COMMENTARY | This White House Correspondents' Dinner was crammed with a populous crowd of platinum music artists and Hollywood A-listers, including superstars such as Reese Witherspoon, Stevie Wonder, Mary J. Blige and George Clooney. President Barack Obama hurled a flurry of zingers during the Saturday night fiesta, even making light of reckless government spending and a recently uncovered Secret Service scandal.
Among myriad political controversies, the president joked about a Colombian prostitution scandal that implicated a dozen Secret Service agents. "I had a lot more material prepared, but I have to get the Secret Service home in time for their new curfew," Obama joked, accrediting the agency's new restrictions.
Also included in the president's repertoire of witticisms was a strike against the General Services Administration's lavish 2010 Las Vegas training conference that resulted in numerous employee firings and the resignation of GSA chief Martha Johnson. The purported conference, which cost taxpayers a mounting $823,000, included a $19-per-person cheese display, $6,325 in velvet-covered commemorative coins, and a $2,000 party in a top GSA official's hotel suite.
"I mean, look at this party. We've got men in tuxes, women in gowns, fine wine, first-class entertainment," Obama affirmed. "I was just relieved to learn this was not a GSA conference."
Obama also made a mockery of his own embarrassing aberrations, performing a skit that referenced a "hot mic" blunder with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev that, essentially, unveiled the president's true political motives -- that is, his uncompromising drive for a second presidential term.
In late March, exposing himself to an embarrassing microphone gaffe, Obama was caught telling Medvedev he would have "more flexibility" with pushing controversial issues after the November elections. In turn, Obama prefaced his Correspondents' Dinner speech with a "hot mic" charade, as he walked off stage and asked, "What am I doing here? I'm opening for Jimmy Kimmel and telling knock-knock jokes to Kim Kardashian."
All in all, the party delivered a slew of benefits, as hip-hop artists and Hollywood superstars cashed in on first-class promos for their upcoming movies and music albums, and President Obama reinforced his populist image as the "hippest" president ever to hold the White House.