The first time I was invited to the Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, I protested against the tails. I don't wear tails. And I dreaded what I assumed would be a self-indulgent celebration of an age of bonhomie that got out of town the day Fanny Foxe jumped into the Tidal Basin. But the night was actually kind of fun. President Obama has twice addressed the Gridiron; there is also a designated Republican and Democratic speech-maker. They hire professional comedians and speechwriters to help them craft their remarks, so they tend to be pretty funny. To an outsider, though, they can be opaque. So, thanks to the White House transcription, I can provide some context for the president's light-hearted jibing at the press corps. Like most speeches of this kind, the structure of similar. You make fun of yourself; you make fun of your opponents; you make fun of your party, and then you end with a heartfelt tribute to journalists.
Self-joke: the President oversold the immediate effects of the sequester.
The dinner is LONG. Like, hours long, And you're in tails, seated at tiny tables.
Refers, of course, to the "threatening" email that Sperling, the White House's top economic adviser, sent to Woodward, which everyone but Woodward interpreted as a nice and friendly email.
The President's Counter Assault Team (HAWKEYE Renegade) has plenty of firepower and travels with him whenever he leaves the White House.
This is a sensitive issue for the press corps. On the one hand, they complain, rightfully, about being ignored by the president. But if the White House doesn't need them anymore, then why bother to waste the president's time? And there's been plenty of outside criticism of the press corps for not asking the right type of questions when they DO get to talk to the president.
Ed Henry is the President of the White House Correspondents Association.
It was a cell phone video leaked to Corn that unveiled Romney's "47%" remark.
Actually, that joke is a few months too late. Silver, of course, was the election prognosticator who got it right.
The president very smoothly took a sip of water in the middle of that sentence.
A reference to conservative radio folks who say the President does nothing but play golf and watch ESPN.
Maureen Dowd's name is always good for a chuckle. And she does indeed refer to Obama's clinical nature as Spock-like. Obama and Co. did find it ridiculous but amusing that the press picked up so quickly on his mixed sci-fi metaphor.
McCain and Hagel were once close friends...
Ouch! Even the president thought Hagel didn't do well in his confirmation hearings. And the reference to the presidential debate advisers is obvious.
Favs is moving to Hollywood. And he really is like a son to Obama. And Favs helped coin Obama's original catch-phrase, "Yes, we can!"
Biden, of course, is thinking about a presidential run.
And here is the serious part:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- A gay Mormon's complicated journey
- Why you should really take a nap this afternoon, according to science
- The biggest lesson Obama failed to learn from Bush
- Why you shouldn't eat dog. Not even once.
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- How social conservatives became a minority in need of protection
- The militarization of America’s police
- This Indian meal service is so efficient it's the envy of FedEx
Subscribe to the Week