The Alaska governor and former GOP vice presidential nominee, making her first trip to the nation’s capital since the election, will join the President at the Alfalfa Dinner, a venerable gathering of the city’s political elite.
Palin and Obama will both address the black tie crowd at the Capital Hilton, aides to each say.
The duo will not, though, be heard by the general public. By tradition, the old world gathering, now in its 96th year, bars reporters. Quotes from the rostrum do, however, tend to find their way out to reporters in the lobby.
It’s a light-hearted affair, with political types playfully roasting themselves and one another. The dinner is put on by the Alfalfa Club, an exclusive list of about 200 movers and shakers whose only purpose is to throw the annual dinner on the last Saturday of January. The name is honor of a plant known to do anything for a drink.
Comprised of mostly older white men, the group didn’t induct women until 1993. Blacks were only welcomed in the 1970s.
Presidents, though, almost always attend and speak.
And aside from the real thing, club members always nominate a mock candidate for the highest office in the land. The “nominee” is then required to give an acceptance speech.
Should Palin be this year’s lucky nominee, she’ll be in good company: Three honorees have actually gone on to actually become president – Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.