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Psaki said Obama enjoys the tradition of having a laugh or two in the middle of the tight presidential race. She added that while Obama and Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, who hosts the event, have disagreements from time to time, including on the issue of contraception, "there are many areas where they do see eye to eye.

"They're both been very forward about that," she said. "He's ... happy to be going later this evening."

Presidential candidates traditionally stop by the dinner, one the top events on New York's social calendar. Both Obama and Sen. John McCainJohn McCainPentagon should have a civilian chief to give peace a chance McCain to support waiver for Mattis, Trump team says Senators crafting bill to limit deportations under Trump MORE (R-Ariz.) made appearances there during the 2008 campaign.