House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi picked the "Piano Man" over the president on Wednesday night – attending a celebrity-heavy tribute to Billy Joel rather than a meeting with President Barack Obama on the eve of his controversial executive action on immigration.
The California Democratic lawmaker hobnobbed with the glitterati at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington to celebrate Joel's Library of Congress Gershwin Prize, The Hill reports.
The event, featuring performances by John Mellencamp, Boyz II Men, Tony Bennett, Josh Groban, LeAnn Rimes, Natalie Maines, and Gavin DeGraw, was filmed for a PBS special airing next year.
Pelosi, tapped to be a presenter, had warned the White House she'd made other plans for the night. Obama was to have dinner with 18 members of Congress to talk about his immigration plan, The Hill reports.
"Leader Pelosi has a busy schedule this evening with five events, including a longstanding commitment with constituents in town from San Francisco," Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill told The Hill.
In addition to Pelosi, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Republican Reps. Candice Miller (Mich.) and Gregg Harper (Miss.), and Librarian of Congress James Billington were slated to present the Gershwin Prize to Joel.
But Pelosi wasn't the only lawmaker to bask in the star-studded glow. The Hill reports that others spotted at the event were Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Scott Rigell (R-Va.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.); and Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska).
At an earlier luncheon Wednesday, Joel said his mother, who passed away this year, "would have gotten such a kick out of this," Broadway World reports.
The Gershwin Prize honors a living musical artist's lifetime achievement in promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of cultural understanding; entertaining and informing audiences; and inspiring new generations.
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