By Bridget Johnson and Kevin Bogardus - 05/02/10 02:41 AM EDT
President Barack Obama took shots at his poll drops, birthers, death panels, and Arizona's new immigration law on Saturday night.
Obama opened for comedian Jay Leno at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, noting that Leno was the "only person whose ratings fell more than mine.
But, the president joked, "I know my approval ratings are still very high in the country of my birth."
Leno prodded back at Obama when it was his turn at bat. First up: the controversy over Obama's plans with the space program.
"We can point to one achievement during his administration," Leno said. "We did get one astronaut on 'Dancing on the Stars.'"
"He loves to socialize," Leno added of the president. "Healthcare. Car companies."
As tabloid rumors have been roiling in the recent days about the president and the first lady, Obama paid tribute to his wife, Michelle. "There are few things more important to find and harder to keep than love -- well, love and a birth certificate," he said.
Stars weren't hard to find at D.C.'s prom, though, including "Wall Street" Oscar winner Michael Douglas, who was hanging with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at a pre-party, and actress Jessica Alba, who said she wanted to meet Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). "Sex and the City's" Kristin Davis wanted to meet Obama.
Proving that celebrity and politics don't always mix, though, teen pop singer Justin Bieber admitted that he'd rather meet Kim Kardashian.
Obama theatened more teen favorites, the Jonas Brothers, with Predator drone strikes if they get near his daughters, fans Sasha and Malia, and noted the presence of another "tween heartthrob" in the audience: Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.).
Brown's special election victory set the stage for an "American Idol" reunion of sorts at the dinner, when host Ryan Seacrest caught up with Brown's daughter, Ayla, who was a semi-finalist on the fifth season of the show.
Referencing Brown's infamous naked Cosmo spread, Obama said senior adviser David Axelrod -- who recently noted Obama's penchant for cheeseburgers on Leno's show -- had been offered a centerfold opportunity of his own.
"I did know Krispy Kreme had a catalogue," Obama said.
The president took shots at Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, calling him the "Notorious G.O.P." and noting he "knows what is plaguing America today, taxation without representin'. My brother."
Leno hit at the RNC's recent drama, too. "A lot of Republicans couldn't be here tonight because it is dollar drink night at the bondage club," he said.
"I can't wait to get back to Hollywood where people have values," Leno quipped.
Obama noted that his 2008 presidential opponent, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), was absent from the dinner, noting that McCain recently said he didn't identify himself as a "maverick."
"And we all know what happens in Arizona when you don't have ID," Obama said, taking a shot at the controversial law that has sparked protests -- and calls on Capitol Hill to move on immigration reform. "Adios amigos!"
But instead, the president focused on the domestic priority that he spent much of his term thus far getting pushed through.
"There aren't a few secret provisions in the healthcare plan," Obama said. "There are, like, hundreds."
He said he would clarify some of the misconceptions, though. "If you do not like the ruling of your death panel, you can appeal," Obama said, referencing Sarah Palin's claims. Palin wasn't free from a potshot, either, as the president said she called social networking sites Facebook and Twitter "socialized media."
The president also took a shot at the Democratic New York congressman who cited pressure from leadership on his opposition to the healthcare bill as one reason for stepping down in March, though he also faced an Ethics Committee probe on allegations of sexual misconduct -- and then admitted on the Glenn Beck show that he'd tickled a staffer.
"You know what really tickles me?" Obama said. "Eric Massa."
Obama addressed Massa's charge that chief of staff Rahm Emanuel confronted him stark naked and screaming obscenities in the congressional showers.
"To which I say, welcome to my world," Obama said.
Ian Swanson and Emily Goodin contributed to this report
This story was updated at 11:50 p.m.