WASHINGTON DC, United States, Thursday April 30, 2015 – US President Barack Obama had his audience in hysterics during his annual correspondents’ dinner for journalists and politicians at the White House.
The dinner, a long-running tradition organized by the White House Correspondents’ Association, started off with just journalists, but now guests include politicians, sports stars and Hollywood A-listers.
The 2,600 on this weekend’s guest list were treated to a slap-up meal with the president as well as a display of his charisma and sense of humour as he took aim at journalists and heavyweight politicians, not to mention a few swipes at himself.
The president had the assembled crowd in stitches with claims of a new attitude that rhymes with “bucket.”
As he told the rapt audience: “After the midterm elections, my advisers asked me, ‘Mr President, do you have a bucket list?’ And I said, well, I have something that rhymes with bucket.”
“Immigration executive action? Bucket! Stricter climate regulations? Bucket!”
Another of his wisecracks included a reference to how many grey hairs he has acquired during his time as president. “I look so old,” he said, “that John Boehner (Republican leader) has already invited Netanyahu to speak at my funeral.”
Meanwhile, First Lady Michelle Obama looks great, he said. “I ask her her secret. She says, [Obama spoofing his wife’s voice] ‘Fresh fruits and vegetables.’ It’s aggravating.”
He also lamented that he has so much to do, like negotiate with Iran, “all while finding time to pray five times a day.”
Another of his cracks was about the ABC TV series Black-ish. “Being black-ish only makes you popular for so long. Trust me, there’s a shelf life to that thing,” he told the laughing crowd.
Obama also poked fun at his possible legacy: “Just this week Michele Bachmann actually predicted that I would bring about the biblical end of days. Now, that’s big. Lincoln, Washington – they didn’t do that.”
Not even the president’s inner circle escaped his wicked wit, with Hillary Clinton, who was campaigning from a van in a low-key bid for the Democratic nomination making an ideal target.
Noting that some Americans are living in a time of uncertainty, Obama said: “For example, I have one friend just a few weeks ago, she was making millions of dollars a year and she’s now living out of a van in Iowa.”
Vice President Joe Biden also came in for a joshing, with Obama joking that he loves Biden’s back massages. “Those Joe Biden shoulder massages are like magic. You should try one.” [Pause.] “Oh, you have?”
To crown it all, President Obama turned his wit on Bernie Sanders, who could run for the Democratic nomination for president: “Apparently people really want to see a pot-smoking socialist in the White House. We could get a third Obama term after all,” he joked.