So at the end of a joke-filled speech larded with requisite jibes at Democrats and Republicans alike, she made light of her long, no-longer private, battle with the disease at Saturday’s annual Gridiron Dinner. That’s the white-tie extravaganza where the Washington press lampoons itself and those we cover in song, dance and absurd costumes. (Full disclosure: I’ve been a member since 1990).
Gridiron night always features three hopefully-funny speeches in addition to onstage antics: One by the president or his proxy (Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, went heavy on Italian-American jokes); one from the GOP (Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s dismal primary showing gave him endless fodder) and the Honorable DWS for the Dems, who got unexpectedly personal at the end.
“As some of you know, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and went through seven surgeries including a double mastectomy. Rick, since you only speak Republican, that means I had them repealed and replaced.
“The entire experience reminded me that life is short, and we need to all focus on what matters – the people we love, the country we love, the legacy we leave….And I hope that if all of us in public life can find more commonality – and see each other’s humanity – then we really can make progress.”
The detour into stand-up comity was brief and she soon went back to comedy.
“By the way, my health battle wasn’t all bad. I got these,” she said, gazing at the bodice of her long red gown. “I like to call them my ‘silver linings.’ Some people who know my story ask: “Debbie, are they fake?”
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