Obama turns entertainer – but not everyone approves

The President displayed his talent for stand-up at the annual White House correspondents' dinner

It was the annual White House correspondents' dinner on Saturday, hosted by the late-night talk star Jimmy Kimmel, and the Comedian-in-Chief Barack Obama didn't waste the opportunity, poking fun at himself and his administration (a little) and at his foes in the overheated political chamber of an American election year (a lot).

The jokes – and the audience including the likes of George Clooney and Lindsay Lohan seemed to get them all – began even before he arrived at the podium in a Washington hotel ballroom. Lampooning his recent clanger being caught on a "hot mic" talking privately to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, he was heard muttering: "What am I doing here? I'm opening for Jimmy Kimmel and telling knock-knock jokes to Kim Kardashian."

Other gags included a faux political ad for Mitt Romney, now the all-but certain Republican challenger in November, referencing the time he put his dog on the car roof during a family holiday. It showed Mr Romney proudly posing on the steps to Air Force One with a dog crate attached to the fuselage just behind the cockpit.

A little nostalgia for the 2008 campaign crept in also. Evoking Sarah Palin's line about pit bulls and lipstick at the Republican convention that year, as well as recent rumours that he ate dog meat in Indonesia as a child, Mr Obama asked: "What's the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull?" The answer: A pit bull is delicious."

Mr Obama then seemed to recall that last year's dinner had coincided with the killing of Osama bin Laden. "We finally delivered justice to one of the world's most notorious individuals," he said, before images not of Bin Laden but Donald Trump appeared on overhead screens. (Mr Trump was skewered by Mr Obama at the 2011 dinner.)

Established by the White House Correspondents' Association in 1920, the annual dinner is a ritual in the Washington calendar, and every President is expected to show off their funny bone. And if they don't naturally have one, the speech writers will find it for them.

This year it came just as officials in the Romney campaign were criticising Mr Obama as too frivolous after a similarly light-hearted performance "slow-jamming" his position on student loans on the set of another late-night host, Jimmy Fallon, last week. Fallon rechristened him that night the "Preezie of the United Steezie".

"There's something a little bit off-key about the President appearing to make light of the fact that students are struggling either with loans ... or they're graduating with an uncertain job market," a senior Romney aide, Eric Fehrnstrom, said at the weekend.

If it is the famously stiff Mr Romney who wins in November, it will be standing room only at next April's dinner to see if he has hidden comic skills. But this is 2012 and the stage was all Mr Obama's. As he surveyed the giant ballroom in the Washington Hilton he suggested it was pretty grand, or "what Mitt Romney would call a little fixer-upper".

Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principle Geotechnical Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable