Barney Makes Way for Miss Beazley

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Another White House Christmas party for the media has come and gone, and last night's ranks right up there with the best. The Bushes stood for two hours; top aides like Tony Snow and Dan Bartlett made the rounds and the food was great.

I went with my daughter, Maddy, who last went to a White House Christmas party as a little girl when Bill Clinton ran the shop. That night she danced with Santa. Last night she talked college with the prez, who cheered her on with a Homer Simpsonesque "Woohoo!"

Besides the picture with the first couple, our goal was a simple one: score a cookie shaped like first dog Barney. Our first try at the cookie plate in the state dining room yielded two of the little doggie cookies. No sweat, right? Well, we started talking with the pastry chef, and he gave us the horrible news: Those little treats were actually Miss Beazley cookies, in honor of the first lady's pup. They were everywhere.

Barneys were hard to find, but the chef pulled one out and handed it to us. You can see them in the picture with the other cookies and candies. Other sights: There was a huge nutcracker at the east entrance; the gingerbread house was massive; the military sent a great clarinet quartet to entertain those of us waiting for our picture; and everywhere there were signs of Christmas, even in the hallway where a big tree made of glossy red ornaments was displayed.

And finally, there have been some reports that the press was kept from areas of the White House previously opened for other Christmas parties. Not true. We even sat in the library after walking through the Red Room, Blue Room, Green Room, China Room, and Map Room.