The gala featured celebrities and politicians, including Democratic President Barack Obama. Perry was invited by the conservative Washington Times newspaper. The governor said the Saturday night dinner was "a good place to be."
His appearance was a bit jarring for a Republican governor who's trying to tamp down speculation that he might run for president in 2012. Ray Sullivan, Perry's chief of staff, said the governor's attendance was not meant to stir speculation about 2012.
Perry also has another Washington event. On Monday, he was speaking at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce summit.