On Saturday night, President Obama had some fun at the expense of Hillary Clinton and John Boehner. At the annual Gridiron Club and Foundation dinner, an event hosted by the prestigious D.C. journalistic society, Obama joked about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent email scandal and Speaker of the House John Boehner’s many challenges to an audience of hundreds of officials, lawmakers, and journalists. About the Clinton email controversy, Obama joked:
Just a few years ago … I was the young tech-savvy candidate of the future. Now I’m yesterday’s news, and Hillary’s got a server in her house. I didn’t even know you could have one of those. I am so far behind.
In fact, it was just nine years ago that Obama made his debut at the Gridiron Club dinner when he was still a senator. Saturday night marked Obama’s third appearance at the dinner since he’s been president. According to TIME, ever since Grover Cleveland was in office, it’s been tradition for presidents to attend the annual dinner.
For those who aren’t amongst the Washington elite invited to the event, the evening’s goings-on — which TIME describes as a mix of “comedy and revelry — are apt to sound a bit strange and also pretty darn funny. Saturday night’s entertainment included everything from speeches to costumes to musical performances, including a Jeb Bush impersonator and remix of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” with lyrics about Hillary Clinton’s personal email account. TIME reports that some attendees were dressed in animal costumes and Kim Jong-un costumes for skits.
What’s the purpose of all of this? According to The Washington Post, it’s all about promoting “good fellowship.” So, though attendees were poking fun at each and at the opposing party, this time it was all in good fun. Obama used his moment on stage to crack a joke about the leader of the House Republicans, saying, “I want to acknowledge the leader of the House Republicans, as soon as I figure out who that is.”
Boehner and Clinton weren’t the only ones getting picked on though. Another presidential hopeful, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, was also in attendance and got a fair share of jokes made in his honor. “We had to make some concessions to get Gov. Scott Walker to appear,” said Gridiron Club President and columnist for the Chicago Tribune Clarence Page on Saturday evening. “His people asked us to avoid gotcha questions — meaning no questions that end with a question mark.”
But even though Obama was making a lot of the jokes, he didn’t leave himself out of the line of fire. In regards to Rudy Giuliani’s recent claim that the president didn’t “love America,” Obama retorted: “If I did not love America, I wouldn’t have moved here from Kenya.”
Even those who aren’t among Washington D.C.’s elite can certainly get a laugh from Saturday’s dinner, when politicians took a quick break from being serious.
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