Barbed humor on the menu at annual Gridiron dinner - WFLA News Channel 8

Barbed humor on the menu at annual Gridiron dinner

Posted: Updated:
© President Barack Obama walks with Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, right, as they leave the Gridiron Dinner through a loading area at a hotel in Washington, Saturday, March 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) © President Barack Obama walks with Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, right, as they leave the Gridiron Dinner through a loading area at a hotel in Washington, Saturday, March 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
WASHINGTON, DC (WFLA) -

President Barack Obama had a ready excuse for anyone who didn't think he was funny enough at Saturday night's Gridiron dinner: "My joke writers have been placed on furlough."

Always a target for humorous barbs, the president tossed out a few of his own during the Gridiron Club and Foundation dinner, an annual event that features political leaders, journalists and media executives poking fun at each other.

The so-called sequester that struck the federal budget this month drew another observation from Obama: "Of course, there's one thing in Washington that didn't get cut - the length of this dinner. Yet more proof that the sequester makes no sense."

The ambitions of 70-year-old Vice President Joe Biden? "Just the other day, I had to take Joe aside and say, 'Joe, you are way too young to be the pope. You can't do it. You got to mature a little bit.'"

During a pause in his remarks, Obama took a long, slow sip of water and then said, "That, Marco Rubio, is how you take a sip of water."

Obama also mocked criticism from some quarters that he takes time off from his job. "We face major challenges. March in particular is going to be full of tough decisions. But I want to assure you, I have my top advisers working around the clock. After all, my March Madness bracket isn't going to fill itself out. And don't worry - there is an entire team in the Situation Room as we speak, planning my next golf outing, right now at this moment."

The dinner was the organization's 128th since its founding in 1885. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar represented the Democrats while Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal cracked wise for the Republicans.

Klobuchar joked that Obama had aged in office. "His Secret Service name used to be 'Renegade,'" she said. "Now it's '50 Shades of Gray.'"

Jindal took a poke at Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, telling the audience that Romney had warned him that "47 percent of you can't take a joke." Referring to his own prospects for a presidential run, Jindal asked, "What chance does a skinny guy with a dark complexion have of being elected president?"

Political disputes and feuds between politicians and the news media provided plenty of fodder for jokes and Gridiron parodies. There was Obama's sometimes frosty relationship with the news media, the internal struggles roiling the Republican Party, and journalist Bob Woodward's dustup with White House economic adviser Gene Sperling. He advised Woodward in an email that the veteran Watergate reporter would regret his reporting about the forced spending cuts called a sequester.

In prepared remarks to welcome the 650 people attending the dinner, Gridiron President Charles J. Lewis of Hearst Newspapers noted that the organization had promised to keep the evening short, "especially because Gene Sperling said that a late night is something we'd all regret."

With a nod to print reporters' complaints about dealing with the Obama administration, Lewis said he thought he had overhead Obama remark on the way to the dinner: "So many newspaper reporters. So many interviews to turn down."

Musical skits are a tradition at the Gridiron dinner, and club officials released its musical program ahead of the event. Using the Beatles song "When I'm 64," one skit featured a look at Hillary Rodham Clinton's future with the lyrics:

Got a bit older, Growing my hair, Gained a pound or two

Going home to vegetate in Chappaqua, I just want to be a grandma

It was more than a case of Benghazi flu, Still I'll be just fine.

Will you select me, will you elect me, When I'm 69

Noting the close relationship between the GOP and the National Rifle Association, Gridiron members sang a tune called "My Gun," a takeoff on the song "My Girl." The lyrics included:

If you hate the NRA/Tell my Walther PPK

You're flirting with disaster/With my Bushmaster

And when pigs fly away/You can take me away

From my gun

In a jab at Obama, the Gridiron players offered a version of "Pinball Wizard" that put to music complaints about some journalists' lack of access to the president:

Who knew when his magic/First had us all transfixed

That this politician/Hated politics?

Loves his teleprompter, loves a White House ball

But mighty Obama/Don't schmooze with us at all.

The Gridiron Club and Foundation contributes to college scholarships and journalistic organizations. It limits its active members to 65 journalists based in Washington.

Except for Grover Cleveland, every president since the Gridiron was founded has addressed it. The club is the oldest and most exclusive for Washington journalists. Its motto is "singe but never burn."

No TV cameras were allowed.

  • NewsMore>>

  • Girl, 9, hit by plane on Venice beach dies from injuries

    Girl, 9, hit by plane on Venice beach dies from injuries

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 4:45 PM EDT2014-07-29 20:45:10 GMT
    Ommy Irizarry with daughter Oceana - Courtesy InstagramOmmy Irizarry with daughter Oceana - Courtesy Instagram
    9-year-old Oceana Irizzary, who was critically injured in the plane crash off Caspersen Beach in Venice on Sunday afternoon, has died.
    9-year-old Oceana Irizzary, who was critically injured in the plane crash off Caspersen Beach in Venice on Sunday afternoon, has died.
  • Debate over debates in gubernatorial race

    Debate over debates in gubernatorial race

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 4:43 PM EDT2014-07-29 20:43:38 GMT
    File photoFile photo
    Gov. Rick Scott and Democrat Charlie Crist are both proposing general election debates in the gubernatorial race this fall. Scott’s campaign on Tuesday said the governor would participate in three. Crist countered, saying he wanted more debates and proposing a slate of seven
    Gov. Rick Scott and Democrat Charlie Crist are both proposing general election debates in the gubernatorial race this fall. Scott’s campaign on Tuesday said the governor would participate in three. Crist countered, saying he wanted more debates and proposing a slate of seven
  • Venice pilot releases statement on what happened during deadly crash on beach

    Venice pilot releases statement on what happened during deadly crash on beach

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 4:01 PM EDT2014-07-29 20:01:38 GMT
    A statement from Karl Kokomoor is read by the pastor as his wife (far left) listens.A statement from Karl Kokomoor is read by the pastor as his wife (far left) listens.
    The pilot of the plane that crashed on Caspersen beach on July 27th killing a father and his 9 yr old daughter released a statement through the pastor of his church late Tuesday. As the pastor read the statementfrom Karl Kokomoor, the pilot's wife listened as details of what happened during thedeadly plane crash were revealed in a press conference at the church.
    The pilot of the plane that crashed on Caspersen beach on July 27th killing a father and his 9 yr old daughter released a statement through the pastor of his church late Tuesday. As the pastor read the statementfrom Karl Kokomoor, the pilot's wife listened as details of what happened during thedeadly plane crash were revealed in a press conference at the church.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.