Sunday, April 29, 2012

The night LiLo and Kim met Barack and Michelle: Wise-cracking President hosts star-studded White House Correspondents' Dinner

-Journalists, politicians, government officials, and celebrities gathered for the 98th annual White House Correspondents' Dinner in Washington last night
-Event was hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, host of ABC's late night show Jimmy Kimmel Live
-Lindsay Lohan and Kim Kardashian were among crowds of A-list celebrities who were invited to dine with Washington's elite, including Obama himself
-In his speech, President Obama lampooned the GOP, Secret Service, Mitt Romney, and even Hillary Clinton

By Beth Stebner

Comedian-in-chief: President Obama was in fine form Saturday night and delivered a comedy routine that left the audience in stitches. No one was safe from mockery, including the shamed Secret Service and likely GOP adversary Mitt Romney

Worlds collided in the nation's capital last night, as President Obama shared a meal with the likes of Kim Kardashian and Lindsay Lohan at the 98th annual White House Correspondents' Dinner.

The president enjoyed a genial evening with the members of the press, thanking them for their time and dedication.

Nothing was off limits during Washington’s night of levity, including the recent Secret Service scandal in Colombia, 'dog socialism', and the state of media today. And of course, he didn't shy away from the political arena.

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Dazzling: First lady Michelle Obama was beaming at the dinner in a modified version of Naeem Khan's paisley organza ball gown from the Fall/Winter 2011 collection, while host Jimmy Kimmel, left, looked a little more sombre

A night to remember: Lindsay Lohan, left, managed to make it to the dinner, and Kim Kardashian, right, covered up in forest-green velvet for her evening with the president

Job well done: President Obama high-fived Jimmy Kimmel, right, who hosted the night's events as Caren Bohan, centre, of Reuters, looks on delighted

Sharing a laugh: Host Jimmy Kimmel, left, sits alongside First Lady Michelle Obama, during the dinner

Candid chat: Mrs Obama leans in to hear what must be a snarky comment from Kimmel

Effortless: The first lady laughed alongside host Jimmy Kimmel, left, and accessorised her Naeem Khan gown with good hoop earrings and a soft pink lip gloss

The president appeared in high spirits as he began his comedic routine. ‘We gather during a historic anniversary,’ he said. ‘Last year at this time, in fact on this very weekend, we finally delivered justice to one of the world’s most notorious individuals.’

That man wasn’t Osama bin Laden - no, a picture of none other than Donald Trump flashed on the screen.

Jabs at his likely GOP rival Mitt Romney came soon after.

‘I’m not going to attack any of the Republican candidates - take Mitt Romney,’ the president deadpanned, adding that the former Massachusetts governor would call the luxurious Hilton ballroom 'a little fixer-upper.'

He continued: '[Romney] and I actually have a lot in common… We both have degrees from Harvard. I have one, he has two.’ After a pause, he added: ‘What a snob.’

Four years ago, Mr Obama recalled, he was locked in a tough primary fight with Hillary Rodham Clinton, now his secretary of state.

'Now she can't stop drunk texting me from Cartagena,' he said, referring to their recent trip to the Summit of the Americas in Colombia, where Clinton was photographed drinking a beer and dancing.

Kardashian klan: Kim Kardashian, left, and her mother Kris Jenner sit at their table during dinner; the President made several cracks at Kardashian

Night on the town: Lindsay Lohan was seen at her table talking animatedly to fellow guests

Worlds collide: Former Senator Rick Santorum spoke with Lindsay Lohan, bottom left, at the dinner

Getting political: George Clooney speaks with Chris Wallace of Fox News as they attend the White House Correspondents Association Dinner

Night out: Newt and Callista Gingrich arrive at the dinner waving, left, and Attorney General Eric Holder and his wife, Sharon Malone, seen right

Former offices: Former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, left, laughs in a hallway in the Hilton, while former Secretary of State Colin Powell, right, smiles for the camera

Boys club, girls club: Director Steven Spielberg has U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta enjoying a laugh, left, while U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) poses with actress Reese Witherspoon, right

Butt of a joke: Kimmel poked fun at New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, right, who was sitting next to actress Sofia Vergara

Animated: Actress Sofia Vergara flashed a large smile as she was talking to Kim Kardashian, left, and Kris Jenner, right

Next up was a video satirising Mr Romney’s highly politicised event of strapping his dog Seamus to the roof while on home from a family vacation.

In the faux-political video, the announcer hinted at what a horrible world it would be if 'socialist' first dog Bo Obama were allowed another four terms in office.

'America’s dogs can’t afford four more years of Obama - that’s 28 years for dogs.'

The video finished with the slogan: ‘I’m an American, and dog gone it, I ride on the outside. (Paid for by the Wolf Pack of America).'

Throughout the routine, Mrs Obama could be seen laughing at the dinner table. The first lady was wearing a modified version of Naeem Khan’s one-shouldered paisley organza ball gown from the Fall/Winter 2011 collection.

