tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN April 30, 2016 1:36am-2:02am EDT
announcer: tomorrow, the c-span brings you coverage of the white house correspondents dinner, including remarks by president obama. for this year's featured comedian, larry will more. the executive director, julia winston discusses her role. she has been director since 1995 . she spoke with c-span from the watergate office building in washington dc. what do you do as executive director of the white house correspondents association? >> i do whatever the board directs me to do. some boards really really concentrate time on access. work for scholarship and grants.
everything is voted by a nine-member board. basically, i follow their directive. i work on membership. we have an annual election. a third of the board changes every year. we have different events that help educate the public about what we do but mainly, mainly it is access. the press always want more. >> how many members? >> about 500 members, but it changes. especially in a campaign year, they are sent out with one of the candidates. >> when it comes to the correspondents dinner, what is your role? >> i run it. everything comes out of this office. the sender did request forms to our members only.
these doubt that with the a check for what they want. on march 17 or thereabouts, which is two weeks out, of the board and executive committee, dinner committee -- we sit down, decide, limited space, who gets myt, and i let people know e-mail how much space we can confirm. disappointe had to over 900 people who had paid to get in. 2700is on top of almost inside the room. then top of the 2700 plus 900, how many requests do you get on top they do not send a check? >> they cannot request without a check. has to come in with a check. did this developed into one of the biggest social events in washington? >> i think it started out when i started out, coincidentally.
first year of bill clinton. a lot of friends in hollywood, dale wanted to be at the dinner. i think hollywood loved to be here in the politicians loved hollywood. many of them were hollywood people -- many of them are becoming activists now. it is a real blending of two worlds. >> how did you get started in 1993 on this? i was the executive director of the washington press club foundation in 1985. had board members on both organizations. and this dinner was done on contract by somebody. year, carl and
said, can we talk about this? do you think you can do both? so i had one dinner in february and this dinner in april. about 1200 and february for congress, and then i took this , and in 1993, they asked me to be the executive director in 1995. so i kept both jobs and just had to phones in my desk with labels. [laughter] did you know what you are getting into yucca > eight? juno you are getting into yucca >> it wasn't like this in 1993.
-- did you know what you are getting into? >> it wasn't like this in 1993. always on band was the left balcony. he had to be moved behind the head table. so tables could go there, so we all learned our lesson very quickly. had 262 tables in the room. >> have there been surprises over the years? >> sure. >> where people show up that do not have a ticket? ? >> nobody gets and without a ticket things to our volunteers. most of them we have had for over 20 years. but, one year, bill clinton --
denson -- in with the motorcade and i said, i hope they have tickets because i do not have their names and i cannot see them. it turns out they did. they had been at the white house in overcoming with him. things like that can happen but they usually even out. >> you have been working this dinner since 19 93, 3 different president spirit are there different styles for each one? dinner the motorcade and i said, i hope they have tickets because i do not have their names and i cannot see them. it turns out they did. they had been at the white house in overcoming with him. or for the presidents in general? >> in your role -- >> as far as my board and the ,ournal, the journalists to end hisush tended days it did earlier. earlier than
president obama. a real -- for me, at my age -- by younger crew of people to deal with at the white house. they are great. they are very energetic. thiswhen it comes to dinner, they keep you on your toes. [laughter] >> we are you doing a dinner? are you seated? never, no. i him in the cabinet room when the reception is with our board. then, i go up with the head table and all during the dinner, i am on the stage behind a the table so if anybody needs anything, i am there to do it. >> what is a request we have not -- what is a request you have gotten? >> my very first request at may 1 dinner, president clinton goes says, i need to go
to the restroom. and can you show me where it is? and i like, i'm sure there are others but get up and start rightg -- everybody was there -- but, you know, things like that -- i had never done a dinner with my other job with the president there, there was always a vice president, secretary of the senate at those dinners -- >> and it makes a difference? >> huge. 9/11, securityer is unbelievable, thank god that it is -- there are a lot of people in that room. >> at the hilton that night -- how many moving parts are there? or? for the hilton? part of this job which has on the board, particularly doug mills, and
with me is the red carpet -- we have huge demand for people to cover the red carpet. that is another whole application process that comes in with credentials. doug and some others decided who is in and out. is huge demand for that, especially a lot of these freelance photographers that want to sell this to papers and magazines and -- it is very .ontrolled that is on the terrace level of the hotel, the ballroom entrance. they are checked in. they have one place to stand. they cannot leave that in we have private security, the secret service is there. crowd that added all additional layer when it started. >> what is the cost of all of this?
