Obama, Romney Trade (Mostly Friendly) Barbs at Charity Event

by at . Comments

President Obama and Mitt Romney both attended the Alfred E. Smith Dinner, the Catholic Archdiocese of New York’s annual charity benefit, last night.

They got in some good jokes - at each other's expense and their own.

Speaking first, Romney repeatedly underlined that he doesn't drink alcohol, quipping that he's usually only invited to functions like this as "the designated driver."

Addressing the crowd in the customary black tuxedo and white bow tie, Romney joked, "it's nice to finally relax and wear what Ann and I wear around the house."

Two of the Republican's candidate's lines came at the expense of the press, which many of his supporters see as biased against him (cough, Candy Crowley).

"My job is to lay out a positive vision for the future of the country. And their job is to make sure nobody else finds about it," he said, suggesting a faux headline for the night:

"Obama embraced by Catholics; Romney dines with rich people."

Taking aim at N.Y. Governor Andrew Cuomo, Romney noted that the Democrat was "impressive" and already being floated as a possible future presidential hopeful.

"He may be getting a little ahead of himself," Romney said.

"I mean let me get this straight, the man has put in one term as a governor, he has a father who happened to be a governor, and he thinks that's enough to run for president?"

Campaigns are hard, Romney said, and he and Obama "are each very lucky to have one person who's always in our corner, someone who we can lean on."

"Someone who's a comforting presence without whom we wouldn't be able to go another day. I have my beautiful wife, Ann. He has Bill Clinton."

"I was actually hoping the president would bring Joe Biden along this evening -- 'cause he will laugh at anything," Romney added, referring to the vice presidential debate.

Romney later detailed his own debate preparation strategy.

"First, refrain from alcohol for 65 years before the debate. Second, find the biggest available straw man, and then just mercilessly attack him. Big Bird didn't even see it coming."

Romney joked that the president, eyeing their wealthy audience at the post Waldorf-Astoria hotel, was probably thinking "so little time, so much to redistribute."

And he even said that St. Peter himself defied "so many skeptics and scoffers at the time who were heard to say, 'If you got a church, you didn't build that.'"

Obama, for his part, opened by urging "Everyone, please take your seats - otherwise Clint Eastwood will yell at them." His routine was more self-deprecating.

"As some of you may have noticed, I had a lot more energy at our second debate. I felt really well rested after the nice, long nap I had in the first one," Obama said.

"Although it turns out millions of Americans focused in on the second debate who didn't focus in on the first debate - and I happened to be one of them."

"I learned that there are worse things that can happen to you on your anniversary than forgetting to buy a gift," said the president of the first debate, on his 20th anniversary.

He did get in some decent shots at his rival - as well as himself.

"Some of you guys remember, after my foreign trip in 2008, I was attacked as a celebrity because I was so popular with our allies overseas.  And I have to say, I'm impressed with how well Governor Romney has avoided that problem," Obama said.

"Earlier today, I went shopping at some stores in Midtown. I understand Governor Romney went shopping for some stores in Midtown," he said later.

Obama joked that while in college at Columbia University he "loved to go to old Yankee Stadium, the house that Ruth built -- although he really did not build that."

Looking back at his history-making 2008 run for the White House, the 44th President of the United States said: "I have to admit some things have changed since then."

"I've heard some people say, "Barack, you're not as young as you used to be."

"Where's that golden smile? Where's that pep in your step?" And I say, 'Settle down, Joe, I'm trying to run a Cabinet meeting,'" the president joked.

"Sometimes it feels like this race has dragged on forever. But Paul Ryan assured me that we've only been running for two hours and 50-something minutes."

Tags: , ,