Entries in White House Correspondent's Dinner (5)


Obama Mixes Serious Tone with Humor at White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) --Amid the glitz and glamour, humor and levity normally surrounding the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, President Obama injected a somber tone to the annual soiree as he invoked the memories of those affected by the Boston Marathon bombing and West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion earlier this month and praised not only the work of the first responders in each of those tragedies but also the journalists dedicated to covering them.

“These have been some very hard days for too many of our citizens. Even as we gather here tonight our thoughts are not far from the people of Boston and the people of West, Texas. There are families who are in the Midwest who are coping with some terrible floods, so we’ve had some difficult days but even when the days seem darkest, we have seen humanity shine at its brightest,” the president said at the Washington Hilton Hotel Saturday.

“We’ve seen first responders and national guardsmen who dashed into danger, law enforcement officers who lived their oath to serve and to protect, and every day Americans who are opening their homes and their hearts to perfect strangers.

“We also saw journalists at their best, especially those who took the time to wade upstream through the torrent of digital rumors, to chase down leads and verify facts and painstakingly put the pieces together to inform and to educate and to tell stories that demanded to be told,” the president said.

The president doled out particular praise for newspapers like the Boston Globe, who provided detailed information to the public as its city coped with a major terrorist attack.

“If anyone wonders for example if newspapers are a thing of the past, all you need to do is to pick up or log on to papers like the Boston Globe,” the president said to applause. “When their communities and wider world needed them most, they were there, making sense of events that might at first blush seem beyond our comprehension and that’s what great journalism is, and that’s what great journalists do.”

But while the president, who was accompanied by First Lady Michelle Obama, presented a serious tone for a portion of his speech, he also took some time to poke fun at himself, even highlighting some of the criticisms and perceptions some hold of him.

“Look I get it, these days I look in the mirror and I have to admit I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be,” Obama said to laughter.

“I’m also hard at work on plans for the Obama library and some have suggested we put it in my birthplace but I’d rather keep it in the United States,” Obama joked.

Pointing out his flap when he called California Attorney General Kamala Harris the “best looking attorney general,” the president joked, “As you might imagine I got in trouble when I got back home. Who knew Eric Holder was so sensitive?”

The president also addressed his recent “charm offensive” with members of Congress as he tries to reach across the aisle to Republicans.

“My charm offensive has helped me learn some interesting things about what’s going on in congress. It turns out absolutely nothing,” he said.

And he took aim at a potential Republican 2016 hopeful, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla, who’s short time in the Senate resembled that of President Obama when he first entered elected office.

 “One senator who has reached across the aisle recently is Marco Rubio but I don’t know about 2016, I mean the guy has not even finished a single term in the senate and he thinks he’s ready to be president,” the president said sarcastically. “Kids these days.”

The evening’s festivities offered journalists and politicians the opportunity to hobnob with celebrities who descend upon Washington, D.C. for the annual dinner, which is hosted by the White House Correspondents Association and features a presentation of scholarships to journalism students and awards to esteemed colleagues in the industry.

Late night talk show host Conan O’Brien entertained the guests, but even he wasn’t free of the president’s comedic aim.

When the president discussed the WHCA’s decision to select O’Brien as the evening’s entertainment, he said they were “faced with that aged old dilemma, do you offer it to him now or wait 5 years and then give it to Jimmy Fallon?”


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Obama Golfs Ahead of WH Correspondents’ Dinner

Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama spent Saturday afternoon at the golf course, just a few hours before he is set to attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner later in the evening.

The president golfed at Joint Base Andrews with former U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and White House aides Marvin Nicholson and Michael Brush.

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will attend the annual dinner held by the White House Correspondents Association at the Washington Hilton hotel Saturday evening where journalists, politicians and celebrities will have the chance to see the president’s comedic side in action alongside comedian Conan O’Brien, who is the guest entertainer for tonight’s soiree.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Conan O'Brien to Headline White House Correspondents Dinner

Michael Tran/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- Late night talk show host Conan O'Brien is set to headline the White House Correspondents Association's annual dinner, association president Ed Henry announced on Wednesday.

“Conan is one of television’s most innovative and influential talents and I am absolutely thrilled that he has agreed to be this year’s featured act,” Henry said.  “We are grateful that Conan will be also be using that creativity to bring more attention to the WHCA’s commitment to helping needy journalism students.”

The dinner, which is attended by President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, along with most of Washington, D.C.'s movers and shakers, also gives over $100,000 in scholarships to high school students.

This won't be the first time that O'Brien, who's currently hosting Conan on TBS, has taken the podium at the White House Correspondent's Dinner.  He also appeared at the 1995 dinner when he started his 16-year run as the host of NBC's Late Night with Conan O’Brien.

