"What will you tell the President when you see him?" was my daughter Eva's first reaction when I told her I'd been invited to the White House Channukah party (Actually, it was her second reaction. Her first was, "Take me!"). Kids are innocent that way. They don't realize that when you have over a hundred people crowding the leader of the free world, it's not so easy to get in a word edgewise.
But I got lucky. It's not what I told the President that mattered, it's what I heard him say when few people were paying attention.
After the president made his Channukah remarks and the lighting ceremony was over, he came down to greet the thick crowd of guests along a receiving line.
Because the Glatt kosher lamb chops were so amazing, and my friend Selwyn Gerber and I were completely immersed in the shmooze-with-every-cool-Jew routine prior to the President's arrival, I came late to the waiting crowd, which means I ended up about four rows back.
Here's where my luck kicked in. There was an imposing and tall white-haired gentleman to my right who had a booming voice and was determined to say something to the President (I think he may have had a few single malts, but that's another story.)