- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 17, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is skipping an annual rite of political passage _ Saturday’s Gridiron dinner.

It will be the first Gridiron Club dinner of his presidency.

But Obama, who sang at the 2006 dinner when he was a senator, has a scheduling conflict this year: Spring break for his daughters Malia and Sasha begins Friday.

And that afternoon, the First Family is scheduled to head to the presidential retreat at Camp David, Md.

Vice President Joe Biden will speak at the dinner instead.

The Gridiron Club is Washington’s oldest and most exclusive organization for journalists; membership is by invitation-only.

The group exists solely for the annual dinner featuring song-and-dance routines that poke fun at the political establishment. The president usually speaks. The club’s motto is “singe, but never burn.”

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