Little was sacred when President Barack Obama tossed out playful but pointed jokes at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner – not even his own health care plan.
“We rolled out healthcare.gov. That could have gone better,” Obama said in remarks at the Saturday night dinner.
“In 2008 my slogan was ‘Yes we can.’ In 2013 my slogan was ‘Control-alt-delete’.”
On the plus side, the president said, “they did turn the launch of healthcare.gov into one of the year’s biggest movies”. On a screen flashed the poster for the film `Frozen’.
When a video Obama introduced failed to play properly, he asked, “Does anybody know how to fix this?” To laughter, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stepped up and said: “I got this. I see it all the time.” In the wake of the problems with the website, Sebelius has announced she is stepping down.
The annual dinner has become a tradition in the nation’s capital, promising a black-tie evening of humour and celebrity gazing. The event once again attracted an array of journalists, government officials, politicians and media personalities as the association raised money for college scholarships.
Obama didn’t waste time turning his barbed jokes toward the 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 travelled 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, Fox News, which he joked was a “shadowy right-wing organization.”
“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.”