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Association Bisnow
April 3, 2008



We can always count on the Consumer Electronics Association to put on a good show, and last night’s fourth annual Digital Patriots Award Dinner at the JW Marriott didn’t disappoint. Capping the opening session of the CEA’s two-day Washington Forum, keynoted by Commerce Secretary Gutierrez and focused on free trade, the gala drew 250 to honor Sen. Pat Leahy, Rep. Tom Davis and Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg. Even better than the video tributes and filet mignon: Proceeds went to USO.


CEA head Gary Shapiro presents the Digital Patriot hardware to Leahy, aka “Cyber Senator.” Leahy, a member of the Congressional Internet Caucus, endeared himself to technophiles by being the second senator to have his own website. If you know the first, you win a prize. We also learned he’s a huge Grateful Dead fan.  (A Dead Head from Vermont—is that redundant?)



Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Cal.), center, was on the CEA board as president of Directed Electronics when Shapiro encouraged him to run for Congress. (We recognized him due to our encyclopedic political knowledge—and, umm, maybe because we saw him on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher in February.) He’s flanked by CEA’s Dan Cole and John Shalam, Chairman of Audiovox, who spent the day calling on Congressmen to talk free trade.



The mouse in the house was represented by Susan Fox, Disney’s government relations VP, and ESPN’s Bryan Burns. Bryan is a member of the CEA’s Academy of Digital Television Pioneers, but tells us he doesn’t know how that happened. Maybe because he’s the main HD guy at the Worldwide Leader.



Sometimes even an act of Congress can’t open an elevator. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) and wife Pat, did no better than us at figuring out the Marriott’s elevator system, so advanced it was beyond our comprehension. (Lesson for CEA: keep those high-tech gadgets simple.) Eliot told us Seidenberg was a boyhood and college friend from the Bronx.

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