This year's White House Correspondents Dinner will be held on April 27, 2013.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Obama Rips Romney, Congress, and Own Presidency at Correspondents’ Dinner

SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — With Congress continuing unprecedented levels of bitter partisan debate and the 2012 presidential campaign in full swing, President Obama struck back Saturday night at a town consumed by politics with a light-hearted roast of his critics and own administration.

To all the Congress “members who took a break from their exhausting schedule of not passing any laws to be here tonight,” he said. “Let’s give them a big round of applause.”

The White House Correspondent’s Dinner is an event where a huge gathering of journalists, politicians, and pop culture celebrities hit the nation’s capital each spring. It’s a time for Washington elite to hobnob with Hollywood stars and, traditionally, for presidents to respond to contemporary issues with a little humor.

The president began by reflecting briefly on last year’s gala; an evening when, unbeknownst to the public, the commander in chief had just given the order to put down “one of the world’s most notorious individuals.” Not Osama bin Laden, but Donald Trump.

And Obama delved quickly into his more immediate critics:

“It’s great to be here this evening in the vast, magnificent Hilton ballroom,” Obama told the audience. “Or what Mitt Romney would call a little fixer-upper.”

Recognizing it was going to be a tough campaign in the fall, the president digressed that he actually had a lot in common with the Republican candidate.

“We both think of our wives as our better halves and polls show, to an alarmingly insulting extent, the American people agree,” he said.

Both Romney and Obama pursued college degrees from Harvard. “I have one, he has two. What a snob.”

Even Dog-gate was not off the table, with the president showing a satirical Romney attack-ad against First Pooch Bo Obama. Could American dogs afford four more years of Obama? “For them, that’s 28 years.”

“That’s pretty rough, but I can take it,” he responded. “My stepfather always told me, ‘It’s a boy-eat-dog world out there.’”

Romney was not present for the riff, although Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich were in attendance. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and a motley crew of lawmakers were also in the audience.

Obama did take a more serious tone toward the end of his remarks, thanking the assembled journalists for their work and recognizing the sacrifices of reporters Anthony Shadid and Marie Colvin, who died “to shine a light on some of the most important stories of our time.” Obama told the correspondents he never forgets the dependence of freedom on an open press.

Before departing, he said he needed to get the Secret Service back in time for their new curfew.

Several journalists were presented awards for their coverage of the executive branch. A team from Politico was recognized for their analysis of the negotiations to raise the U.S. debt ceiling; and Associated Press journalists for their series on the New York Police Department’s surveillance program of minority communities under CIA guidance. The AP has also won a Pulitzer Prize for their investigation.

In the broadcast category ABC’s Tapper was awarded for his scoop that Standard and Poor’s would downgrade the U.S. credit rating over Washington gridlock. It is Tapper’s third consecutive year to be honored at the event.

Proceeds from the lavish dinner are divided among the awards and scholarships for journalism students, also given out that evening. But the president said between the tuxedos, gowns, and fine wine, he was just happy it wasn’t a GSA conference.

Following the dinner, the glitterati huddled under umbrellas to attend a number of after parties hosted by MSNBC at the Embassy of Italy, Vanity Fair at French ambassador's residence and Capitol File's soiree at the Newseum.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama, Seth Meyers Roast Trump at Correspondents' Dinner

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Barack Obama turned the tables on Donald Trump at the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner Saturday, lampooning the real estate mogul and reality TV star's would-be presidential bid.

"I know that he's taken some flak lately, but nobody is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald," said the president, who Trump has been hounding for weeks with questions about his birth certificate and college education. "And that's because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter, like: did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?"

Trump sat smirking among the laughing and sometimes uncomfortable audience.

"All kidding aside, we all know about your credentials and experience," the president said, winding up his next barb. "In an episode of 'Celebrity Apprentice' ... the men's cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks. You, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. So ultimately, you didn't blame Lil Jon or Meatloaf, you fired Gary Busey.

"These are the kinds of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well handled, sir. Well handled," Obama said.

Earlier in the week Obama released his long-form birth certificate from Hawaii to address all doubts that he is an American-born citizen.

Before introducing the president, Seth Meyers, the head writer for "Saturday Night Live," served as the evening's featured entertainer and took his turn mocking Trump.

"Donald Trump has been saying he will run for president as a Republican, which is surprising because I just assumed that he was running as a joke," he said.

"Donald Trump often appears on Fox, which is ironic because a fox often appears on Donald Trump's head," he said to the crowd's nervous laughs.

This year the White House Correspondents' Association gave out over $100,000 in scholarships for journalism students and honored ABC News' Jake Tapper, The Washington Post's Dan Balz, The New York Times' Peter Backer and The Seattle Times' Michael Berens.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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