don't get even--they beg for forgiveness.

For only his second time as president, Obama has agreed to attend next month's Gridiron Club dinner hosted by the self-appointed top 65 Washington journalists.

And what message will the dinner of 600-700 from the 128-year-old bastion of tough-nosed American journalism be?

"We look forward to welcoming him to bask in the warmth of the Gridiron next month when we will end our third consecutive dinner with 'Auld Lang Syne'," said Gridiron President Chuck Lewis of Hearst in an email to members Friday.

The dinner is one of Washington's coziest. Where others, notably the White House Correspondents' Dinner attracts many more and is known for Hollywood appearances, the Gridiron is home to Washington's political and media elite. Typically in the past, the president has spoken, followed by the leading Democratic and Republican rising star. The night is also filled with skits and singing by members of the media.

Obama has only attended one dinner since becoming president, in 2011. There he won kudos for his jokes at the annual dinner that features skits and songs. He was the first president ever to snub the group in his first year as president.

But since the election, press relations with the White House have hit rock bottom.

Below is the Gridiron email sent out today:

Fellow Gridiron members:

I am pleased to report that President Obama has accepted our invitation to the March 9, 2013, Spring Dinner, his fourth Gridiron dinner.

This news comes as the MGC gears up for our intense rehearsal schedule starting Monday, for a high-energy show produced by John Mulligan and the talented music team. (Rehearsal schedule on the way to you momentarily.)

Many will recall Mr. Obama's speech at the 2004 Winter Dinner -- he was merely senator-elect back then. He was twinned that evening with then-Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts as the Republican speaker, providing further evidence, if any were needed, of the club's record for spotting stars in their ascendancy.

Mr. Obama returned as our 2006 Spring Dinner Democratic speaker when he supplemented his comments at the rostrum with a song. This came as a surprise to most of us who had no idea of his musical inclination that was later displayed at various times during his first term in the White House.

President Obama also spoke at our 2011 spring dinner.

We look forward to welcoming him to bask in the warmth of the Gridiron next month when we will end our third consecutive dinner with "Auld Lang Syne" before 10:20 p.m.

I hope to see everyone at rehearsals starting Monday.

Regards,

Chuck