President Barack Obama’s final White House Correspondents’ Dinner ends with a mic drop
WASHINGTON (KUSI) — The final White House Correspondents’ Dinner while President Barack Obama holds office was held Saturday, providing for a final night of laughs and riffs from Mr. President. An array of celebrities, sports figures, reporters, business leaders, administration officials and lawmakers attended what is always a highly-anticipated event in Washington.
President Obama was introduced with the one and only toast of the night, a longstanding tradition, and the event took off.
"It is an honor to be here at my last, and perhaps THE last, White House Correspondents’ dinner. You all look great; the end of the republic has never looked better," President Obama opened. "I do apologize. I know I was a little late tonight. I was running on CPT, which stands for jokes that white people should not make."
Obama spoke for roughly 40 minutes, pivoting between different subjects as he roasted his colleagues and himself in the process.
"Eight years ago I was a young man full of idealism and vigor, and look at me now. I am gray and grizzled, just counting down the days till my death panel."
"Somebody recently said to me, ‘Mr. President you are so yesterday. Justin Trudeau has completely replaced you. He’s so handsome, he’s so charming, he’s the future.’ And I said , ‘Justin just give it a rest.’ I resented that."
"Meanwhile Michelle has not aged a day. The only way you can date her in photos is by looking at me."
The cameras cut to several photos of the couple together, ending with an edited photo of Obama’s upper half replaced by a skeleton next to his wife to a roar of laughter.
"Even some foreign leaders have been looking ahead anticipating my departure," Obama said while touching on how he’s being tuned out while his final days at the White House tick away. "Last week Prince George showed up to our meeting in his bath robe. That was a slap in the face. A clear breach of protocol."
"Yet somehow despite all this, despite the churn, in my final year my approval ratings keep going up. The last time I was this high I was trying to decide on my major. And here’s the thing, I haven’t really done anything differently, so it’s odd. Even my age can’t explain the rising poll numbers."
Queue another cut-away graphic, this time to a side-by-side photo of Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. President Obama was quick to get in jabs at his fellow Democrats as well.
"What an election season. For example, we’ve got the bright new face of the Democratic party here tonight, Mr. Bernie Sanders. Bernie you look like a million bucks, or to put it in terms you’ll understand: you look like 37,000 donations of 27 dollars each."
Hillary was the next target for him to get a few barbs in on, and someone he’s worked closely with while in office.
"Look, I’ve said how much I admire Hillary’s toughness, her smarts, her policy chops, her experience. You’ve gotta admit it though. Hillary trying to appeal to young voters is kind of like your relative who just signed up to Facebook."
The pivot to the Republican candidates was inevitable as Obama hit the final stretch of his speech.
"Meanwhile on the Republican side things are a little more, how should we say this, a little more loose. Just look at the confusion over the invitations to tonight’s dinner. Guests were asked to check whether they wanted steak or fish, but instead a whole bunch of you wrote in Paul Ryan. That’s not an option!"
Ted Cruz was next in the long line of Obama’s commentary.
"Then there’s Ted Cruz. Ted had a tough week. He went to Indiana — Hoosier country — stood on a basketball court and called the hoop a basketball ring. What else is in his lexicon? Baseball sticks? Football hats? But sure, I’m the foreign one."
The President began to wrap things up, feigning as if he would skip over Donald Trump but quickly redirecting the conversation back to him. "I’m just kidding. You know I’m gonna’ talk about Trump. Come on."
"I am a little hurt that he’s not here tonight. We had so much fun the last time and it is surprising. You’ve got a room full of reporters, celebrities, cameras and he says no. Is this dinner too tacky for The Donald? What could he possibly be doing instead? Is he at home eating a trump steak, tweeting out insults? What’s he doing?"
President Obama wrapped up the traditional snarky commentary from the evening and closed it out.
"l want to close my final White House Correspondents’ Dinner by saying thank you. I’m very proud of what you’ve done. It has been an honor and a privilege to work side-by-side with you to strengthen our democracy. And with that I just have two more words to say: Obama out."
With that came his final mic drop.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 1, 2016
The event wasn’t all fun and games, though. 18 scholarships were handed out by the White House Correspondents’ Association in partnership with Howard University, Northwestern University, Columbia University, University of Missouri, University of California at Berkeley, University of Maryland, and the George Washington University.
Numerous journalism awards were also given out, recognizing exceptional coverage for distinguished print and broadcast journalism. Carol Lee of the Wall Street Journal, Matt Viser of the Boston Globe, Terrence McCoy of The Washington Post, and Neela Banerjee, John Cushman Jr., David Hasemyer and Lisa Song of InsideClimate News received awards.
The night continued with more speakers, laughs and jokes as the room took in a milestone mark in the final days of President Obama’s term.