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No one was safe from President Obama’s jokes Saturday night, when, at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, he made fun of the presumptive Republican nominee, lawmakers, the secret service, and journalists, to name a few. More than 2,000 politicians, journalists, celebrities, and others who managed to score an invite laughed as the president-turned-comedian offered a wry take on the news. The verdict? Many think he was funnier than Jimmy Kimmel, the real comedian who closed the night and, says the Orlando Sentinel, maybe stayed a tad too long at the podium.
Overall though Obama “held true to the rule that the talent … is supposed to ‘singe not burn’ the opposition,” points out Politico’s Patrick Gavin. At several points of the night, it sounded as if Obama was delivering “a more pointed version of his campaign speeches,” notes the Los Angeles Times.
“It’s great to be here this evening in the vast, magnificent Hilton ballroom,” Obama said, “or what Mitt Romney would call ‘a little fixer-upper.’ ” The president also said: “We both have degrees from Harvard. I have one, he has two. What a snob.” That remark got him a thumbs up from Rick Santorum, who had implied that Obama was a snob for encouraging kids to go to college, points out the Associated Press. The president also took the time to delve into more serious matters, remembering two journalists—the New York Times' Anthony Shadid and Marie Colvin of London’s Sunday Times—who died while covering Syria.
Kimmel also poked fun at Washington culture—“Everything that is wrong with America is here in this room”—and Obama. “Remember when the country rallied around you in hopes of a better tomorrow?” Kimmel said. “That was hilarious.” He also made fun of Obama’s ears, Gov. Chris Christie’s weight, and Al Gore’s Current TV, which “took off like a North Korean rocket.” His most biting joke of the evening though was probably when he suggested President Lincoln wasn’t assassinated, but rather killed himself because he “has a vision of what the Republican Party would become in 150 years.”
The Washington Post points out that the annual event “is an opportunity for elected officials to momentarily ignore the business of the people, for journalists to pretend they’re stars, for the 1 percent to use second-rate California chardonnay to cleanse their palate of the aggravations of the real world.”