Neither the popular book “This Town,” that’s upset some about Washington’s incestuous relationships, nor the specter of former Vice President Dan Quayle’s infamous spelling of “potatoe,” are slowing the planning for a rare 100-year event: a spelling bee contest between the media and lawmakers.

The National Press Club is reenacting the last bee that occurred in 1913 and was attended by President Wilson. An Ohio congressman won. “Now the journalists are spoiling for a rematch,” said the Club’s Gil Klein.

The event to crown the “Best Speller in the United States,” takes place Sept. 18 is a fundraiser for the Club’s Journalism Institute.

It will be a classic “This Town” event: Not only are big shot reporters and lawmakers getting together for some fun and competition, but the city’s ever-lasting political entertainer, satirist Mark Russell will be providing some commentary. Merriam-Webster will bring the words.

Here’s the lineup:


Rep. Matt Cartwright

Rep. Gerry Connolly

Sen. Chris Coons

Rep. Peter DeFazio

Rep. Ted Deutch

Rep. Anna Eshoo

Sen. Jeff Flake

Sen Tim Kaine

Sen. Christopher Murphy


Howard Fineman, Huffington Post

Ed Henry, Fox News

Major Garrett, CBS News

Kate Nocera, Buzzfeed

Rebecca Sinderbrand, Politico

Meredith Shiner, Roll Call

Ashley Southall, New York Times

Karen Tumulty, Washington Post

Toby Zakaria, Reuters

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at