Translation headsets squawked in four languages at the early morning breakfast in Washington, mixing in with the sounds of stirred coffee and clinking china in the immense ballroom at the Washington Hilton.
The sound reverberated over the quiet of a momentary political cease-fire in Washington.
For the 61st time, the president came to pray with the U.S. Senate and House prayer groups at the National Prayer Breakfast. It is an event that is equal parts prayer and politics, where members of both parties laud one another about a temporary political truce, lay down their partisan ammunition, and pause to pray together.
Members of Congress mixed in across the ballroom with the 3,000 diplomats, dignitaries, clergy, veterans and many more from 140 countries who bought a ticket to join in the ecumenical prayer event.
All told there were four short prayers, delivered by a senator, an admiral, a Cabinet secretary and an Olympic gold medalist, Gabrielle "the Flying Squirrel" Douglas.
The remainder of the 90 minutes was filled with speeches, songs, coffee, mini-quiches, and bagels.
Sen. Mark Pryor, R-Arkansas, greeted the crowd from the podium with a crisp, "Good morning sinners." He then turned it over to fellow emcee Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, who opened the event in prayer.
Dr. Benjamin Carson, the director of pediatric neurosurgery for The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, delivered a keynote address that covered a broad range of topics. As he touched on taxes, deficit, education and health care, he received applause first from half of the crowd and then from the other half, in a way that was reminiscent of a State of the Union speech.
He reminded the crowd of Washington power brokers that the American bald eagle needs both its left wing and its right wing to soar.
President Barack Obama spoke at the annual breakfast for the fifth time since taking office, keeping the streak of presidential attendance of the event unbroken.