Nearing the twilight of his presidency, Barack Obama joked on familiar topics at his appearance Saturday night at the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner: his alleged foreign birth, his graying hair, his wife’s healthy-eating campaign.
But with the campaign to replace him well under way, President Obama also found plenty of new material in the vast Republican field – and in some familiar old GOP faces. Democratic presidential candidates also came under friendly fire. Cecily Strong of “Saturday Night Live,” the featured comedian of this year’s event, had fun mocking everybody.
And in the edgiest bit of the night, Obama brought out “Luther the Anger Translator” – a kind of “shadow Obama” who voiced the inner outrage of the famously cool president. More on that in a moment.
First, here are some of the best lines from this year’s dinner, known affectionately as the “nerd prom.” From Obama:
• “Mike Huckabee recently said people shouldn’t join our military until a true conservative is elected president. Think about that. It was so outrageous, 47 Ayatollahs wrote us a letter trying to explain to Huckabee how our system works.”
• “Ted Cruz said that denying the existence of climate change made him like Galileo. Now that’s not really an apt comparison. Galileo believed the Earth revolves around the sun. Ted Cruz believes the Earth revolves around Ted Cruz.”
• On the Koch brothers: “It’s exciting. Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker. Who will finally get that red rose? The winner gets a billion-dollar war chest. The runner up gets to be the bachelor on the next season of ‘The Bachelor.’
“I mean, seriously, a billion dollars. From just two guys. Is it just me, or does that feel a little excessive? I mean, it’s almost insulting to the candidates. The Koch brothers think they need to spend a billion dollars to get folks to like one of these people.”
• “A few weeks ago, Dick Cheney says he thinks I’m the worst president of his lifetime. Which is interesting, because I think Dick Cheney is the worst president of my lifetime.”
• On Hillary Rodham Clinton: "For many Americans, this is still a time of deep uncertainty. I have one friend, just weeks ago, she was making millions of dollars a year, and she's now living out of a van in Iowa."
• On Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) of Vermont: “Apparently some folks really want to see a pot-smoking socialist in the White House. We could get a third Obama term after all.”
• “ABC is here with some of the stars from their big new comedy, ‘Black-ish.’ It’s a great show, but I have to give ABC fair warning – being ‘Black-ish’ only makes you popular for so long. Trust me.”
Now, the best one-liners from Ms. Strong:
• Addressing Obama: “Your hair is so white, now it can talk back to the police.”
• “[Fox News] is all hot blond ladies and old dudes. Every show looks like a party scene from ‘Weekend at Bernie’s.’”
• “What can I say about Brian Williams…. Nothing, because I work for NBC.”
• On Mrs. Clinton: “I would never blindly endorse a candidate I don’t play on SNL.”
As for “Luther the Anger Translator,” we’re not sure we can do justice to his performance, so we suggest you watch the video. “Luther” was played by Keegan-Michael Key, of Key & Peele fame.
And here’s a link to the transcript of Obama’s remarks.