President Obama came out swinging in his speech at this year's White House Correspondents' Association dinner Saturday night, mocking his critics and taking various shots at Republicans and members of the media.
Obama took the mic at the packed Washington Hilton hotel as a video mashup played to the synth-pop hit "I Love It," joking he was feeling looser in his final two years in office, the so-called "fourth quarter" of his presidency.
"Those Joe BidenJoe BidenHow 'Buy American', other pro-US policies can help advocates pass ambitious climate policies Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Biden backtracks on Taiwan Photos of the Week: Manchin protestor, Paris Hilton and a mirror room MORE shoulder massages are like magic. You should try one. Oh, you have?" Obama said.
Obama mocked critics of his recent unilateral moves, saying he maintains "something that rhymes with 'bucket list.' "
"Executive action on immigration? Bucket," Obama said to laughs. "New climate regulations? Bucket. It's the right thing to do. My new attitude is paying off. Look at my Cuba policy. The Castro brothers are here tonight."
"Oh, it's the Castros from Texas?" Obama asked.
The president addressed 2,600 people at the annual star-studded bash, which brings together members of the media, politicians and celebrities — "a night when Washington celebrates itself," Obama said. "Someone's got to do it."
Plenty of groans erupted from lawmakers and journalists during Obama's post-dinner remarks at the cozy soiree of Washington elites, during which he took a few shots at fellow Democrats.
Jabbing Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonI voted for Trump in 2020 — he proved to be the ultimate RINO in 2021 Neera Tanden tapped as White House staff secretary Meghan McCain: 'SNL' parodies made me feel like 'laughing stock of the country' MORE’s nascent campaign, Obama said, “Just a few weeks ago, she was making millions of dollars a year, and she’s now living out of a van in Iowa.”
Citing Clinton's recent incognito visit to a Chipotle in Ohio, Obama joked of a potential Clinton challenger: "Not to be outdone, Martin O'Malley went completely unrecognized at a Martin O'Malley campaign event."
On the media, Obama said, “The polar vortex caused so many record lows, they renamed it MSNBC."
Still, Republicans faced the brunt of Obama's humor, which focused on the 2016 presidential race.
“The Koch brothers think they need to spend a billion dollars to get folks to like one of these people," he said.
He painted the GOP field's courting of the billionaire industrialists' support as an episode of ABC's "The Bachelor."
"Who will finally get that red rose?" the president asked.
He also took aim at Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Colin Powell's death highlights risks for immunocompromised The Senate confirmation process is broken — Senate Democrats can fix it Australian politician on Cruz, vaccines: 'We don't need your lectures, thanks mate' MORE (R-Texas), a presidential contender, saying, “Galileo believed the Earth revolved around the sun. Ted Cruz believes the Earth revolves around Ted Cruz."
"And Donald TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Twitter's algorithm boosts right-leaning content, internal study finds Ohio Democrat calls Vance an 'ass----' over Baldwin tweet Matt Taibbi says Trump's rhetoric caused public perception of US intelligence services to shift MORE is here ... still," Obama said of another potential Republican candidate, seated in the audience.
One of the most memorable moments of Obama's speech came when he was joined at the lectern by Keegan-Michael Key, who showed up to as his “Luther” character from the hit comedy show “Key and Peele.”
The character angrily translated Obama’s comments to what he really meant, ripping the press for Ebola coverage and slamming campaign financing. As Obama got angrier, Luther had to calm the president down.
"All due respect sir, you don't need an anger translator. You need counseling," Key said before exiting the stage.
Obama wrapped up his speech by raising a glass to honor the journalists lost in the line of duty.
The night had some serious moments, too. In her introductory remarks, Los Angeles Times White House correspondent Christi Parsons, president of the White House Correspondents' Association, noted that Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian remained jailed in Iran and pointed out his brother, Ali, was in attendance at the dinner.
Parsons said the dinner was meant to celebrate the common "fight for openness, transparency and press freedom, for ourselves and people everywhere." She also led a moment of silence for those impacted by a massive earthquake in Nepal on Saturday that killed more than 1,400 people.
Here are some other Obama zingers:
– “I look so old, John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerRift widens between business groups and House GOP Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Debt ceiling games endanger US fiscal credibility — again MORE’s already invited Netanyahu to speak at my funeral," he said.
– Noting you no longer have to lose your insurance if you lose your job thanks to ObamaCare, the president said, “You’re welcome, Senate Democrats.”
– On those who call Obama aloof: “Some people are so dumb. No wonder I don’t meet with them.”
– Obama said he and Biden have gotten so close, “In some places in Indiana, they won’t serve us pizza anymore.”
– On ABC’s sitcom “Blackish,” he said, “Being Blackish only makes you popular for so long.”
– The Secret Service’s foolproof way to keep people off the White House lawn? John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump attacks Meghan McCain and her family In Montana, a knock-down redistricting fight over a single line McCain: Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner had 'no goddamn business' attending father's funeral MORE with a broom. And the plan to keep drones away? Joe Biden with a baseball bat.
– On former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) recently acknowledging he identified himself as Hispanic on a voter registration form: "Look, I understand. It's an honest mistake. It reminds me when I identified myself as American back in 1961."
– Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Study finds Pfizer vaccine almost 91 percent effective for 5 to 11 year olds The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Manchin, Sanders in budget feud; Biden still upbeat Democratic frustration with Sinema rises MORE (I-Vt.) might run for president. "Apparently people really want to see a pot-smoking socialist in the White House. We could get a third Obama term after all."
– Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) recently said he wouldn't attend a gay wedding. "To which gays and lesbians across the country responded, 'That's not gonna be a problem.' "
— Updated at 12:21 a.m.