President Barack Obama shared a meal with politicians, journalists and stars like Kim Kardashian and Lindsay Lohan at the 98th annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
Barack Obama enjoyed a genial evening with the members of the press, thanking them for their time and dedication.
Nothing was off limits during Washington’s night of levity, including the recent Secret Service scandal in Colombia, “dog socialism”, and the state of media today. And of course, he didn’t shy away from the political arena.
Barack Obama appeared in high spirits as he began his comedic routine.
“We gather during a historic anniversary,” he said.
“Last year at this time, in fact on this very weekend, we finally delivered justice to one of the world’s most notorious individuals.”
That man wasn’t Osama bin Laden – no, a picture of none other than Donald Trump flashed on the screen.
Jabs at his likely GOP rival Mitt Romney came soon after.
“I’m not going to attack any of the Republican candidates – take Mitt Romney,” Barack Obama deadpanned, adding that the former Massachusetts governor would call the luxurious Hilton ballroom “a little fixer upper”.
The president continued: “[Romney] and I actually have a lot in common… We both have degrees from Harvard. I have one, he has two.” After a pause, he added: “What a snob.”
Four years ago, Barack Obama recalled, he was locked in a tough primary fight with Hillary Rodham Clinton, now his secretary of state.
“Now she can’t stop drunk texting me from Cartagena,” he said, referring to their recent trip to the Summit of the Americas in Colombia, where Hillary Clinton was photographed drinking a beer and dancing.
Next up was a video satirizing Mitt Romney’s highly politicized event of strapping his dog Seamus to the roof while on home from a family vacation.
In the faux-political video, the announcer hinted at what a horrible world it would be if “socialist” first dog Bo Obama were allowed another four terms in office.
“America’s dogs can’t afford four more years of Obama – that’s 28 years for dogs.”
The video finished with the slogan: “I’m an American, and dog gone it, I ride on the outside. (Paid for by the Wolf Pack of America.).”
Throughout the routine, Michelle Obama could be seen laughing at the dinner table. First Lady was wearing a modified version of Naeem Khan’s one-shouldered paisley organza ball gown from the Fall/Winter 2011 collection.
The version that went down the runway had a twisted strap over the left shoulder, but Michelle Obama seemed to prefer a dress that better displayed her décolletage.
She accessorized the look with detailed gold hoop earrings and a loosely-waved bob, as well as a large cocktail ring worn on her left hand.
Michelle Obama also elected to wear a bright pink lipstick to match the colors of her gown.
Earlier, Barack Obama gave a knowing nod to several instances of “hot microphone” instances, lampooning himself in a monologue, asking who the Kardashians are, and why exactly they’re famous.
“What am I doing here,” he asked off stage.
“I’m opening for Jimmy Kimmel and telling knock-knock jokes to Kim Kardashian.”
The crack drew a thumbs up from former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who dropped out of the presidential primary campaign earlier this month.
Rick Santorum had called Barack Obama a snob for encouraging young Americans to attend college.
But Barack Obama touched on serious themes as well, remembering The New York Times’ Anthony Shadid and Marie Colvin of the Sunday Times of London who died while covering the uprising in Syria.
“Never forget that our country depends on you to help protect our freedom, our democracy and our way of life,” he said.
Then he returned to the lighter side: “I have to get the Secret Service home in time for their new curfew.”
Barack Obama then passed the podium on to ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel, who he noted got his start on a program called The Man Show.
“In Washington, that’s what we call a congressional hearing on contraception,” he said.
Jimmy Kimmel began joking straight out of the gate, saying: “It’s an honor to be here. Mr. President, remember when the country rallied around you in the hopes of a better tomorrow?
“That was hilarious. That was your best one yet. There’s a term for guys like President Obama. Probably not two terms, but there is.”
No one was safe from the wry jokes of the outspoken host of Jimmy Kimmel Live.
He poked fun at everyone from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (“I think you’re misunderstanding New Jersey’s slogan. It’s not the Olive Garden State”) to Newt Gingrich (“It’s great to see the Gingriches here, because that means the check cleared.”)
Jimmy Kimmel also picked up on the Secret Service prostitution scandal in Colombia, saying he told the Secret Service that for $800 he wouldn’t joke about them, “but they only offered 30”.
“If this had happened on President Clinton’s watch, you can damn well bet those Secret Service agents would have been disciplined with a very serious high five,” Jimmy Kimmel said.
Among those who attended Saturday night’s dinner were former Secretary of State Colin Powell, the cast of the hit TV show Modern Family, singer John Legend, actor George Clooney, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, director Steven Spielberg, and actress Zooey Deschanel.
Proceeds from the dinner go toward scholarships for aspiring journalists and awards for distinction in the profession.
The association was formed in 1914 as a liaison between the press and the president.
Every president since Calvin Coolidge has attended the dinner. Some of the proceeds from the dinner pay for journalism scholarships for college students.
Several journalists were also honored at the dinner, including:
• Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eileen Sullivan and Chris Hawley of The Associated Press, for winning the Edgar A. Poe Award for their stories about the New York City Police Department’s widespread surveillance of Muslims after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. It’s the fourth major prize for the series, which has also won the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting, the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting and a George Polk Award.
• ABC’s Jake Tapper and Politico’s Glenn Thrush, Carrie Budoff Brown, Manu Raju and John Bresnahan, for winning the Merriman Smith Award for excellence in presidential coverage under pressure. Tapper won in the broadcast category for breaking the news that rating agency Standard & Poor’s was on the verge of downgrading the federal government’s triple-A credit rating because of concerns over political gridlock in Washington. In the print category, Thrush, Budoff Brown, Raju and Bresnahan of Politico won for their report on the deal between Obama and congressional Republicans to raise the U.S. debt ceiling.
• Scott Wilson, of The Washington Post, for winning the Aldo Beckman award. Wilson was recognized for his “deeply reported and nuanced stories, his evocative writing and his clear presentation of complex issues, particularly on the foreign policy front”.