US President Barack Obama cracked jokes on himself, mocked journalists and lampooned Republican frontrunner Donald Trump in his final outing as comic-in-chief at the star-studded White House correspondents’ dinner today, ending his gig by dropping the mic and saying: “Obama out.”
At the black-tie event, Obama satirised everyone from Democrats to Republicans and from media to his potential White House successors, including Hillary Clinton.
But his sharpest barbs were reserved for Republican frontrunner Trump, who figured prominently in his speech.
“The Republican establishment is incredulous that he’s their most likely nominee,” Obama said at the event attended by Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra and Hollywood celebrities.
“They say Donald lacks the foreign policy experience to be president. But in fairness he has spent years meeting with leaders from around the world: Miss Sweden, Miss Argentina, Miss Azerbaijan,” the president said.
Obama, 54, began with cracking jokes on Clinton, apparently referring to her highly-paid speeches to Goldman Sachs. “Here we are, my eighth and final address at this unique event, and I am excited. If this material works well, I’m going to use it for Goldman Sachs,” he said.
Trump and his party’s two other competitor John Kasich and Ted Cruz did not attend the dinner. So did the Democratic presidential frontrunner Clinton.
A gifted orator, Obama was at his best during his speech that lasted for more than 30 minutes.
“It is an honour to be here at my last - and perhaps the last - White House Correspondents’ Dinner. You all look great. The end of the republic has never looked better,” the first African-American president said.
“You’ve got to admit, though, Hillary trying to appeal to young voters is a little bit like your relative just signing up to Facebook. ...’Did you get my poke?’... ‘I’m not sure I’m using this right’.”
He also called her “Aunt Hillary,” as at one point he virtually endorsed her candidature. “Next year someone else will be here, guess who she will be?” he said amidst laughter. Clinton is the only women contender in the race to the White House.
As usual, Obama made journalists as part of his jokes. “I don’t want to spend too much time on Donald. Following your lead, I’m going to show some restraint, because I think we can all agree that from the start he’s gotten the appropriate amount of coverage befitting of the seriousness of his candidacy. You all ought to be proud of yourselves,” he said.
“Jake Tapper left journalism to join CNN,” he said. Thanking the media with a big “Thank You”, Obama concluded his speech with: “Obama out” and a microphone drop.
Earlier, he gave a shot out at Sanders, the Senator from Vermont, the only presidential candidate at the dinner. Sanders appeared at this black-tie dinner in his usual suit instead of tuxedo. His press secretary tweeted that he does not own a tuxedo. “That moment when everyone realises your boss really doesn’t own a tux...but it’s cool #WHCD,” he said.