WASHINGTON – Even the capital's heaviest snow of the season couldn't keep President Bush (search) away when there were jokes to be told.
The president and his wife, Laura, braved snow-covered downtown streets in their motorcade to attend to the Alfalfa Club dinner Saturday, an annual event where Washington political and business leaders gather to give humorous speeches.
They were accompanied by the president's parents, the first President Bush and Barbara, brother Jeb, the Florida governor, and sister Doro. Vice President Dick Cheney (search) and wife Lynne also were in the party.
Several Cabinet members and White House staffers, including chief of staff Andrew Card (search), also attended the black-tie dinner at the Capital Hilton Hotel.
The event was closed to news media coverage.
The club is named after the alfalfa plant because its roots will range far afield to reach liquid refreshment. Its sole task is holding the annual dinner.
The club, founded 91 years ago, was off-limits to women until 1994 when then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton attended the event with President Clinton.
Earlier Saturday, before heavy snow began falling here, the president took a mountain bike ride on the grounds of a Secret Service training facility in Beltsville, Md., near Washington. A short time later, his father, former President George H.W. Bush (search), made an informal visit to the White House briefing room where he chatted with reporters.
The elder Bush, who was bundled in his charcoal gray overcoat, scarf and blue tie, talked about the president's inaugural speech, baseball and the Bush family. He said a "jillion" relatives were in town for the inauguration.
"I'm not sure I could pass the test if I had to name every member of the family," Bush said. "When you're 80, that's what life is all about. That's what matters — family."
Bush visited the White House briefing room in the West Wing with Phil Morse, one of the owners of the 2004 World Champion Boston Red Sox. The former president tossed a commemorative baseball from the series, which Morse gave him, as he lamented aloud how the Houston Astros had lost outfielder Carlos Beltran to the New York Mets.
He also noted Roger Clemens' $18 million, one-year, contract with the Astros, the highest salary for a pitcher in baseball history. "That's a lot of money," Bush said. "But he's a good guy."
On Sunday, the president is scheduled to fly to the Camp David presidential retreat and remain there until Monday afternoon. He will speak to an anti-abortion rally in Washington by telephone Monday.
He will travel to Cleveland on Thursday to discuss health care initiatives. On Friday, he will take part in a Republican congressional retreat at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.