President Obama high-fives late-night comic Jimmy Kimmel as Caren Bohan,… (Haraz N. Ghanbari / Associated…)
WASHINGTON -- All’s fair in love and war -- and the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. With Washington and media elite in attendance, along with a sprinkling of celebrities, President Obama wasted no time in taking aim at political rivals during his speech, making sure to save some barbs for himself.
In what was often a more pointed version of his campaign speeches, Obama joked Saturday night about presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s wealth and his corresponding “out-of-touch” label.
“It’s nice to be here in the nice, vast Hilton ballroom. Or as Mitt Romney would call it, a fixer-upper,” Obama said.
Obama later added insult to injury, saying: “We both have degrees from Harvard. I have one, he has two. What a snob.”
Nor could the president resist poking fun at last year’s whipping boy, Donald Trump. Referencing his address at the 2011 Correspondents’ Dinner, Obama said he had “finally delivered justice to one of the world’s most notorious individuals” -- as a photo of Trump was prominently displayed in the background.
The president had some jokes aimed at those in his administration too, breaking out one-liners about Joe Biden’s tendency for verbal gaffes, Hillary Clinton drunk-texting him, the General Services Administration and, once again, the allegations that he wasn’t born in the United States.
The White House Correspondents’ Dinner, deemed the “nerd prom” by many in attendance, complete with a #nerdprom hash tag, was held at the Washington Hilton on Saturday.
The crowd wasn’t limited to members of the media and inner Washington circles. News organizations are allowed to invite individuals to join their own attendees, and many invite celebrities, both from Hollywood and politics. At this event, the likes of Kim Kardashian and the cast of "Glee" mingled among reporters such as ABC’s Jake Tapper and politicians such as Rahm Emanuel.
Late night talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel followed the president’s act with his own monologue, doling out insults to a wide spectrum of attendees. Particularly harsh comments were reserved for Kardashian, whom Kimmel joked should be killed by Seal Team Six and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. As for the latter, Kimmel reminded him that he was the governor of the Garden State, not “the Olive Garden state.”
Kimmel also harked back to the Etch-A-Sketch label with which Romney was recently hit, saying that he saw the former Massachusetts governor as more of a game of Twister.
“One hand on red, one hand on blue and both hands on green,” Kimmel said.
Kimmel didn't let Obama go unscathed, with cracks about a one-term presidency and what he described as the country's joking hopes for a better tomorrow. But perhaps his most-biting partisan remark was linked to President Lincoln. Kimmel suggested that the president wasn’t assassinated, but that he'd instead killed himself after seeing what the Republican Party would eventually turn into.
The event had its serious side. The Correspondents’ Assn., the group hosting the event gave out a series of awards to honor excellent news coverage from the past year, including work from Politico and the Associated Press.
It also granted $132,000 in scholarships to various journalism students. The money given for the scholarships is raised by the Correspondents’ Dinner, putting a positive spin on a night ripe for bruised egos and snide remarks.