President Obama delivered his eighth and final White House Correspondents Dinner speech at the Washington Hilton last night, sealing his legacy as, among other things, perhaps the finest presidential comic mind of the modern era (and maybe ever).
Obama’s speech, in the WHCD tradition, skewered the news media, took aim at his potential successors, and reflected upon his time in office.
“Eight years ago I said it was time to change the tone of our politics,” he said. “In hindsight, I clearly should have been more specific.”
Bernie Sanders was in the audience, and wasn’t spared:
“We’ve got the bright new face of the Democratic party here tonight, Mr. Bernie Sanders,” said The President. “Bernie, you look like a million bucks. Or to put it in terms you’ll understand, 37,000 donations of $27 each.”
“I am hurt, though, Bernie, that you have been distancing yourself a little from me. I mean, that’s just not something you do to your comrade.”
Obama noted that Bernie’s slogan “Feel the Bern” had caught on, but not Hillary’s:
White House Correspondents Dinner | Trudge Up The Hill! pic.twitter.com/UB4pLk5QCE
— Ed Battle (@edbattle) May 1, 2016
“Hillary trying to appeal to young voters is a little bit like your relative who just signed up for Facebook. ‘Dear America, did you get my poke? Is it appearing on your wall? I’m not sure I’m using this right. Love, Aunt Hillary.’”
His easiest targets, of course, were the current crop of Republican presidential contenders, and RNC Chair Reince Priebus, who was attending. “Congratulations on all your success. The Republican party, the nomination process – it’s all going great.”
“The end of the republic has never looked better,” he added.
Obama remarked on Ted Cruz’s well-publicized sports gaffe earlier in the week:
“He went to Indiana — Hoosier Country — stood on a basketball court and called the hoop a basketball ring. What else is in his lexicon? Baseball sticks? Football hats? … But sure, I’m the foreign one.”
He dumped on Trump, whose sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr. were attending:
“They say Donald lacks the foreign policy experience to be president. But in fairness he has spent years meeting with leaders from around the world: Miss Sweden, Miss Argentina, Miss Azerbaijan…”
And then added:
“Guantanamo Bay…There’s one area where Donald’s experience could be invaluable, because Trump knows a thing or two about running waterfront properties into the ground.”
For John Kasich, he had a visual lined up, a photo of the Ohio governor inelegantly shoving food into his mouth. Said Obama as the photo ran: “Meanwhile, some candidates aren’t polling high enough to qualify for their own joke tonight.”
After much more and the requisite stabs at media personalities, thanks to Joe Biden, and a fawning shout-out to Helen Mirren, Obama said goodbye, with poignant mic drop: “With that I just have two more words to say: Obama Out.”