December 5th, 2009
02:28 PM ET
3 months ago

Gridiron Club reluctantly bows to age of Twitter

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will speak at the Gridiron dinner Saturday.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will speak at the Gridiron dinner Saturday.

Washington (CNN)– For the first time in its 124-year history, the Gridiron Club is, on a trial basis, partially lifting its "off the record" rule for its annual dinners.

"Ladies are always present; reporters are never present," has been a club motto since the beginning – and its spring and winter dinners billed as an "off the record" night of humorous speeches and musical skits, most of them good naturedly lampooning politicians and the reporters who cover them.

But club leaders announced the experiment Saturday morning, describing it as a bow to the reality of the "Twitter" age.

It is a one-time trial for the winter dinner, which this year features Sarah Palin and Barney Frank as the Republican and Democratic speakers, respectively.

The winter dinner is a smaller affair than the spring event, which normally draws the president and a "who's who" of Washington.

At the winter event, attendance is limited to members and their spouses or one guest.

Club leaders said the policy will be re evaluated after this weekend's dinner.

The event remains closed to media coverage - meaning reporters who are not members or invited guests cannot attend to cover the proceedings - and no photographs are allowed.

At a morning Gridiron meeting, club leaders stressed they hoped reporting of the event would be minimal and urged members not to type notes or "tweet" during the speeches.

But they said it has become common practice for accounts of the dinners to appear in media accounts, and so they had reluctantly decided to experiment with a new policy.


Filed under: Barney Frank • Sarah Palin • Twitter
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Ken in Pisgah Forest

    When only one in five Americans identifies him or herself as a Republican, then why bother with having a speaker who represents them? Hasn't another party (beside Independant, which is not a party) gotten more support by now with all the Republican party defections?

    December 5, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. Why cant the antichrist be a woman

    This is an all time low for the club,dont they know that twitwits are the new nitwits?

    December 5, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  3. Tommygunn

    This is GOING to be a FREE FALL.....definitely a OMG moment......

    December 5, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  4. jerseylou

    Now let's get it right this time palin 1+1 =2,2+2=4,B comes after A,C comes after B so now don't strain that little pea you call a brain and mess this engagement up. I know it's very hard to think before you speak but you can do it.Wait a minute what am i saying your head might explode and i might be held partly responsible for your harming your self.I guess i have to go back to the drawing board.

    December 5, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  5. Harold

    Everybody loves a Quitter.

    December 5, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |