The annual White House Correspondets’ Dinner is a highly expected tradition which promises a black-tie evening of humor and celebrity gazing.
Today the event again attracted journalists, government officials, politicians and media personalities as the association raised money for college scholarships. The featured entertainer was comic actor Joel McHale.
President Obama couldn’t resist temptation to speak of his heathcare reform, saying: ‘‘We rolled out healthcare.gov. That could have gone better. In 2008 my slogan was ‘Yes we can.’ In 2013 my slogan was ‘Control-alt-delete.’’’
One the plus side, the president added, ‘‘they did turn the launch of healthcare.gov into one of the year’s biggest movies.’’ On a screen flashed the poster for the cartoon ‘‘Frozen.’’
When a video Obama introduced failed to play properly, he asked, ‘‘Does anybody know how to fix this?’’ Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stepped up immediately and said: ‘‘I got this. I see it all the time.’’ In the wake of the problems with the website, Sebelius claimed she is stepping down.
Like usually, President Obama didn’t waste time turning his barbed jokes toward the representatives of news media.
‘‘MSNBC is here,’’ he said. ‘‘They’re a little overwhelmed. They’ve never seen an audience this big before.’’
Noting that he had traveled to Asia recently, Obama said: ‘‘The lengths we have to go to to get CNN coverage these days. I think they’re still searching for their table.’’
The president saved his sharpest jabs for another cable news network. ‘‘The Koch brothers bought a table here tonight, but as usual they used a shadowy right-wing organization as a front. Hello, Fox News!’’
He added: ‘‘Let’s face it, Fox. You’ll miss me when I’m gone. It will be harder to convince the American people that Hillary was born in Kenya.’’
Republicans also got under fire. ‘‘Washington seems more dysfunctional than ever,’’ Obama said. ‘‘Gridlock has gotten so bad in this town you have to wonder: What’d we do to piss off Chris Christie so bad?’’
Some journalists were honored for their coverage of the presidency and national issues.
Thus, Glenn Thrush of Politico and Brianna Keilar of CNN took home the Aldo Beckman Award, which recognizes excellence in the coverage of the presidency.
Peter Baker of The New York Times and Peter Maer of CBS News were awarded with the Merriman Smith Award for deadline coverage.
Megan Twohey of Reuters and a partnership between The Center for Public Integrity’s Chris Hamby and ABC News’ Matthew Mosk and Brian Ross won the Edgar A. Poe Award for coverage of issues of national significance.
And, finally, George E. Condon Jr. of National Journal received the first President’s Award for exceptional service to the organization.
Meanwhile, reporters admired the look of the First Lady, “stunned in a gold Marchesa off-the-shoulder gown with a embroidered bodice and a flowy skirt.”
“To complete the look, MObama went with a pair of statement earrings, kitten heels and what can only be described as the best blow-out ever. We might be getting ahead of ourselves here, but this could be Michelle’s best look of all time,” The Huffington Post delivered the verdict.