A glamorous dinner at the Washington Hilton Hotel with your closest friends sounds like one heck of an evening. A glamorous dinner at the Washington Hilton Hotel with people who constantly question your authority, criticize your decision-making and poke fun at your politics does not.
that keeps a check on both his power and ego.
The White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, a gathering of the press, politicians, executives and celebrities, was SO last week.
ABC comedian Jimmy Kimmel stole the show with his insulting but hilarious monologue, though Obama’s opening comments certainly warranted a few laughs.
Before he stepped in front of the podium, Obama’s disembodied voice boomed over the loudspeakers. Mocking last month’s “hot mic” incident with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, in which Obama was caught offering Medvedev “more flexibility” in missile defense negotiations after he won a reelection, the American president let slip thoughts that should have been kept private.
As he warmed up his vocal chords backstage, Obama asked, “Seriously guys, what am I doing here? I’m the President of the United States and I’m opening for Jimmy Kimmel? I have the nuclear codes. Why am I telling knock knock jokes to Kim Kardashian?”
The spiel garnered a good response from the audience, as did Obama’s comments about the Huffington Post’s recent Pulitzer Prize. “You deserve it Arianna,” Obama said. “There’s no one else out there linking to the kinds of hard-hitting journalism that HuffPo is linking to every single day. Give them a round of applause. And you don’t pay them,” he said to the crowd of journalists seated below. “It’s a great business model.”
Kimmel followed the President with witty criticisms and condescension, delivering a lengthy but hilarious diatribe knocking everyone from New Jersey Governor Republican Chris Christie to left-wing pundit Rachel Maddow. Both Kimmel and Obama spared the Secret Service no grief, as the duo highlighted the crew’s expensive outings and recent indiscretions with Colombian prostitutes. “I do have a lot of jokes about the Secret Service,” Kimmel said. “I told them for $800 I wouldn’t tell them, but they only offered $30.”
Kimmel also poked fun at the White House’s attempt to distance itself from Democratic Strategist Hilary Rosen. The Democratic lobbyist and pundit recently made disparaging comments about Mitt Romney’s wife Anne’s working history, saying the stay-at-home mom “never actually worked a day in her life.”
In response to the public’s uproar about Rosen’s seeming lack of appreciation for motherhood, the White House played it off like they barely knew the strategist. When questioned about her relationship with the president, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said records tracking numerous visits from a certain “Hilary Rosen” could be any number of Hilary Rosens.
“When reporters asked Jay why her name showed up 35 times — this is where it gets hilarious — he said he wasn’t sure if it was the same Hilary Rosen,” Kimmel said. “He said, ‘I personally know three Hilary Rosens.’”
“I’d bet you $10,000 you don’t know three Hilary Rosens, but I’m not running for president,” Kimmel said to Carney.
The comedian’s comments were quick, sharp and pointed, landing right on the mark. Though both Obama and Kimmel kept the audience laughing — and gasping at a few “too soon” jokes — Kimmel stole the show.
Now that the night is over, it looks like Obama will have to return to his day job.
Last year, Osama bin Laden’s capture and kill followed the Correspondents’ Association Dinner. We’ll see what Obama’s serving for dessert this time around.
From the So Last Week archives: YOLO