U.S. President Barack Obama poked fun at his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Republicans and media elites, and even mocked himself for his administration’s disastrous health care policy rollout at the annual White House Correspondents Association dinner on Sunday.
Mr. Obama, donning the role of comedian-in-chief, poked fun at himself over his signature policy initiative and refereed to the technical glitch experienced by healthcare.gov this year. “In 2008 my slogan was, ‘Yes we can.’ In 2013, it was control+alt+delete.”
Mr. Obama was at his oratorical best as he enthralled over 2,500 audiences, which included celebrities, politicians and American journalists at the WHCA’s 100th anniversary.
First Lady Michelle Obama accompanied him to the annual tradition that has the President mocking others and himself.
The 52-year-old U.S. President then turned to Fox news and said the TV channel would have a tough time in opposing Hillary Clinton, if she runs for 2016 presidential.
“Let’s face it, Fox. You will miss me when I am gone. It will be harder to convince the American people that Hillary was born in Kenya.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin too was at the receiving end of Mr. Obama’s wit, notwithstanding the Ukraine crisis. He cracked jokes about Mr. Putin being headed for a Nobel Peace Prize. “To be fair, they give those to just about anybody these days,” said Mr. Obama, a laureate himself.
He also turned the humour on Republican party saying the opposition brought in experts to learn how to talk to women.
“Both sides are doing whatever it takes to win - a ruthless game. Republicans, this is a true story. Republicans actually brought in a group of consultants to teach their candidates how to speak to women. This is true. And I don’t know if it will work with women, but I understand that America’s teenage boys are signing up to run for the Senate in droves.”
The President, who has completed nearly half of his second innings at the White House, also joked about opposition being busy attempting to repeal “Obamacare”.
“Of course, there is one thing that keeps Republicans busy. They have tried more than 50 times to repeal Obamacare.
Despite that, 8 million people signed up for health care in the first open enrollment which does lead one to ask, how well does Obamacare have to work before you don’t want to repeal it?” he said.
Mr. Obama recalled his days in office and the difficulties he faced last year and also mentioned the presidential election in 2016.
“It is strange to think that I have just two-and-a-half years left in this office. Everywhere I look, there are reminders that I only hold this job temporarily. But it is a long time between now and 2016, and anything can happen. You may have heard the other day Hillary had to dodge a flying shoe at a press conference,” Mr. Obama said as the slide showed Biden holding a shoe. “I love that picture.”
The dinner at the Washington Hilton Hotel has often come at key moments in the U.S. President’s presidency. In 2011, it came a day before Osama bin Laden was killed. Last year, the deadly Boston Marathon happened nearly two weeks before the dinner. This year, the Ukraine crises eclipses the WHCA event.