President Barack Obama used his White House Correspondents’ Association dinner speech on Saturday evening to take jabs at several dustups plaguing his own administration, but left one scandal — Operation Fast and Furious — out of his bag of jokes.
Obama poked fun at presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and the General Services Administration all in one swipe. “Anyway, it’s great to be here this evening in the vast, magnificent Hilton ballroom — or what Mitt Romney would call a little fixer-upper,” he said to laughter and applause. “I mean, look at this party. We’ve got men in tuxes, women in gowns, fine wine, first-class entertainment. I was just relieved to learn this was not a GSA conference.”
The agency’s much-discussed lavish conference in Las Vegas, he said, was “unbelievable. Not even the mind reader knew what they were thinking.”
Obama launched barbs, too, at the Secret Service prostitution scandal.
“I had a lot more material prepared, but I have to get the Secret Service home in time for their new curfew,” he joked.
But although he made room in his set for more than one joke about reports, which first surfaced April 17 at The Daily Caller, that he ate dog meat while growing up in Indonesia, the president made no attempt to get the Washington, D.C. media elites to laugh at Fast and Furious.
That didn’t stop the event’s emcee Jimmy Kimmel from slipping a single joke about the gun-walking scandal into the mix.
“Even some of your fellow Democrats think you’re a pushover Mr. President,” Kimmel said during his stand-up routine, which followed Obama’s. “They would like to see you stick to your guns — and if you don’t have any guns, they would like to see you ask Eric Holder to get some for you.”
Obama forced a smile but didn’t audibly laugh at that joke.
Operation Fast and Furious was an Obama administration program overseen by Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice. It involved the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives facilitating the sale of about 2,000 firearms to Mexican drug cartels by allowing the weapons to “walk” into Mexico.
The “straw purchasers” who actually bought the weapons were permitted to do so although the government knew they intended to illegally sell them to others across the border. ATF officials have said they intended to track the weapons as they moved south, but they failed to do so in most cases.
House Republicans are on the brink of moving to hold Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with lawfully issued congressional subpoenas related to a congressional investigation launched more than a year ago. Despite subpoenas requiring the DOJ to provide Congress with more than 70,000 pages of documents, Holder has only supplied a key committee with about 7,000.
No government officials have been held accountable for Operation Fast and Furious. At least 125 House members, three U.S. senators, two governors, and many major political figures — including Romney — have demanded Holder’s resignation or removal.
White House spokesman Eric Schultz did not respond to The Daily Caller’s request for comment on Obama’s decision to leave Operation Fast and Furious out of his roster of jokes on Saturday night.