The version that went down the runway had a twisted strap over the left shoulder, but Mrs Obama seemed to prefer a dress that better displayed her décolletage.

She accessorised the look with detailed gold hoop earrings and a loosely-waved bob, as well as a large cocktail ring worn on her left hand.

The first lady also elected to wear a bright pink lipstick to match the colours of her gown.

Earlier, the president gave a knowing nod to several instances of 'hot microphone' instances, lampooning himself in a monologue, asking who the Kardashians are, and why exactly they're famous.

'What am I doing here,' he asked off stage. 'I'm opening for Jimmy Kimmel and telling knock-knock jokes to Kim Kardashian.'

The crack drew a thumbs up from former Pennsylvania Sen Rick Santorum, who dropped out of the presidential primary campaign earlier this month.

Santorum had called Obama a snob for encouraging young Americans to attend college.

But Mr Obama touched on serious themes as well, remembering The New York Times' Anthony Shadid and Marie Colvin of the Sunday Times of London who died while covering the uprising in Syria.

'Never forget that our country depends on you to help protect our freedom, our democracy and our way of life,' he said.

Then he returned to the lighter side: 'I have to get the Secret Service home in time for their new curfew.'

The president then passed the podium on to ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel, who he noted got his start on a program called The Man Show.

Glamour girls: Both Arianna Huffington, left, of the Huffington Post, and NBC's Ann Curry, right, opted for bright colours and sleeves

Famous friends: CNN's Wolf Blitzer and actress Eva Longoria, left, and CNN's Piers Morgan with actress Goldie Hawn, right

Blonde ambition: Sen John McCain's daughter Meghan McCain, left, and news anchor Diane Sawyer, right

Newsmakers: ABC News Global Affairs anchor Christiane Amanpour and her husband, James Rubin, left, and living legend Barbara Walters, right

‘In Washington, that’s what we call a congressional hearing on contraception,’ he said.

Kimmel began joking straight out of the gate, saying: ‘It’s an honour to be here. Mr President, remember when the country rallied around you in the hopes of a better tomorrow?

'That was hilarious. That was your best one yet. There’s a term for guys like President Obama. Probably not two terms, but there is.’

No one was safe from the wry jokes of the outspoken host of Jimmy Kimmel Live.

He poked fun at everyone from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (‘I think you’re misunderstanding New Jersey’s slogan. It’s not the Olive Garden State’) to Newt Gingrich (‘It’s great to see the Gingriches here, because that means the check cleared.')

He also picked up on the Secret Service prostitution scandal in Colombia, saying he told the Secret Service that for $800 he wouldn't joke about them, 'but they only offered 30.'

'If this had happened on President Clinton's watch, you can damn well bet those Secret Service agents would have been disciplined with a very serious high five,' Kimmel said.

Among those who attended Saturday night's dinner were former Secretary of State Colin Powell, the cast of the hit TV show 'Modern Family,' singer John Legend, actor George Clooney, Army Chief of Staff Gen Ray Odierno, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, director Steven Spielberg, and actress Zooey Deschanel.

Proceeds from the dinner go toward scholarships for aspiring journalists and awards for distinction in the profession.

The association was formed in 1914 as a liaison between the press and the president.

Running the gamut: The president displayed a range of emotions during the course of the night

Jovial: President Obama waves alongside Caren Bohan, right, of Reuters, President of the White House Correspondents Association, alongside Reuters Editor in Chief Steve Adler, left

Women in white: Claire Danes, left, Kate Upton, centre, and Ginnifer Goodwin, right, all opted for bright white looks and dramatic makeup on the red carpet

Glamour girls: Zooey Deschanel, left, Dakota Fanning, centre, and Charlize Theron, right, all opted for floor-length gowns with interesting detail

Every president since Calvin Coolidge has attended the dinner. Some of the proceeds from the dinner pay for journalism scholarships for college students.

Several journalists were also honored at the dinner, including:

-Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eileen Sullivan and Chris Hawley of The Associated Press, for winning the Edgar A. Poe Award for their stories about the New York City Police Department's widespread surveillance of Muslims after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. It's the fourth major prize for the series, which has also won the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting, the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting and a George Polk Award.

-ABC's Jake Tapper and Politico's Glenn Thrush, Carrie Budoff Brown, Manu Raju and John Bresnahan, for winning the Merriman Smith Award for excellence in presidential coverage under pressure. Tapper won in the broadcast category for breaking the news that rating agency Standard & Poor's was on the verge of downgrading the federal government's triple-A credit rating because of concerns over political gridlock in Washington. In the print category, Thrush, Budoff Brown, Raju and Bresnahan of Politico won for their report on the deal between Obama and congressional Republicans to raise the U.S. debt ceiling.

-Scott Wilson, of The Washington Post, for winning the Aldo Beckman award. Wilson was recognized for his 'deeply reported and nuanced stories, his evocative writing and his clear presentation of complex issues, particularly on the foreign policy front.'

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