President Barack Obama made his debut at Friday night's Radio and Television Correspondents' Association dinner in more ways than one.
Flying around in a Superman-like suit to a heavy metal interpretation of the historic song, When Johnny Comes Marching Home, Obama "gave good speeches," stopped the pirates in their tracks and kung fu chopped the Taliban. Not actually in person, but in He's Barack Obama, another soon-to-be viral video from the infamous online political satirists at JibJab that made its debut at the dinner as well.
The President had a couple of live zingers for the crowd too. Talking about the goverment's rescue of auto companies, Obama said he planned to jump-start the industry by taking a cue from his close friend, Oprah. "If each of you will look under your seat you will find that you get a car company," he said, adding, "And Fox, you get AIG!"
Comparing the 65th annual black-tie dinner at the Washington Convention Center to the star-studded White House Correspondents Dinner, Obama said last night's event was better. "Why hang out with celebrities when I can spend time with people who make me one?" he asked.
Referring to an interview for CNBC at the White House on Tuesday, when a fly intruded on Obama's conversation with correspondent John Harwood and the President smacked the insect dead in one try, Obama said he knows a little something about catching flies — knowledge he says he's using to help win over groups in solving the nation's health care crisis.
"I'm pleased that in our quest to reform the health care system, I have gained the support of the American Medical Association," Obama said. "It proves true the old expression that it's easier to catch flies with honey. And if honey doesn't work, feel free to use an open palm and a swift, downward wrist motion."
Obama told the crowd he's been working to get the financial institutions and auto companies back up and running smoothly. "But you probably wouldn't understand the concept of troubled industries, working as you do in radio and television," he said. That particular joke didn't go over as well with the audience, which has seen its share of upheaval recently.
The president also poked fun at his acerbic chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, who was seen in photos riding a camel during a trip to Egypt, the AP reported. The President said, "I admit, I was a little nervous about the whole situation. I said at the time, 'This is a wild animal known to bite, kick and spit. And who knows what the camel could do?'"
The talk turned serious toward the end, though. Referring to the disputed presidential election in Iran, Obama commended broadcasters for bringing truth to the people and the world.
In addition to JibJab's video, Grammy Award-winning female a cappella ensemble, Sweet Honey in the Rock, the Onion News Network, a parody of a 24-hour TV news network, and John Hodgman, a contributor from fellow news spoofer, "The Daily Show," provided the rest of the entertainment for the evening.