Obama jabs at Romney at White House Correspondents' dinner

Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:47pm EDT
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By Lily Kuo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama poked fun at his likely presidential rival Mitt Romney and Republican opponents in Congress on Saturday night, including a dig at Romney's treatment of a pet dog, at the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner.

The black-tie dinner, informally billed as the "nerd prom," is the biggest social event of the year for Washington media and gives presidents a chance to show a lighter side.

"I'm not going to attack any of the Republican candidates. Take Mitt Romney; he and I actually have a lot in common," the president said, telling the crowd of Hollywood celebrities and Washington power players that both men trailed their wives in national opinion polls.

Obama, who faces re-election in November, is expected to be matched against Romney, a multimillionaire and former Massachusetts governor.

He joked that the luxurious ballroom in the Washington Hilton hotel where the dinner was held was "what Mitt Romney calls a fixer-upper," a dig at Romney's sometimes clumsy references to his wealth.

Obama said he had expected a tough campaign but that one video had gone too far. A fake political attack ad rolled with a news clip of Romney defending himself against criticism for strapping the family dog, Seamus, in a crate on the top of the car during a family trip in 1983.

The clip showed images of the Obama family dog Bo, apparently miserable at being held captive by "European style dog socialism." A deep voice intoned: "American dogs can't afford four more years of Obama. To them, that's 28 years."

Obama also took a shot at former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who has announced he would quit the Republican primary race. "Newt, there's still time man," he said to Gingrich, who was in the audience with his wife, Callista.   Continued...

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the White House Correspondents Association annual dinner in Washington April 28, 2012. REUTERS/Larry Downing