Obama: 2011 White House Correspondents' Dinner
Once a year, Hollywood, the D.C. press corps, and the political elite gather in the Washington Hilton to hear a few self-deprecating jokes and renew the bonds of power and money that join them. In 2011, though, Seth Myers was the headlining act, and President Obama dished out some good comedic fare. For those who can't remember that far back, the pulsing image of Barack Obama's long-form birth certificate on the big screens should enliven a few tired brain cells. The last birther resurgence, fueled largely by Donald Trump's abortive presidential exploration, was finally winding down. So, knowing that the best laughs always come at someone else's expense, President Obama laid into the Donald, who sat stony-faced a few tables away. "Just in case there are any lingering questions, tonight I am prepared to go a step further: Tonight, for the first time, I am releasing my official birth video." Cue the opening sequence of The Lion King, to hearty laughs all around. "Make clear to the Fox News table that was a joke," the president added. "That was not my real birth video."
Eventually his attention turned back to Trump. "All kidding aside, we obviously all know about your credentials and breadth of experience," the president said. "No, seriously, in a recent episode of Celebrity Apprentice, at the steakhouse, the men's cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha's Steaks. But you, Mr. Trump, realized that the real problem was a lack of leadership and so ultimately you didn't blame Little Jon or Meatloaf. You fired Gary Busey. And these are the kinds of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well handled, sir." Trump, by now realizing that his earlier sourpuss expression just made him an easier target, cracks a smile. "It was almost painful to watch," the Times' Caucus blog opined the next day, "the juxtaposition of the president, flexing his post-birther comedy chops, and the real estate mogul-cum-politician, grimacing at his table."
Romney: "Who Let the Dogs Out? Who, Who?"
One day in the fall of 2008, while meeting a group of African-American youth in Jackson, Florida, Romney tried to connect with these future voters by calling to mind what, at least he hoped, was one of their favorite songs. "Who let the dogs out?" Romney was caught saying, "who, who?" (YouTube views: 550,000-plus.) Extra bonus video: a bogus lip-reading spoof in which a seemingly brain-addled Romney appears to be saying all matter of nonsense. "I will force spiders and badgers on the enemy." "Now you have me whispering to a freak who thinks fish have menstrual cycles." (YouTube views: over 275,000.)