President Barack Obama, politicians of all stripes, media personalities and celebrities gathered at the Washington Hilton Saturday night for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Actor and comedian Joel McHale hosted the event, which historically features a night of light roasting and humor directed at the news media and Washington DC’s political elite.
First Lady Michelle Obama and American Urban Radio networks host April Ryan handed out student scholarships to budding journalists.
During a video presentation, Vice President Joe Biden and fictitious Vice President Selena Meyer (portrayed by Julia Louis-Dreyfuss on HBO’s “Veep’’) snuck into the White House and later got tattoos during a video introduction of President Barack Obama.
Obama took the stage well after 10 p.m.
“I usually start these dinners with a few self-deprecating jokes, but after my stellar 2013, what could I talk about,’’ said Obama. “I admit it, last year was rough. Sheesh. At one point things go so bad, the 47 percent called Mitt Romney to apologize.’’
Taking aim at CNN, Obama said he was a little jet-lagged from his trip to Malaysia.
“The lengths we have to go to to get coverage these days,’’ he said.
Obama also congratulated Meb Keflezighi, the first American man to win the Boston Marathon since 1983.
“Which is only fair and inspiring because a Kenyan has been president for the last six,’’ he said.
Republicans were in Obama’s sights, too. He mentioned a “heartbreaking’’ letter he received from a Virginia man stuck in the same job for years.
“I really wish [Majority Leader] Eric Cantor would stop writing me,’’ said Obama.
The president said Republicans have given Speaker John Boehner as hard a time as they’ve given him.
“That means orange really is the new black,’’ he said, referencing the hit Netflix program.
After Obama finished his speech, McHale took the stage and praised the president. Sort of.
“I’m a big fan of President Obama. I think he’s one of the best presidents in history. Definitely in the top 50,’’ he said.
McHale to quick and rapid fire at the news media.
“This is the 100th year of the White House Correspondents’ Association. One hundred years ago, CNN was searching for the Wright Brothers plane,’’ he said.
McHale took aim at Hilary Clinton.
“As our first female president, we could pay her 30 percent less,’’ said McHale.
Republicans were also on McHale’s hit list, saying the GOP’s leading presidential hopefuls are “Jeb Bush, Rand Paul and a sack of flour with Ronald Reagan’s face drawn on it.’’
“People are asking, Will Donald Trump run again?’ And the answer is ‘Does that thing on his head crap in the woods?’’’ he said.
McHale referenced several hot button issues, including the NSA’s wiretapping scandal.
“Finally, I can put a face to the mysterious voice clearing its throat on the other end of the phone,’’ McHale said of finally meeting Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
The event was something of a social media moment, too, with tweets and pics posted from viewers and folks inside the room.
Funny how each side hates when the comedian roasts politicos on their side. #WHCD— Chris Moreno (@MorenoDadKC) May 4, 2014
Dried my hands in the bathroom next to Kid President and The Most Interesting Man in the World. This is a weird night. #nerdprom— Andrew Pergam (@pergam) May 4, 2014