“The whole party would be in the pen,” joked one reporter.
Then again, who actually cares about the reporters?
“Have you seen Kim Kardashian!” said one breathless middle-aged lady in a tight short garden dress to The Observer at Ms. Haddad’s.
No, but one of the Jonas brothers was standing nearby a few minutes ago.
“Go find him!” she said. “I’ll take your picture!”
Ms. Haddad also had some sponsors for her event. Among them? Audi.
“YOU GUYS ARE partnered up with Jay-Z?” said Tracy Morgan.
“That’s right!” said talk-radio maven and Fox News contributor Ellen Ratner.
It was about 7 p.m. on Saturday, and in the halls of the Hilton Hotel, all was abustle an hour before the start of the Correspondents Dinner. But Tracy Morgan, a guest of The New Yorker, relaxed against a wall at the magazine’s first-ever cocktail hour and chatted with Ms. Ratner, who was recruiting him as a booster for the Nets, Brooklyn’s soon-to-be basketball team, which—for the moment, at least—is still owned and controlled by her brother, Bruce.
“I was born and raised in Brooklyn, so I gotta represent,” Mr. Morgan said.
Ms. Ratner took down his cell number and his agent’s name. That Mr. Morgan now lives in Manhattan did little to damper her enthusiasm.
“My brother will be so excited. Am I right?” she asked a group of men with her. “Won’t my brother be excited? We gotta get you guys”—she wheeled her arms—”moving!”
“I want to be courtside,” he said. “I wanna be down there like with Spike Lee.”
“I think since the inauguration of Obama, Hollywood has been more desirous to come here,” said ABC star Jake Tapper nearby in the the network’s pre-party cocktail room. “It’s no secret that Hollywood leans a little left, and that’s had an impact. And, you know, people in Hollywood like this president.”
Outside the ABC room, the network was promoting Mr. Tapper as an award recipient with a big placard of his face as we walked in. Katie Couric, when she walked by, burst into laughter at seeing the sign.
“I’ve got mixed feelings about this dinner,” said Mark Knoller, the CBS radio veteran, in his booming radio voice.
“Unless you’re bringing an Oscar-nominated actress, people look down their nose,” he said. “This is a journalistic gathering, you know?”
“How can you be a journalist and advocate holding a party at a public place and saying it’s off the record?” he said. “I don’t get it. When the Gridiron puts its dinner off the record, that’s wrong. They’re journalists, they ought to be fighting for open coverage, not off the record. You want to do something off the record, hold it in your living room.”
A few minutes earlier, in the back of CBS’s room, a bartender poured a Bud Light for everyman senator Scott Brown, a guest of Mr. Tapper and one of the few politicians turning heads. Mr. Brown pounded what was left in the bottle, grabbed the glass of beer, and another of white wine.
Did he have a second for The Observer?
“Let me deliver this drink,” he said.
“Yeah, we’re not doing interviews tonight,” said a spokeswoman who hurriedly intervened after the wine had been delivered. “The senator is going to be with his family.”
Mr. Brown was flanked by his two daughters—the ones he had famously offered up a few months prior—and by his wife, who was showing off a tan that would make John Boehner jealous. “Are we in the ABC room?” she whispered to a woman next to her.
A few hours later, his daughter, Ayla Brown, was at the Bloomberg and Vanity Fair after-party at the very Eyes Wide Shut–like home of the French ambassador. Adrian Grenier, a.k.a. Vinny Chase, walked around with his hand on the small of her back.
The Vanity Fair party last year was a tiny and intimate affair. This year, it was mobbed. The invite list seemed to have doubled. Everyone stayed well past 2 a.m. There was Washington Post editor Marcus Brauchli only a few feet away from the guy who fired him from his old job at the Journal, Rupert Murdoch. Maureen Dowd was poolside, and slipped her heels off and walked around barefoot. Jimmy Fallon and Judd Apatow stayed for hours in a corner. New Redskins coach Mike Shanahan and quarterback Donovan McNabb were chatting with Mr. Murdoch. Then they chatted with Charlie Rose.
“Jessica!” screamed Tammy Haddad. “Have you met Tony Romo?”
Ms. Haddad, 12 hours later, was still networking. This time she was introducing Jessica Alba to the Cowboys quarterback.