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Obama's and Romney's best jokes from the Al Smith dinner
President Obama and Mitt Romney took a time-out from slugging each other to gently mock themselves (and Joe Biden)
President Obama and Mitt Romney share a laugh at the 67th Annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.
President Obama and Mitt Romney share a laugh at the 67th Annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.
Mario Tama/Getty Images
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resident Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney set aside their hard-hitting presidential race for a few hours on Thursday night to break bread at the 67th annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation dinner, a white-tie charity fundraiser thrown by the Catholic Archdiocese of New York. "It's traditional for both major party candidates to attend the benefit, perform a short stand-up routine, then pretend it isn't awkward to have dinner together during the most heated time in the campaign," says Margaret Hartmann at New York. Both candidates landed some good punchlines, poking fun at each other, themselves, and (of course) Vice President Joe Biden. (Watch some highlights below.) Here are some of their best one-liners:

Introductions:
Romney: "Usually when I get invited to gatherings like this, it's to be the designated driver."

Obama: "Everyone please take your seats. Otherwise Clint Eastwood will yell at them."

The debates:
Obama: "This is the third time that Governor Romney and I have met recently. Some of you may have noticed, I had a lot more energy in our second debate. I felt really well-rested after the nice long nap I had in the first debate."

Romney: "People seem to be very curious just as to how we prepare for the debates. Let me tell you what I do. First, refrain from alcohol for 65 years before the debate. Second, find the biggest available straw man and then just mercilessly attack it: Big Bird didn't even see it coming."

Obama: "I learned there are worse things that can happen to you on your anniversary than forgetting to buy a gift."

Romney's wealth:
Obama: "Earlier today I went shopping at some stores in Midtown. I understand Gov. Romney went shopping for some stores in Midtown."

Romney (in white-tie attire): "A campaign can require a lot of wardrobe changes — blue jeans in the morning perhaps, suits for lunch fundraisers, a sport coat for dinner. But it's nice to finally relax and to wear what Ann and I wear around the house."

Running mates:
Romney: "I was actually hoping the president would bring Joe Biden along this evening, because he'll laugh at anything."

Obama: "I've heard some people say, 'Barack, you're not as young as you used to be. Where's that golden smile? Where's that pep in your step?' And I say, 'Settle down, Joe, I'm trying to run a cabinet meeting.'"

Romney: "Campaigns can be grueling, exhausting. President Obama and I are each very lucky to have one person who is always in our corner, someone who we can lean on, and someone who is a comforting presence, without whom we wouldn't be able to go another day. I have my beautiful wife, Ann; he has Bill Clinton."

Obama: "Sometimes it feels like this race has dragged on forever, but Paul Ryan assured me that we've only been running for two hours and fifty-something minutes."

Miscellaneous:
Romney: "I've already seen early reports from tonight's dinner — headline: 'Obama Embraced by Catholics. Romney Dines With Rich People.'"

Obama: "Of course, world affairs are a challenge for every candidate. After all, some of you guys remember after my foreign trip in 2008 I was attacked as a celebrity because I was so popular with our allies overseas. And I have to say, I'm impressed with how well Gov. Romney has avoided that problem."

Romney: "As President Obama surveys the Waldorf banquet room with everyone in white tie and refinery, you have to wonder what he's thinking. 'So little time, so much to redistribute.'"

 

Sources: AP, Capital New York, Government Executive (2), The Los Angeles Times, MSN Now (2), NBC News, New York, Reuters, The Washington Post

Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.

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