Political Barbs, Celebrity-Gazing Main Course At DC Dinner

WASHINGTON (AP) — Get ready for a healthy dose of political barbs and celebrity-gazing in the nation’ capital.

If it’s spring in Washington, it’s time for the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual dinner.

President Barack Obama had it marked on his Saturday night schedule, so expect some verbal jabs aimed at his political rivals and the reporters who cover him. And maybe even a few at his own expense.

Cecily Strong from “Saturday Night Live” was the professional hired to provide the laughs.

Don’t expect to find many of the politicians who are hoping to succeed Obama as president — most, it seems, are staying away from the gathering.

The dinner helps fund scholarships and awards that recognize journalists.

This year’s award winners include:

—Josh Lederman of The Associated Press and Jim Avila of ABC News, the Merriman Smith Award for presidential coverage under deadline pressure.

—Peter Baker of The New York Times, the Aldo Beckman Award for repeated excellence in White House coverage.

—The Edgar A. Poe Award, recognizing coverage of news of national or regional significance, to The Washington Post’s Carol A. Leonnig and The Wall Street Journal team of Gary Fields, John R. Emshwiller, Rob Barry and Coulter Jones.

Scott Horsley of National Public Radio received a special mention in the Beckman Award category for his coverage of White House policies and politics.

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