>> the cost of running the dinner? do not know until i get the bill. and that is really true. security, which the hilton shares the cost. the hilton pays for the red .arpet, pays for the rope every year, or cost goes up, mainly because of security. injury inlot of type that hotel, -- we do a lot of pipe an and that is expensive --d drape >> i was at home with four children and my friend denied, 1980, started a little business, it was called and a live care -- we delivered care packages to kids at school's that their parents ordered -- it was fun. >> so your background as an organization, planning, that type of thing? >> no my background is just in
being at home with my kids -- >> organization -- >> yes. it. that is and i wanted a job and i only took this job if i could do it part time and i would go by the hour because i wanted to be a my kids soccer games and be able to be around. today? part-time job >> no. the job has grown. really grown. through the years. the dinner this year's on april 30, 2016. when least are planning 2017. >> we have to wait until the new that is elected and election is the end of july. we already know who will be president -- that will be jeff mason so i am sure he is thinking about who he wants for an entertainer. we have to do that early. theo you reach out to
entertainers? >> yes. and a lot of them reach out to us. [laughter] >> really? >> yes. >> this is a marquee event or a >> it is. they are sort of between -- this is great, great exposure for us crowdis is a very tough and i could get a really bad review. so they walk that line. >> why is it at the hilton? >> it is -- >> as it always been there? over 90 years,- but, it is held at the hilton unique in that we have a dinner that the president comes to and stays. another hotel might have a but there is no holding room for the president, hotelper, no separate -- with two entrances.
guests can come in upstairs, we can have those two lower floors to ourselves. we also need a lot of private party space. because our members, which we have nothing to do with, rent space for their parties. so, no we can -- there can be up to 20 other pre-parties in that hotel. other hotels are not built for that. >> you are not in charge of the pre-parties or post parties? >> no, heavens no, they are private -- >> what and when you arrive on saturday? >> i usually get there by noon. >> eu keep a room there? doesn't make it easier? >> we have been in, too. office, myrom the two best friends here open a registration table that everybody should have their tickets. >> before we get started on the interview, you made a point that when people call, they ask for
your production manager, they ask for the press person or whoever and you were like, can i help you? you have two women in his office just the three of you who do this. who are these other women? isone is alice crowley, who -- who typed in 87 program line by line -- amazing. and i must say, she is my cousin. [laughter] klotz another is carol and she takes care of all the tickets, huge, huge job. >> and they are part-time at co->> yet. -- and they are part-time? >> yeah. on thisur biggest fear dinner? >> i do not have a fear anymore, actually. day, wed them the other have been on our own along with the board.
now we have the entire staff that they held in, the secret service, the white house staff, a lot of helpers now. so, i think we are fine. >> have you had a chance to meet all of the presidency you have worked with? >> yet, during a cabinet rumor section, so, yes, and then, at the white house christmas parties -- i always feel like my job is to [inaudible] say -- >> but they always do have you ever -- >> no. >> what would you do? lets say for any reason that the president could not attend -- >> the vice president would probably come. but, i must say, every white house that we have been involved with asks women in areas so there is no foreign travel there, you know, they are great. what is the most fun part of
the process for you? >> [indiscernible] i guess being there at the dinner, having the band playing, everybody standing, the colors are coming in, anything to yourself, this is pretty good, this is pretty amazing. you know, the chairman of the joint chief -- i mean, people in e theydience ar reiterate this to her a priority and it has really turned into quite a brand. as you can see what happens in washington surrounding this dinner, d.c. makes a lot of money on this dinner. waiters, ierers, mean, we are happy to do it that has somebody said, they should give us keys to the city for this. so. >> what percentage of your time
is white house correspondent is this efficient -- [indiscernible] >> i would say just really the last two months. march and april? >> yes. other than that, it is very sporadic. you are working with whoever is going to be an entertainer to tie things up but, we have a great pro bono attorney, george lehner, who is -- i mean, without him, we would be in trouble. he is so good, he gives us good advice. washington, everybody has an attorney, write? >> when you are a nonprofit, >> it makes sense to do that. >>having attended the dinner -- it is really crowded in there. is that part of the appeal of -- >> no, that is probably not very appealing for people that everybody says, is in or credit
