- The Washington Times - Friday, April 26, 2002

It wasn't too surprising that the American News Women's Club's dinner honoring broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff was light on roasting and heavy on toasting Tuesday night.
The question of the night: Just how do you insult Judy?
"Roasting her is like roasting Mother Teresa," NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell complained.
Even Miss Woodruff admitted she was getting off easy.
"I guess I did," she said afterward. "But then, these are all my friends, and they really do know me. It was my kids that really let me have it."
It was true. Miss Woodruff's husband, Wall Street Journal Washington Editor Al Hunt wisely wimped out by passing the cudgel to the couples' three absentee children, who took revenge on "Mommy" for countless unknown teen-age indignities in a video shown to the audience.
Others assigned the seemingly impossible task at the Four Seasons Hotel were a diverse group. CNN correspondent Wolf Blitzer tried to give his colleague hair tips, but Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson and Rep. Nancy Pelosi passed up the opportunity to turn the tables on the reporter. Only Miss Mitchell and another friendly competitor, Lesley Stahl of CBS, took passably hard shots, eliciting a few laughs before recanting in emotional declarations of admiration and respect.
"You all think that Judy is a class act; you are wrong," Miss Mitchell declared. "I'm going to tell you about the real Judy.
"Who was the chief correspondent who drove Robert MacNeil into early retirement, Chris Wallace out of NBC, Karen Hughes back to Texas and Bernard Shaw under the table in Baghdad? Not Saddam. And did you ask whom did Carter really lust after? And who drove Ted Turner to Prozac and Jane Fonda to God?"
The recantation was not long in coming. "If you think I am making all this up, I am. [Judy] is one of a kind, the very best in the business and the best friend I have ever known."
Later, Miss Woodruff got her chance, if not exactly to return fire, at least to give her tormentors a basting.
"Mr. Greenspan feels a lot better about the economy," she quipped while looking at Miss Mitchell's husband, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan. "Now Andrea is free to shop."
The evening, which benefits the club's education and scholarship programs, also included the reading of tributes sent by three former presidents Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton and a poem from former CNN anchor Bernard Shaw. Jim Lehrer, anchor of PBS' "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer," served as the event's roastmaster-cum-toastmaster, but he took more shots at recent broadcast foibles than at his former colleague. Other guests included former Washington Post Editor Ben Bradlee and wife Sally Quinn, Newsweek writer Margaret Carlson and former local broadcaster Susan King.

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