In the first debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, both candidates opened with jokes. The jokes weren’t particularly good, but at least they made the effort. The second debate on Tuesday was all business. There were no light moments and plenty of tense moments.
Last night, both President Obama and Governor Romney spoke at the Alfred E. Smith Dinner in New York. It’s a charity event where candidates for President of the United States traditionally roast each other in election years. It’s the kind of dinner where participants want to get their business humor just right.
It was a formal dinner at the Waldorf with men in tuxes and women in gowns. After the way things went at the debate earlier this week, I expected that things might get a bit testy. That didn’t happen. The jokes were kinded and gentler than what you would hear at a celebrity roast.
Alfred E. Smith, IV, did the introductions. There were jabs at Romney for his wealth and jabs at Obama for the economy. It was pretty standard stuff and he was fairly evenhanded.
Romney was introduced first. He mentioned that being on the campaign trail requires frequent wardrobe changes. “It’s nice to finally relax and wear what Ann and I wear around the house,” he said.
Here are a few more of his jokes:
“I was hoping the President would bring Joe Biden along because he’ll laugh at anything.”
“Usually when I get invited to an event like this, it’s to be the designated driver.”
“As President Obama surveys the Waldorf tonight, you have to wonder what he’s thinking. ‘So little time and so much to redistribute.’”
He said he had an inkling of what the headlines about the event would be. “Obama embraced by Catholics. Romney dines with rich people.”
He ended with a compliment for President Obama and his family. Then President Obama came to the podium. His jokes were as good as Romney’s.
“Please take your seats. Otherwise Clint Eastwood will yell at them.”
“We have an important election coming up in 3 weeks, which begs the question, ‘What are we doing here?’”
“Some of you may have noticed, I had a lot more energy in our second debate. I felt really well rested after the nice long nap I had in the first debate.”
“Worse things can happen on your anniversary than forgetting to buy a gift.”
“We both have odd names. Mitt is actually his middle name. I wish I could use my middle name.”
President Obama ended with a nice compliment for Governor Romney.
Both Romney and Obama had excellent jokes and delivered them like pros. They both had a nice mix of self-deprecating material and relatively painless zingers toward each other. They both seemed classy.
Jokes of the Week
A young man from Bangladesh attempted to detonate a thousand pounds of material that was not explosive in New York yesterday. His partner in crime was an undercover federal agent. Evidently, terrorism is not the career path of choice for the best and brightest in Bangladesh. DM
A White House spokesman has said that it’s too early to say whether the incident was an attempted act of terror or an attempt to make a bump in the road. DM
They say $100 million worth of priceless art was stolen from a museum in Holland. Though if it’s $100 million worth of priceless art, it is not really priceless, is it? Craig Ferguson
After Paul Ryan stopped by for a photo op at a soup kitchen, the head of the charity said Ryan did nothing. In other words, that man is ready to be vice president. Conan
It was a big weekend for Felix Baumgartner, the Austrian daredevil who broke the world record for sky diving. He jumped off a balloon 24 miles high. He fell to earth so fast he broke the sound barrier. He fell faster than President Obama’s poll numbers after the debate. Craig Ferguson