this year? in we say -- same number of people in the room every year. on not worked very hard letting people wander the halls. they cannot go to those two battles without a dinner ticket. in invitation to a party down there in their hand. so one of those party people have to have a solution's desk because if one of their guests doesn't have something, they are directed by security that the table if they are on the list then they will be given an invite to get down the escalade -- if not, they do not go down -- >> [inaudible] d.c.shington, >> always lived in the area? >> yes or >> any irony in effect at your office is in the watergate? >> now, i think the irony to just come to light as my parents both worked for paramount pictures and nbc universal and
my dad -- and, i believe that they were helpful in putting on these dinners in the past by .etting the entertainment >> you say just came to light -- >> george condon -- >> the associated press -- >> no, he has worked here -- past president. he is our archivist. stuff has dug up a lot of . because my parents knew a lot of people in the white house when you can just walk in. so, -- >> richard nixon, right? >> no, i think he was fdr, maybe -- >>: time ago. it that your parents did that they had this connection? >> there was something called a variety club of washington
my dad -- something called the chief barker, that just meant president of it but hollywood people who came here to prevent their movies would go there and there was somebody -- and you have to have george condit who used to reel in the entertainers -- be a littletainers more high maintenance over washington will than folks in washington, can they be high maintenance? >> entertainers have not been high maintenance. i am pleasantly surprised. hard to take very him in early, they bring their writers. the reverse or you know, they are great. they are always -- and there are always some high maintenance people attending the dinner, but , i think their reputations precede them. people know who they are.
so. >> scholarships are given at this dinner. how is that process it up? who runs a? >> we do out of the office. it was set up years ago in the early 2000's when we had some dinner profit that was left over. the dinner pays for everything. my salary, their salaries, the office -- everything. money -- and we had some money and we started with a $2000 scholarship. and it has grown through the .ears it started with high school students and our board would go to a school, do interviews, and it got a little bit unwieldy so,
the board decided to choose the journalism schools around the fortry, offered them money a student a generous in that is still how it is done. we have 18 scholars coming this year. >> how much money? >> altogether? i think the grants are about a hundred $8,000. >> michelle obama and a supportive family -- hugging everyone of those -- >> she is fabulous. she does. and you should see both of them cip our scholars in the reception. we have them go in and they get their picture taken with the obamas. andy obamas take time and talk. they are great. theo you know what president is going to say when he speaks? >> no. >> no advance copy? >> no, no.
i know who this beach writer isn't like it since -- i give him some information edited us into it with our educator -- we tell them notables in the room and -- that is all. >> there was one year where -- i think it was george w. bush said to ozzy osbourne, dude, my mom is your music, do you know it to the speechwriter that ozzy osborne was going to be there you they new, yeah >>. have you ever been surprised? by what the president -- >> [indiscernible] that was not quite as surprising, laura bush. as when george bush had his look-alike come out good i do not know about that at all. i do not think anybody did. i say anybody -- that was a surprise. >> added to find out? >> when he walked on stage right past me and i am like, [indiscernible] , key and people last
year. last year.peele that was funny because i was there for the r-arizona and -- because i was there for their rehearsal and he walked past me in the agents for our entertainer said, oh no, do you know who that is? i said, i have no idea. was and hewho it said, the president is going to use oh, no. because his person -- >> the entertainer would gladly entertainer, but, she did great. but that was good, that was -- that got a lot of hits. so. those things surprised me -- i am sure i will be surprised again. julia whiston is executive director of the white house correspondents association. she is the one hiding behind the
pillar at the head table. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] announcer:announcer: it is known as one of washington and everything to the government officials, members of the press, and hollywood stars. c-span has live coverage of the 2016 white house correspondent's dinner this saturday starting at 6:00 eastern. our live coverage from the washington hilton hotel includes red carpet arrivals, background on the dinner and award presentations. 2700 people are expected to attend this year's dinner. there even are housed of comedy central's the nightly show will end line. this incoming president obama will get his final speech as commander-in-chief to join us to watch the white house correspondence and beginning saturday 6:00 eastern, live on c-span. announcer:announcer: on wednesday, the supreme court heard the appeal of former virginia governor, donald's conviction for bribery. several justices expressed concern over federal corruption laws that could give prosecutors to much power to criminalize the actions by