President Obama embraced his last White House Correspondents' Association dinner monologue and used the stage to launch a series of one-liners at 2016 presidential candidates in both parties, the media and his own career as president.
"It is an honor to be here at my last, and perhaps the last, White House Correspondents' dinner," he said as he took the podium. "You all look great. The end of the Republic has never looked better.
"Next year, at this time, someone else will be standing here in this very spot, and it's anyone's guess who she will be," Obama said.
Obama didn't spare former secretary of State and Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublican Ohio Senate candidate slams JD Vance over previous Trump comments Budowsky: Why GOP donors flock to Manchin and Sinema Countering the ongoing Republican delusion MORE, saying, "If this material goes well, I'm going to use it at Goldman Sachs next year. Earn me some serious Tubmans."
Later, Obama joked about Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders's popularity with young voters, comparing Clinton to an older relative who tries to join Facebook.
"I've said I admire Hillary's toughness, her smarts, her policy chops, her experience. You've gotta admit it, though: Hillary trying to appeal to young voters is a little bit like your relative who just signed up for Facebook," Obama said. "'Dear America, did you get my poke? Is it appearing on your wall? I'm not sure I'm using this right. Love, Aunt Hillary.'"
But much of Obama’s monologue focused on the Republicans, and he said, "We're praying Cleveland makes it through July" and noted the absence of GOP front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBaldwin calls Trump criticism following 'Rust' shooting 'surreal' Haley hits the stump in South Carolina Mary Trump files to dismiss Trump's lawsuit over NYT tax story MORE from the dinner.
“Is this dinner too tacky for the Donald? What could he possibly be doing instead? Is he at home eating a Trump steak? Tweeting out insults to Angela Merkel? What’s he doing?" Obama said.
He didn't let Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCongress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight On The Money — Congress races to keep the lights on House sets up Senate shutdown showdown MORE get by unscathed, reminding the audience that last week, the GOP presidential hopeful called a basketball hoop a "ring" at a campaign stop in Indiana.
“He went to Hoosier country, called the hoop a basketball ring. What else is in his lexicon? Baseball sticks? Football hats? But sure, I’m the foreign one.”
Obama didn't mention John Kasich by name but took a jab at the GOP candidate, saying, "Some candidates aren't polling high enough to qualify for their own jokes tonight."
Obama appeared in a pre-recorded video with former Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFeehery: The next Republican wave is coming Rift widens between business groups and House GOP Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power MORE (R-Ohio) and mocked some Republicans' hope that current Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) would become a "white knight" nominee at the Republican National Convention this July.
"Dinner guests were asked to check whether they wanted steak or fish, but instead a whole bunch of you wrote in Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanNo time for the timid: The dual threats of progressives and Trump Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' MORE. That's not an option, people," Obama said. "You may not like steak or fish, but that's your choice.
“Glad to see you feel you’ve earned the night off,” Obama said to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. “Congrats on all your success. The Republican Party, the nomination process, it’s all going great. Keep it up.”
The president poked fun at himself and his age: "Eight years ago I was a young man, full of idealism and vigor. And look at me know," he said, laughing. "Hillary once questioned whether I'd be ready for a 3 a.m. phone call. Now I'm awake anyway because I gotta go to the bathroom."
And he threw in a few jabs at the media: "Jake Tapper left journalism to join CNN." But he ended on a serious note, urging responsible reporting and chiding over-coverage of Trump.
“Uncovering truths is more important than ever. Taking a stand on behalf of what is true does not require you shedding your objectivity. In fact, it is the essence of good journalism," he said.
Obama ended his final White House Correspondents’ dinner by dropping the mic and saying “Obama out” before walking away from the podium.