Duck Dynasty’s Willie and Korie Robertson returned to Washington, D.C., on Saturday for this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
Willie and Korie Robertson returned to Washington, D.C., on Saturday for this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner (photo US Magazine)
Willie and Korie Robertson were in attendance at last year’s dinner, with Willie sporting a black and white bandana. The Duck Commander CEO continued the tradition wearing a USO logo bandana on Saturday.
This year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner (WHCD) saw President Barack Obama in pictures with Michelle-style bangs, quipping about Jay-Z and sideswiping at the media and his political foes.
The traditional send-up speech saw the President earn some laughter at his own expense but also land some funny blows against the media and the Republican Party.
Barack Obama opened with a soft joke about his time in office but increasingly moved onto more controversial territory – even joking about “burning books with Michelle Bachmann”.
The president said his advisers said he should stick to the traditional format and make jokes knocking himself down a peg or two.
Barack Obama added: “After four and a half years how many pegs are there left.”
“I still make rookie mistakes,” he told the 3,000 strong audience.
“Like, I’m out in California, we’re at a fundraiser, we’re having a nice time and I happened to mention that Kamala Harris is the best looking attorney general in the country. As you might imagine, I got trouble when I got back home. Who knew Eric Holder was so sensitive?”
“And then there’s the Easter Egg Roll, which is just supposed to be a nice event with the kids. I got out on the basketball court, took 22 shots, made 2 of them. That’s right, 2 hits, 20 misses. The executives at NBC asked, <<What’s your secret?>>.”
Swipes at the media’s expense are traditional fare at the event and Barack Obama seemed to have plenty of material – knocking CNN for mistakes and poking fun at the revolving door between politics and the media.
Referencing campaign adviser David Axelrod and the fact he is now working for MSNBC, he added: “It’s a nice change of pace because MSNBC used to work for David Axelrod.”
The president referenced his likeness to theSatan actor in The History Channel’s show The Bible saying that maybe the channel didn’t attend because they were too embarrassed for associating him with evil.
He then joked: “That never stops Fox News from turning up. They thought that comparison was not fair … to Satan.”
In another media joke, he added: “I remember when Buzzfeed was something I did in college around 2 a.m.”
Barack Obama wasn’t going to spare the chance to throw in a few barbs about the Republicans and their election campaign either.
“One thing [the Republican Party] agrees on is the need to do a better job of reaching out to minorities. And look, call me self-centered, but I can think of one minority they can start with. [Raises his hand] Think of me as a trial run, see how it goes.”
He spoke about reaching out to Republicans, quipping: “Some folks still don’t think I spend enough time with Congress. <<Why don’t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?>> they ask. Really? Why don’t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?”
Barack Obama vowed to take his “charm offensive” on the road to “a Texas BBQ with Ted Cruz, a Kentucky bluegrass concert with Rand Paul, and a book burning with Michele Bachmann”.
Addressing his re-election campaign, Barack Obama joked about his rivals attempts to discredit him.
This year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner saw President Barack Obama in pictures with Michelle-style bangs
“Did you know that Sheldon Adelson spent $100 million of his own money last year on negative ads? You’ve got to really dislike me to spend that kind of money. I mean, that’s Oprah money. … Sheldon would have been better off offering me $100 million to drop out of the race. I wouldn’t have taken it but I would have thought about it. Michelle would have taken it – you think I’m joking?”
The president made fun about conspiracy theories about his past, joking: “I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be.” On his appearance, Barack Obama noted his graying hair and also presented a picture of himself photo-shopped with the First Lady’s style bangs.
He said he wanted “a little energy” and a “bit of change” for his second term with the new look.
Another photograph mocked the Bush library, opened earlier this week, and featured the new building alongside a giant “It’s His Fault” sign’.
In the multimedia routine, Steven Spielberg was on-hand to appear in a video mocking a movie on Barack Obama’s legacy.
Steven Spielberg said he called on Daniel Day Lewis to encapsulate the “lame duck, aloof” president.
President Barack Obama then appeared on screen pretending to be the method actor in the role.
In the event which was attacked in recent days for being too celebrity-focused, Barack Obama acknowledged his own controversial celebrity relationships.
He joked: “I’ve got 99 problems and now Jay Z is one.”
The President’s edgier material eased the way for host Conan O’Brien.
“As you all know, the president is hard at work creating jobs,” he joked.
“Since he was first elected, the number of popes has doubled. The number of <<Tonight Show>> hosts has tripled.”
He also leveled a few jokes at the media.
“If HuffPost is here, who’s covering 7 mistakes you’re making with bacon?” he asked.
In a popular topic for ridicule he also mocked CNN, joking: “Tonight’s dinner was halibut and filet, or as John King reported it: Lasagna and couscous.”
“Yes, a lot of online stars are in the room but, unfortunately, Matt Drudge couldn’t make it,” Conan O’Brien said.
“He had a prior commitment to teach a web design class in 1997.”
“Some people say print media is dying, but I don’t believe it,” Conan O’Brien added.
“And neither does my blacksmith.”
“It’s no surprise that Speaker John Boehner isn’t here tonight,” Conan O’Brien said.
“President Obama and John Boehner are kind of like a blind date between Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow. In theory, they understand each other’s positions but, deep down, you know nothing’s ever going to happen.”
NBC veteran Tom Brokaw turned down his invite this year claiming the event had become too tabloid.
One of America’s most respected journalists, Tom Brokaw said, it was last year’s appearance of Lindsay Lohan which was the final straw for him.
“The breaking point for me was Lindsay Lohan,” he told Politico on Friday.
“She became a big star at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Give me a break.”
The red carpet didn’t seem to disprove his point with dozens of celebrities from a-list to z-list lining up in their finest.
However, Conan O’Brien used the small screen attendees to his benefit.
Imagining the casting of a miniseries on Washington, the comedian ran through a series of potential lookalikes from Bob Barker as Vice President Joe Biden; an Easter Island Head as John Kerry; a Furby as Wolf Blitzer and – with one of the biggest laughs of the night – “tan mom” as Boehner.
The tradition of news outlets bringing stars to join their tables began when the cast of Saturday Night Live was brought down from New York to D.C. in the mid-1970s.
This year, celebrities had an Oscars-worthy parade of glamorous designer dresses and stylish suits on show – making it is as much an event for the fashion pack as the usual politicos.
Leading the perfect combination of the two, Michelle Obama arrived in a sequined black gown while Obama supporter and Vogue editor Anna Wintour opted for a white fur shawl.
Constance Zimmer and Kate Mara, who co-star as reporters in the political series House Of Cards, and Connie Britton, who plays an all-American country singer in Nashville, were some of the stars attending.
The women opted to show their patriotic colors with Constance Zimmer, 42, donning a red floaty frock, Kate Mara, 30, in a white floor-length gown, and Connie Britton, 46, in a blue mermaid-style creation.
It wasn’t only female celebrities invited along for the ride, Piers Morgan brought Gerald Butler along as his plus 1.
Kerry Washington, 36, star of the political drama Scandal, donned a dramatic black-and-white patterned gown.
“Just had my fitting with @Stephendatailor – my awesome go to tailor in DC! – getting EXCITED about tonight. #whcd,” tweeted Kerry Washington earlier in the day.
However, excited celebrities weren’t the only ones taking to Twitter to make their feelings known about the events.
Sarah Palin tweeted: “That WHCD was pathetic. The rest of America is out there working our asses off while these DC assclowns throw themselves a nerd prom.”
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.).”
President Barack Obama shared a meal with politicians, journalists and stars at the 98th annual White House Correspondents' Dinner
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”.