The Comedian-in-Chief Returns
At past correspondents’ dinners, the audience politely clapped and chuckled at the jokes delivered by presidents—they didn’t, after all, elect the guy to be funny. But President Obama proved himself to be the comedian-in-chief at last year’s dinner and he held his own on Saturday night, even landing a double burn on host Jay Leno.
Most Trusted Name in News?
In a clear rip-off of Jon Stewart, the president dabbled in a little media criticism during his speech. Obama showed three cable news clips, and even offered Stewart’s signature perplexed reaction shot. MSNBC had a liberal spin on Obama’s first pitch at a Nationals baseball game, and Fox News had a conservative one, which was pretty much what you’d expect. But CNN’s coverage? Completely baffling.
McCain the Maverick
Obama took a shot at his old foe Sen. John McCain, who’s currently locked in a tough primary fight just to hold on to his seat in Arizona. McCain, once a champion of immigration reform, has endorsed a controversial new law that requires police to question any person they suspect could be in the country illegally and demand proof of citizenship. He also recently said he never referred to himself as a maverick, making himself more than an easy target for Obama.
President Obama’s a BFD
President Obama opened his remarks with a riff on Vice President Joe Biden’s hot mic moment when health care passed (the veep was recorded telling his boss the law was a “big f-ing deal.”) It’s comforting to imagine even the president has seen this shirt—proving that even the most powerful man in the world is not above a good meme.
Health Care Secrets Revealed!
During the nearly year-long debate over the health-care legislation which passed in March, critics on both sides urged the press, members of Congress, and average citizens to actually read the bill. Several terrible, secret things were to be found lurking in its many pages, they said, if only people bothered to look. Not true, Obama said. There are hundreds!
Bush Frolics in the Oval Office
Leno explicitly said he missed the comedic gold that was Obama’s often tongue-tied predecessor. To reminisce, the talk show host offered a photo harkening back to those simpler times.
Obama’s Street Cred
Earlier in the night, Obama boasted that he’d held onto his street cred, unlike Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, who the president said was offering “taxation without representin.’” Leno echoed that sentiment, showing Obama giving a citizen a Fresh Prince-style handshake.
Headless Committee in a Topless Bar
Surely the GOP was bracing itself for this joke: The recent kerfuffle at the Republican National Committee over its fundraising dollars being used at a lesbian bondage bar could not go unnoticed at such an event. And Leno raised an excellent question—how can the GOP be opposed to gay people doing boring stuff like getting married, but all in favor of hanging out at “a bondage-themed nightclub featuring topless women dancers imitating lesbian sex”?
Cash for Flunkers
The curious racial undertones in Leno’s clip of a fake program for parents to exchange their bad kids for good ones was the only part of Saturday’s ceremony that seemed a bit off-key. The not-so-P.C. message appeared to be: Trade in your unruly child for a studious Asian one. Even Michelle Obama could only muster a polite smile.
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