galleryWhy the Nerd Prom Matters05.10.09galleryWhy the Nerd Prom MattersThink you know everything about the White House Correspondents' Dinner? Behind the glitz and the jokes, it's a chance for journalists to build relationships—and raise some money. VIEW OUR GALLERY.05.10.09 2:38 PM ETRachel SklarMatthew Settle and Captain Richard PhillipsMaersk Alabama captain and Somali pirate-thwarter Capt. Richard Phillips had already met the most important person at the dinner by the time he got there—he'd had a private audience with the president earlier that afternoon. But that didn't mean he couldn't make new friends—like Gossip Girl's Matthew Settle, who comes from a military family and enthusiastically bonded with the captain over rogue waves. For his part, the captain was impressed that Settle was in Band of Brothers. "This may be the most impressive guy!" he said. I asked Mrs. Phillips if she minded the sudden attention. No, she said: "I know who he's going home with at the end of the night." Evan Agostini / AP PhotoMariska Hargitay"Mariska, how was the dinner?" "Fantastic, you're on my train." OK, so maybe this is one relationship that won't take.Rachel SklarMort Zuckerman, Andrea Mitchell, Alan GreenspanNBC's Andrea Mitchell, flanked by husband former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan, and media mogul Mort Zuckerman. Later, C-SPAN would catch Greenspan giving his wife's shoulder an affectionate tickle. It's that kind of network.Rachel SklarThe Gingriches and the HolbrookesStrange bedfellows, indeed: Never mind Mitchell and Greenspan, Richard Holbrooke and Newt Gingrich were huddled together for a while, while their wives stood by silently and photographers and sycophants hovered, waiting for them to break apart. It took a while.Rachel SklarPadma LakshmiPadma Lakshmi tells the media to pack up their knives and go. Or maybe that her face is up here.Rachel SklarMichael Steele and Roland MartinCNN's Roland Martin has no problem cozying up to D.C. bigwigs: He grabbed RNC Chairman Michael Steele in a big bear hug from behind, and it seemed Steele let him do it for a good long while before turning around (for another, proper hug). Wow, maybe he IS the new face of the GOP!Rachel SklarCass Sunstein and Samantha PowerNew parents, Samantha Power and Cass Sunstein, celebrate their first night out since their new baby, Declan Power-Sunstein, was born two weeks ago—"On Armenian Genocide Day!" Power pointed out. Leave it to Power to raise awareness. We're not entirely sure that was a coincidence. Martin H. Simon-Pool / Getty ImagesMichelle Obama greets a scholarship recipientIn a room where status is measured by how close you are to the front, these kids were among the top VIPs there. How many of the arms YOU rubbed belonged to a sleeveless Michelle Obama? Exactly.Rachel SklarDavid Axelrod and Nate SilverDavid Axelrod stopped to shake hands with stats guru Nate Silver. Barely a year ago, his blog didn't exist. Now, who knows? Stats apply to the economy, don't they?Rachel SklarWanda SykesAfter her wanda-ful set, Wanda Sykes came over to the Capitol File party to wanda around. Oh come on, that's at least as funny as that 20th hijacker joke.Glynnis MacNicolRahm Emanuel and Rachel SklarI have no problem cozying up to my sources. Now I just have to make Rahm Emanuel a source.