Last night, President Barack Obama cracked jokes about the government’s disastrous health care policy rollout and mocked political opponents at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
The annual event, known informally as the “nerd prom,” brings Washington’s top journalists together with a host of celebrities and power brokers for a dinner with the president and first lady.
The night was full of insider jokes and sharp jabs veiled in humor by Obama and the featured speaker, comedian Joel McHale.
“In 2008, my slogan was ‘Yes We Can.’ In 2013, my slogan was Control+Alt+Delete,” the president joked, a reference to the technical problems on healthcare.gov, the website created for his signature health care overhaul.
Near the end of the presentation there were mock technical problems with a video segment – and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius, blamed for the healthcare.gov debacle, showed up to “fix” it.
The president did not spare the cable TV news networks.
“I just got back from Malaysia,” Obama said. “The lengths you have to travel to get CNN coverage. I think they’re still searching for their table.”
The reference was to CNN’s blanket coverage of the missing Malaysia Airlines airplane that for a time pushed other news off their airwaves.
He also took a jab at Fox News, which he joked was a “shadowy ring-wing organization.”
“Let’s face it, Fox, you’ll miss me when I’m gone. It’ll be harder to convince American people that Hillary was born in Kenya,” he said.
Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton is widely seen as the front runner in the 2016 presidential race, though she has been coy about her intention to run.
McHale then took to the stage, to continue the satirical slants on senior politicians.
The actor opened by saying: ‘ Mr. President – or, as Paul Ryan would call you, another inner city minority taking advantage of the federal government to feed and house your family …’
He then told Obama: ‘My favorite bit of yours is when you said you’d close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. That was hilarious.’
The community star told the gathered guests his speech would be ‘short and sweet, just like Chris Christie’s presidential bid,’
He also took a swipe at Obamacare as he pointed out press secretary Jay Carney and said: ‘I haven’t seen him this nervous since the president said to him, “Look, just go out there and tell them the website is broken. They’ll understand”.
‘Now, over 8 million people have signed up for Obamacare, which is impressive, until you realize that Ashley Tisdale has 12 million Twitter followers.’
TV anchors and Washington reporters, minor celebrities largely unknown outside of the US capital’ tight community of insiders, shared dinner with Hollywood guests like Robert de Niro and Patrick Stewart.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who rose to fame in “Seinfeld” and now stars in a cable TV comedy about a fictitious vice president, appeared in a funny video before the main event along with Vice President Joe Biden. Michelle Obama also appeared in the clip.
Politicians at the dinner included Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz and the Governor of New Jersey, Republican Chris Christie were also the butt end of sharp jokes