President Barack Obama took the dog jokes out for a walk at this year’s White House Correspondents Association dinner, and made sure to sic’ em on presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
“What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull?” Obama asked, recalling a 2008 campaign joke told by then-vice presidential nominee Sarah Pain. “A pit bull is delicious.” The joke was followed by a picture of Romney alongside Air Force One with a dog carrier strapped to the aircraft’s roof.
The jokes were likely intended to take the edge off the media’s recognition that Obama ate dog while a child in Indonesia, and then wrote about it in his 1995 autobiography without acknowledging how most Americans regard the practice as foreign and inhumane.
Obama’s aides have ridiculed Romney for several months because he once took his ill dog on a family vacation and placed it in a crate on top of the family station wagon for the ride. That tactic, however, backfired when The Daily Caller pointed out that in the book Obama had unapologetically revealed an experience eating dog meat.
“We all agreed that families are off limits. Dogs, however, are apparently fair game,” Obama said before showing a mock attack-ad which portrayed him as determined to impose “European dog socialism … [and] more government handouts” to dogs.
The video showed the Photoshopped picture of Romney alongside the presidential aircraft with the dog crate mounted on top. The mock ad will likely be released via the Internet and used to lampoon Romney and the GOP.
Obama commented on the joking attack ad, saying, “that’s pretty rough … but I can take it. … It’s a boy-eat-dog world out there.”
Minutes later, however, comedian Jimmy Kimmel undermined the president’s pitch by using the strangeness of the boy-eats-dog story to make jokes at Obama’s expense.
“The president’s two favorite dogs are Ribeye and seeing-eye,” Kimmel jabbed.
On several occasions Obama capitalized on his captive ballroom audience to push his campaign-trail portrayal of Romney as wealthy and unfamiliar with middle-class Americans.
The grand ballroom at the Washington Hilton hotel, he said, is “what Mitt Romney would call a little fixer-upper.”
“I have one [Harvard University degree]; he has two. What a snob,” Obama said.
After his own April 25 appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s late-night TV show, the president announced, “Governor Romney was so incensed, he asked his staff if he could get equal time on the Merv Griffin show.” That show ran from 1962 to 1986.
Kimmel also aimed some of his own jokes at Romney, and announced he supported Obama.
He also called Rush Limbaugh an “asshole,” and Rep. Allen West a “jackass.”
The audience applauded many of Obama’s and Kimmel’s political jokes.
It is not clear how many reporters were among those clapping at the president’s more partisan jokes. Many of the attendees were not journalists but guests, including supporters from Hollywood and other parts of the entertainment industry and other Democratic partisans.