Why is it that the fun stuff at presidential fundraisers tends to take place after the press pool has been ushered out? The 50 guests dining with the Obamas at Sarah Jessica Parker’s West Village townhouse Thursday got to watch what happens live when Bravo host Andy Cohen made President Obama plead the fifth.
Vogue editor Anna Wintour, a co-host of the $40,000-per-person event (paid by everyone except for a girl from North Carolina and her mother, who won the lottery to attend), moderated a Q and A with the president that elicited the usual questions and answers about politics and policy. Then Wintour called on Cohen for the final question of the evening.
According to guests in attendance, Andy stole the show.
First Cohen took note of Aretha Franklin’s early departure from the event. “People are wondering where the Queen of Soul went,” Cohen said. “I have it on high authority that she went to find a new inauguration hat to top the last one.”
Then he explained to the president that on his Bravo show, Watch What Happens Live, he plays a game with the real housewives and celebrities, including Dan Rather and Anderson Cooper, called Plead the Fifth.
Under the rules of the game, Cohen asks the guests three questions, and they get to plead the fifth only on one of them.
Obama asked: “Are you going to give me all three questions up front?” When Cohen said no, the president, gesturing to aides, replied: “Well, there are going to be some nervous people in the back of the room.”
Undeterred, Cohen launched into his first question, an easy one: “What’s your best perk? You know, like having beers with Hillary Clinton or being able to call any person in the world in the middle of the night?”
Obama said the best perk of the presidency for him was the Truman Balcony, because he got to sit out there with his wife on their “date night” and look at the view.
Then came what the world of fashion and entertainment would consider a curveball: “Choose an outfit that Michelle wears that you don’t like. What is it and why?”
“I plead the fifth!” the president said, to hearty laughter.
“Now I want to know what it is,” Michelle Obama said.
“No way. I’m not crazy,” her husband said.
Cohen’s final question was about which embarrassing music the president cranks up on the radio when he’s in the motorcade. Obama said he listens to music only on his iPod, is embarrassed by none of it, and cranks up Stevie Wonder and the Rolling Stones.
With that, the evening ended, and without a lawyer.