x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Obama turns joker for press dinner

The United States president poked fun at himself as well as some of his political adversaries during the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner.

US president Barack Obama reacts to a joke told by comedian Conan O'Brien during the White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington.
US president Barack Obama reacts to a joke told by comedian Conan O'Brien during the White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington.

WASHINGTON // Barack Obama joked that the years were catching up to him and he was not "the strapping young Muslim socialist" he used to be.

The United States president poked fun at himself as well as some of his political adversaries during the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner on Saturday, which was attended by politicians, members of the media and Hollywood celebrities.

Entering to the rap track All I Do Is Win by DJ Khaled, Mr Obama joked about how re-election would allow him to unleash a radical agenda. But then he showed a picture of himself golfing on a mock magazine cover of Senior Leisure.

"I'm not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be," the president remarked, and then recounted his recent 2-for-22 basketball shooting performance at the White House Easter egg hunt.

But Mr Obama's most dramatic shift for the next four years appeared to be aesthetic. He presented a montage of shots featuring him with a hairstyle similar to those sometimes sported by his wife.

"So we borrowed one of Michelle's tricks," Mr Obama said. "I thought this looked pretty good, but no bounce."

Mr Obama closed by noting the nation's recent tragedies in Massachusetts and Texas, praising Americans of all stripes, from first responders to journalists, for serving the public good.

Despite coming at a sombre time, nearly two weeks after the deadly Boston Marathon bombing and 10 days after a devastating fertiliser plant explosion in Texas, the president and political allies and rivals alike took the opportunity to enjoy some humour.

A late-night talk-show host, Conan O'Brien, was the headliner for the event.