Don't miss




Showdown in Gambia: Foreign troops at border as Jammeh refuses to go (part 1)

Read more


Showdown in Gambia: Senegalese troops enter Country as Jammeh refuses to go (part 2)

Read more


Davos 2017: Global leaders try to understand populist surge

Read more


DAVOS 2017: What next for the global healthcare industry?

Read more


New initiative provides free services to homeless in Paris

Read more


Moving US embassy to Jerusalem would be 'a terrible mistake'

Read more


Hisham Matar's memoir 'The Return' seeks answers in post-Gaddafi Libya

Read more


Acquired tastes: The 'disgusting' French delicacies many foreigners won't eat

Read more


Brazil: Docu-drama spotlights harsh reality of prison life

Read more


Obamacare butt of president’s jokes at White House correspondents' dinner


Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-05-04

US President Barack Obama started off with a few self-deprecating jokes before making fun of the botched rollout of during his routine at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on Saturday.

“In 2008 my slogan was, ‘Yes we can.’ In 2013, it was 'control-alt-delete',” Obama joked to an audience filled with politicians, members of the media and celebrities.

“At one point, things got so bad the 47 percent called Mitt Romney to apologise,” he said, referring to a 2012 presidential campaign scandal in which the Republican candidate was secretly taped saying that 47 percent of Americans have become reliant on government handouts.

More than 2,000 guests packed the ballroom of the Washington Hilton, where the capital’s political and media worlds come together for the annual event. The association marked its 100th anniversary this year.

The president highlighted some of the low points of his administration’s past year, centered around the disastrous rollout of the website for his landmark health insurance reform.

“Of course we rolled out That could have gone better,” he deadpanned.

Later he turned on Republican opponents in Congress who are clamouring to repeal the legislation, despite higher than expected enrollment figures in the government's healthcare exchanges.

“How well does Obamacare have to work before you stop trying to repeal it?” Obama joked.

At the end of his speech, Obama turned the audience’s attention to a video monitor, which failed to work. Kathleen Sebelius, the health secretary who announced her resignation this month after overseeing the botched rollout of Obamacare, stepped to the podium to try to fix the technical glitch.

Obama also took a swipe at Republicans for blocking his bid to raise the minimum wage. “If you want to get paid for not working you should run for Congress just like everyone else,” he said.

In a crack at his own low popularity ratings, the president referred to his fellow Democrats not wanting to campaign with him for November congressional elections in a wistful joke involving one of his daughters: “I did notice the other day that Sasha needed a speaker for career day and she invited Bill Clinton.”

Joel McHale, star of NBC comedy “Community”, followed Obama with a well-received routine that had New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s weight as its largest target.

Congressmen and cabinet members rubbed elbows with Hollywood celebrities including Lupita Nyong’o, the Oscar-winning actress in “12 Years a Slave”, along with its director, Steve McQueen.

“Gravity” director Alfonso Cuaron was a guest, as was actress Diane Lane. Television stars included Olivia Munn of HBO’s “The Newsroom” and Juliana Margulies of CBS’ “The Good Wife.”

Julia Louis-Dreyfus was there with her cast from the hit HBO comedy “Veep,” a parody of a dysfunctional vice president’s office. A video played earlier in the evening showed Louis-Dreyfus in character, asking a real-life Vice President Joe Biden: “Are you going to the Snorespondents’ dinner tonight?”

The video skit included health-conscious First Lady Michelle Obama sneaking some ice cream in the White House kitchen, House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi getting a tattoo and House Speaker John Boehner skipping the dinner to watch a panda video in his office.

The skit ended with a joke on the Hollywood-Washington romance, as Louis-Dreyfus explains slowly to Biden, “I’m not really a VP, but you are. I’m an actress from Hollywood.”

The White House Press Correspondents' Association Dinner


Date created : 2014-05-04

  • USA

    US health secretary resigns over botched Obamacare rollout

    Read more

  • USA

    After calamitous rollout, Obamacare enrolment hailed success

    Read more

  • USA

    Obama vows to fight poverty with or without Congress

    Read more