President Obama fired off a series of jokes to the 130th annual Gridiron dinner Saturday night about Scott Walker, Joe Biden and pot — and some not-so-joking digs at Senate Republicans.
It was Obama’s third appearance as president at the A-list D.C. event; President Grover Cleveland was the first to address the Gridiron Club after its founding in 1885, and every commander in chief since has attended the dinner.
Guests dined on an extensive menu at the Renaissance hotel including roasted duck salad, beef tenderloin and jumbo shrimp, and rubbed elbows with the capital’s power brokers including 11 members of Obama’s cabinet, eight ambassadors, lawmakers and military elite.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker spoke for the GOP at the dinner while Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe represented the Democrats. “We had to make some concessions to get Gov. Scott Walker to appear,” club president and Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page quipped at the beginning of the evening. “His people asked us to avoid gotcha questions — meaning no questions that end with a question mark.”
Other 2016 hopefuls at the dinner? Rick Perry and Ben Carson.
Club members performed skits and songs including one that goofed on the relationship between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
Some of Obama’s jokes, as reported by the White House pool:
“I’m not saying I’m any funnier. I’m saying weed is now legal in D.C.”
“Just a few years ago I could never imagine being in my 50s. And when it comes to my approval ratings, I still can’t.”
“Hillary has a server in her house! I didn’t even know you could have one of those. I am so far behind.”
“Joe rubs my shoulders, too. It’s not bad. It feels pretty good. I don’t let him give me a pedicure, but..”
“So, Gov. Walker, salaam alaikum.”
Walker “punted on the question of evolution, which I do think is a problem. I absolutely believe in the theory of evolution – when it comes to gay marriage.”
“If I did not love America, I wouldn’t have moved here from Kenya.”
“You don’t diminish your office by taking a selfie. You do it by sending a poorly written letter to Iran. Really. That wasn’t a joke.”
On Thursday, Obama appeared on Jimmy Kimmel’s show, joking that he doesn’t drive himself because “in Kenya, we drive on the other side of the street.”
Walker’s jokes from the dinner included “I believe that the president of the United States loves America and every American – except Rudy Giuliani” and “if my first term is anything like college, I won’t make it through four years.”
The Wisconsin governor also quipped that the staff exodus had begun from Obama’s administration, and pretty soon “the only one left reporting to Valerie Jarrett” will be Obama.