Rapping Rove steals Correspondents Dinner

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WASHINGTON -- Embattled White House adviser Karl Rove stole the show Wednesday night at the Radio TV-Correspondents Dinner with rap and hip-hop dance with improvisational comics Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood.

Mochrie and Sherwood, co-stars of ABC's onetime improvisational "Whose Line Is It Anyway," were the night's surprise comedic guests and they wasted no time by enlisting NBC's Brian Williams and another audience member in a sound effects skit that was highlighted by Williams' timing and an off-the-cuff rendition of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues."

But it was Rove's appearance at the end of the night that drew the most laughs and surprise. Rove, dubbed "MC Rove" by Sherwood, went before the media and political elite of New York and Washington with a hip-hop swagger as Sherwood rapped a ditty about Rove's self-proclaimed hobbies of quail hunting, stamp collecting and in Rove's words "ripping the tops off of small animals."

Rove, who was a guest of CNN and sat next to CNN president Jon Klein, left immediately afterward and wasn't available for comment.

Rove's boss, President George W. Bush, sat on the stage a few feet away. Bush, making his first appearance at a function like this since last year's Stephen Colbert-headlining White House Correspondents Dinner.

A self-effacing Bush joked with the crowd about the subpoena scandal and Vice President Dick Cheney vowing he would never be a lame duck president "unless Cheney shoots me in the leg."

"A year ago, my approval rating was in the 30s, my nominee for the Supreme Court had just withdrawn and my vice president had just shot someone," Bush observed before pausing. "Ah, those were the good old days."

Bush said he wasn't sure if Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was in attendance: "Not enough press," he said to the group of mostly journalists.

Honored with awards were Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig, Fox News journalists kidnapped in Gaza last year, and NBC News investigative journalist Lisa Myers and her team for a series on a Pentagon procurement scandal. Centanni accepted the David Bloom Award from ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff, who won last year.

Centanni thanked Bush and Secretary of State Condolezza Rice for their efforts in getting he and Wiig released, along with Fox News Channel CEO Roger Ailes and senior vp John Moody, among others. Ailes received a Radio TV News Directors Foundation press freedom award earlier this month for his tireless work on behalf of Wiig and Centanni.

The event brought together a lot of the media and political elite, including the president and first lady Laura Bush as well as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Sen. John Kerry, Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, Williams and MSNBC's Chris Matthews and CBS' Bob Schieffer.

It drew onlookers to The Washington Hilton, who gawked and spoke to a number of celebrities.

"Wolf, we love your show," said one of a number of people who rushed to CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer as he left the dinner and walked into the lobby.

Neither Rove nor anyone else knew they would be called.
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