As guests boozed and schmoozed, President Obama took shots at Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, Speaker John Boehner and birthers during the 100th White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner Saturday night – saving some of the best zingers for himself.
“In 2008, my slogan was ‘Yes, we can.’ In 2013 my slogan was ‘control-alt-delete,’” Obama said, referring to the Healthcare.gov rollout. The president said it “could’ve gone better” – “At one point, things got so bad, the 47% called Mitt Romney to apologize” – but joked that the rocky start inspired the top-grossing animated film of all time, Frozen. It’s time to let the Obamacare wrath go.
The president schooled the crowd on racism, calling out Cliven Bundy – the cattle rancher who recently turned heads when he was seen on video pondering if African-Americans are “better off as slaves” – by way of guest Olympic gold medal snowboarder Jamie Anderson. “I haven’t seen anybody pull a 180 that fast since Rand Paul dis-invited that Nevada rancher to this dinner,” Obama said. “Let me tell you something I know about the Negro,” he started by quoting Bundy, “You don’t need to hear the rest of it.”
Another crowd-pleasing jab was aimed at Speaker Boehner and his perpetual tan. “These days, House Republicans are giving him a harder time than they give me, which means orange really is the new black,” Obama joked.
The traffic in Washington made it easy for the president to give New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie his own personalized number. “Gridlock has gotten so bad, you’ve got to wonder, what did we do to piss off Chris Christie so bad,” Obama said, taking aim at the governor’s so-called Bridgegate scandal.
Birthers didn’t get away so easily either. When congratulating Meb Keflezighi for winning the Boston Marathon, Obama noted that he was the first American to win in 31 years. “It’s only fair since a Kenyan has been president for the last six,” he said. Obama later gave a shout-out to Fox News, saying that “You’ll miss me when I’m gone. It’ll be harder to convince the American people that Hillary was born in Kenya.”
Comedian and TV host Joe McHale, who was the featured entertainer of the evening, piggy-backed on the Christie punchline when he took the stage, saying “I promise tonight will be amusing and over quickly, just like Chris Christie’s presidential bid.”
McHale delivered some low blows that received more cringes than laughs. At House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, McHale said “I’m not going to spoil the shocking twist on House of Cards, but just know that it was so surprising that Nancy Pelosi’s face almost changed expression. Did you like that one, Nancy? I can’t tell.” Another aimed at the Clintons: “Hillary’s daughter, Chelsea, is pregnant, which means in nine months we will officially have a sequel to Bad Grandpa. It also raises the question, When the baby is born, do you give Bill Clinton a cigar?”
Naturally, Vice President Joe Biden got the crowd laughing with a parody video shown of him and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss as Vice President Selina Meyer from Veep. In the seven-minute video, Biden picks up Dreyfuss in a yellow sports car and they head out for a wild night, which includes sneaking into the White House for ice cream, getting matching tattoos, and toying with news headlines.
The annual event, which raises money for college scholarships and awards notable journalism, brought together celebrities, journalists, government officials, politicians, and more at the dinner.
Among the celebrity guests were Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, Mindy Kaling, Robert DeNiro, Zooey Deschanel, Julianna Margulies, and more.