WASHINGTON – President Bush was the host of the annual congressional picnic Thursday at the White House, but it was his chief of staff's band that came close to stealing the show.
"We got some interesting entertainment for you tonight," Bush told lawmakers and their families to the picnic, called "Rodeo on the South Lawn."
"We got some people who can play music and some people who think they can play music," the president said.
The Compassionates, Joshua Bolten's band, and the Second Amendments, a bipartisan congressional band, were the opening acts. The featured entertainment came from Riders in the Sky, professional musicians who played in fancy chaps and Western attire.
Rain clouds scuttled the picnic Wednesday night. No such problem for the makeup.
Bush was upbeat, although still weary from his trip this week to Baghdad.
The Compassionates, appearing like the Blues Brothers in their dark shades, white shirts and ties, ended their set with "Born To Be Wild." Then the congressmen took the stage.
Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said the band had played all over the world, including Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan.
"No politics, just rock 'n roll," he said.
The other members of the group are Reps. Kenny Hulshof, R-Mo., Jon Porter, R-Nev., Dave Weldon, R-Fla., and Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan, a Republican whom Bush called "that rock 'n roll dude."
Spotted in the crowd were Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, CIA chief Michael Hayden and Bush's top political adviser Karl Rove. The national intelligence director, John Negroponte, showed up in jeans and a cowboy hat.