- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 15, 2005

The swank Italian restaurant Teatro Goldoni was transformed temporarily into the world’s biggest green room Monday night: a flotilla of talking heads gathering to celebrate the holiday season with CNN.

Chivas and chardonnay flowed and the chatter reached upper-decibel levels as a reporter brushed up to Wolf Blitzer (“The Situation Room”) with a really tough question: What does he want for Christmas? “Peace on Earth,” the bearded anchorman said, downing a glass of ice water. “I have everything I need.”

Blond and still perky former anchor Judy Woodruff said she only wanted her family “to be together” before CNN correspondent Candy Crowley piped in with “I want a funky purse” as she headed off to chat with co-worker John King. Conservative commentator Bay Buchanan didn’t express any particular wishes, although she did kindly mention that she watches CNN “all day long.”

When James Carville walked in, the oxygen level rose.

“I want a new channel to watch ballgames on,” the take-no-prisoners political consultant said over the din. A bit later, his wife, Mary Matalin, swept in, but soon left without taking off her coat. (It doesn’t look as if she needs to ask Santa for a new fur.)

Guests swapped tales with CNN News Group President Jim Walton, Washington Bureau Chief David Borman and the rest of the network gang (Andrea Koppel, Suzanne Malveaux, David Ensor, et al), then dined on prosciutto, lasagna, salmon, chicken and lots of sugary desserts before leaving with holiday goody bags overflowing with “Situation Room” baseball caps and CNN pads, pens and key chains.

Matt Cooper, the pudgy-cheeked journalist who narrowly escaped jail for his role in the CIA leak scandal, celebrated with his wife, former Clinton adviser Mandy Grunwald (who played Auntie Scrooge and declined all comment).

Mr. Cooper, however, didn’t miss a beat.

“What do I want for Christmas?” he bellowed. “A federal shield law.”

Stephanie Mansfield

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