In the News
September 26, 2017
By Isaiah Seibert
A team of journalists beat lawmakers Tuesday night in the National Press Club's annual "Press vs. Politicians Spelling Bee," with Todd Gillman of the Dallas Morning News as the champion.
Gillman was one of seven journalists who competed against a team of seven lawmakers to raise money for the National Press Club Journalism Institute.
The bee's second round consisted of words from the hit musical "Hamilton."
At one point, Rep. Suzanne BonamiciSuzanne Marie BonamiciLawmakers, media serve up laughs at annual 'Will on the Hill'Congress — when considering women’s health, don’t forget about lung cancerOvernight Energy: Two top Pruitt aides resign at EPA | 17 states sue EPA over car emissions rules | Volkswagen to pay West Virginia .5M over emissions cheating MORE (D-Ore.) asked the moderator to use the word "manumission" in a sentence, and the audience laughed as she quoted lines from the musical.
Round three saw words with an alcohol theme.
Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) was eliminated after misspelling “wassail,” a type of hot cider.
“I’m definitely out of my league on this. I don’t drink,” said Rep. Virginia FoxxVirginia Ann FoxxThis week: Senate braces for Supreme Court scrambleTaxpayers and consumers alike should cheer defeat of the farm billA call to service without debtMORE (R-N.C.). But Foxx was still able to correctly spell “sangria” to advance.
“I should tell you I am with Virgina Foxx. I am an abstemious, teetotaling prohibitionist, so this is not my round,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) joked. “I’m interested in which big liquor interest sponsored this category.”
The lawmakers managed to hold an overall lead through the fifth round, before the journalists pulled even in the sixth.
It was a lighthearted affair throughout.
Asked to spell "damson," Raskin jokingly responded: "I thought you said covfefe,” to laughter.
After misspelling his word, he gave a shout out to his constituents and left the stage.
Bonamici, Foxx and Rep. Doug Lamborn (D-Colo.) also bowed out, leaving two remaining lawmakers: Reps. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Don Beyer (D-Va.), the bee’s 2015 champion.
The two slowly picked off many of the journalists.
A particularly difficult round on the spellings of U.S. rivers left only Deutch and Gillman on the stage.
Deutch then misspelled “stela,” a term for a tall stone or column used as a monument.
Gillman then spelled “somatotype” correctly to earn the title.
After he finished the word, the audience, unsure of the correct spelling, slowly began clapping. The applause turned into a roar once the judges confirmed Gillman was correct.
Gillman said he was surprised to win and said luck played a big role.
“There really weren't a lot of words until the very end that I got that I didn't know, whereas there were a lot of words that other competitors got that I absolutely didn't know,” he said.
The other journalists on his team included Art Swift of Gallup, Alexandra Petri of The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim of Politico, Hadas Gold of CNN, Vann Newkirk II of The Atlantic and Jonathan Salant of NJ Advance Media.
“I think the press really brought it tonight,” Deutch said of his competitors. “I think they come in with a built-in advantage of having to write words on a daily basis.”
This wasn’t the first time Deutch has been runner-up at the bee. “I was excited to be the last member of Congress standing,” he said. “But that's two years in a row and I'd really like to win this thing.”
He’s already looking ahead to next year’s bee. “Now that there's actually