Alfred E. Smith Dinner Has Obama, Romney Sparring Comedically: Here Are The Evening’s Best Barbs
The Alfred E. Smith dinner in New York last night was a stark contrast to the last Obama-Romney debate, with Barack and Mitt trading more casual barbs with a smile as both appeared at the fundraiser to help Catholic charities.
Both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama seemed to be in good spirits last night as they spoke, joking about the media, the debates, the election cycle and politics in general for an audience in Manhattan at the storied Waldorf-Astoria hotel. And both candidates were self-effacing as well as critical of their opponent, displaying great sportsmanship across the board in roasting themselves as well as the other guy.
Romney followed Obama, quipping of his fundraiser finery that it was “nice to finally relax and wear what Ann and I wear around the house.” The GOP contender also joked that he and Obama were “chatting pleasantly this evening as though Tuesday night never happened.”
Romney also poked fun at his abstention from alcohol, saying that when asked how he prepares for debates, he says he starts by not having a drink for 65 years. Then Mitt joked:
“Usually when I get invited to gatherings like this, it’s just to be the designated driver.”
Of course, Romney took aim at Obama as well, quipping:
“I was actually hoping the president would bring Joe Biden along this evening, ‘cause he’ll laugh at anything.”
Mitt also said:
“As President Obama surveys the Waldorf banquet room, with everyone in white tie and finery, you have to wonder what he’s thinking: so little time, so much to redistribute.”
And of the most current election news cycle and Obama’s campaign, Mitt added:
“He knows how to seize a moment, this president. And already he has a compelling new campaign slogan: you’re better off now than you were four weeks ago.”
Obama spoke first, also making some jokes at his own expense before ripping his opponent. The president’s sleepy first debate showing was a topic he mocked himself on, telling attendees he ”learned that there are worse things that can happen to you on your anniversary than forgetting to get a gift … so, take note, gentlemen.”
The Commander-in-Chief added of his better-rated second debate performance:
“I felt really well rested after the nice long nap I had in the first debate.”
As he took the stage, Obama also got a crack in at the RNC, saying that diners should sit down in empty chairs before Clint Eastwood began yelling at them. (The chairs, of course.) Obama also jibed about seeing Yankee Stadium, also known as the House That Ruth Built, before joking that “he didn’t really build that.”
Noting that Mitt is actually Romney’s middle name, the President — who is famously middle-named “Hussein,” quipped:
“I wish I could use my middle name.”
And speculating on Romney’s activities while campaigning in New York, Obama recalled a successful debate barb when he joked:
“Early today, I went shopping at some stores in midtown. I understand Gov. Romney went shopping for some stores in midtown.”
The President also said:
“Of course, the economy is on everybody’s minds. The unemployment rate is at its lowest level since I took office. I don’t have a joke here. I just thought it’d be useful to remind everybody that the unemployment rate is at the lowest it’s been since I took office.”
Below is a clip of Obama and Romney at the Al Smith dinner last night — do you think the candidates were funny?