President Barack Obama poked fun at himself and political adversaries like casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Rep. Michele Bachmann on Saturday night — joking about his radical second-term shakeup, from “strapping young Muslim Socialist” to retiree golfer.
“Time passes,” Obama quipped at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner after displaying a mock magazine cover, “Senior Leisure,” which bore his image. “Get a little gray.”
The annual gathering at the Washington Hilton Hotel brings together an unlikely pairing of journalists, government officials, politicians, and media personalities for an evening of light-hearted banter and celebrity gawking dubbed the “nerd prom.”
Presidents are made fun of — and they poke fun at themselves, too. In this case, Obama told an audience of Hollywood and Washington royalty that he would like to hone in on first lady Michelle’s popularity secrets — and the president produced three mock photographs — all of him wearing bangs.
“I thought this looked pretty good, but no bounce,” he said.
This year’s headliner was comedian and late-night TV talk-show host Conan O’Brien, who first appeared at the dinner in 1995 when Bill Clinton was president.
O’Brien, who donated his entire $10,000 fee to the association’s scholarship fund, told Obama that he understood the potential downside of the evening.
“Now I’ve made some jokes about the president this evening and I’m looking forward to my audit,” he said. “It’s coming. I know sir. It’s coming.”
For his part, the president acknowledged that he still makes “rookie mistakes,” referencing the comment he made about California Attorney General Kamala Harris at a recent fundraiser in which he described her as the best-looking attorney general in the country.
“As you can imagine, I got into trouble when I got back home,” Obama said. “Who knew Eric Holder was so sensitive?”
He also noted his disappointing 2-for-22 basketball shooting performance at the White House Easter Egg hunt.
“Two hits, 20 misses,” Obama said. “The executives at NBC asked, ‘What’s your secret?’”
“Yes, maybe I have lost a step,” he conceded.
President Obama then turned his attention to several of the media organizations represented at the dinner.