|Lalit K Jha,
Washington, Apr 29 - Donning the role of comic-in- chief at a prestigious annual dinner, US President Barack Obama poked fun at himself, Secret Service and particularly Mitt Romney, including a dig at his potential Republican rival's treatment of a pet dog.
"I really do enjoy attending these dinners. In fact, I had a lot more material prepared, but I have to get the Secret Service home in time for their new curfew," Obama said at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, which was attended by the top political leaders, journalists and Hollywood celebrities.
Obama was referring to the steps being taken by the Secret Service and the strict code of conduct imposed on its agents after some of them were caught in a recent sex scandal in Columbia.
Appearing for the fourth consecutive time at the annual dinner, the President delivered his traditional comic remarks at the last night event.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, along with his wife Supriya, was among the possibly only Indian-Americans present at the dinner which was attended by nearly 3,000 guests from across the country.
Obama used the occasion to poke fun at Romney, his potential rival in the November presidential elections, and his own Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"Despite many obstacles, much has changed during my time in office. Four years ago, I was locked in a brutal primary battle with Hillary Clinton. Four years later, she won't stop drunk-texting me from Cartagena," he said.
On Romney, he said: "It's great to be here this evening in the vast, magnificent Hilton ballroom -- or what Mitt Romney would call a little fixer-upper."
Obama went on to explain what is common between him and Romney.
"Take Mitt Romney -- he and I actually have a lot in common. We both think of our wives as our better halves, and polls show, to an alarmingly insulting extent, the American people agree. We also both have degrees from Harvard; I have one, he has two. What a snob," he said amidst laughter and applause.
Of course, Obama said, "we've also had our differences.
Recently, his campaign criticised me for slow jamming the news with Jimmy Fallon. In fact, I understand Governor Romney was so incensed he asked his staff if he could get some equal time on The Merv Griffin Show."
"Still, I guess Governor Romney is feeling pretty good about things because he took a few hours off the other day to see The Hunger Games -- some of you have seen it. It's a movie about people who court wealthy sponsors and then brutally savage each other until only one contestant is left standing.
I'm sure this was a really good change of pace for him. I have not seen The Hunger Games; not enough class warfare for me," Obama said.
"Of course, I know everybody is predicting a nasty election, and thankfully, we've all agreed that families are off limits. Dogs, however, are apparently fair game. And while both campaigns have had some fun with this, the other day I saw a new ad from one of these outside groups that, frankly, I think crossed the line. I know Governor Romney says he has no control over what his super PACs do, but can we show the ad real quick?" he said, following which a video on this was shown.
This was a spoof Romney ad showing the former Governor at the door of Air Force One with a dog cage on top of the aircraft.
Obama indeed started his speech with a joke on Donald Trump.
"My fellow Americans, we gather during a historic anniversary. Last year at this time -- in fact, on this very weekend -- we finally delivered justice to one of the world's most notorious individuals," he said as the screen posted a picture of Donald Trump.
"Now, this year, we gather in the midst of a heated election season. And Axelrod tells me I should never miss a chance to reintroduce myself to the American people.
"So tonight, this is how I'd like to begin: My name is Barack Obama. My mother was born in Kansas. My father was born in Kenya. And I was born, of course, in Hawaii," he said amidst laughter and applause. PTI