Just when you thought the impact of the budget impasse in Washington, D.C., couldn't get any more serious, the White House today weighed in on one of the sacred cows of Washington tradition.
That's right, we're talking about the Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn, hosted by the president and first lady.
According to the White House, President Rutherford B. Hayes started the tradition in 1878. That means this year's version would be the 135th. Some 35,000 people are expected for this year's event. It is so popular that tickets are awarded through a lottery. (Not the Powerball, but in Washington, nearly as closely sought-after.)
Today, at the briefing for reporters, spokesman Jay Carney was asked by an enterprising reporter, who's apparently has engaged in deep investigation, whether it will still be held. The tough question: "…we know that the ticket confirmations have a disclaimer that it could be canceled. Where do things stand now? Which is it going to be? What do you expect?"
See. And you feared the Washington press corps isn't keeping officials on their toes.
Indeed, Carney fired back, "it must be the very top news story among the Washington press corps today just based on the incoming inquiries." One hopes that he was kidding around a bit.
He told the press corps that the disclaimer was given because there was uncertainty whether Congress would act to avoid a government shutdown, with yet another deadline looming March 27. That's when the so-called continuing resolution, which funds the government, expires.
Said Carney, "I want to be clear that because it certainly looks like there is progress being made, and nobody expects a government shutdown, that we have every expectation that the Easter Egg Roll will proceed as planned. I hope that settles the matter."
It is also true that the roll is scheduled for April Fools' Day. Stay tuned. We'll bring further details as soon as they become available.