President Obama, Mitt Romney Trade One-Liners at NYC Dinner
After a tense debate Tuesday, President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney were expected to put their hostilities aside Thursday and joke about themselves and each other at an annual benefit hosted by the Catholic Archdiocese of New York.
The Al Smith dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria has become a tradition in presidential politics. During an election year, both presidential candidates are expected to come together for an evening of '"friendship, civility and patriotism."
Of course, that was before political debates became a blood sport.
Nevertheless, Obama and Romney managed to exchange playful jabs at the formal affair. Some of the best one-liners exchanged between the two men:
Obama: "Everyone please take your seats; otherwise Clint Eastwood will yell at them."
Dressed in the requisite white tie and tails, Romney joked: "Nice finally to relax and wear what Ann and I wear around the house."
Obama: "Mitt is his middle name. I wish I could use my middle name."
Romney: "I was hoping the president would bring Joe Biden along this evening because he'll laugh at anything."
Obama: "Monday's debate is about foreign policy. Spoiler alert: We got bin Laden."
Romney commented on how both he and Obama have people they can rely on after a tough day: "I have my beautiful wife, Ann; he's got Bill Clinton."
Joking about his lackluster first debate performance, Obama said: "I learned that there are worse things that can happen to you on your anniversary than forgetting to buy a gift."
Romney: "Headline out of Al Smith dinner will be: 'Obama embraced by Catholics. Romney dines with rich people.' "
Al Smith IV opened the dinner by acknowledging the women in the room. "It's good to see who's getting out of those binders," he said. He suggested that people should take "humility" lessons from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and poked fun at Archbishop Timothy Dolan's weight by mentioning the "vast expanse" that was separating Obama from Romney at the head dinner table.
Smith joked that the dinner was raising $5 million for the Alfred E. Smith foundation, which he said he was considering rebranding as a "super PAC for the soul," according to a pool report.
After a long windup about the difficult choice Americans are now facing, Smith said: "Of course, I'm talking about Tebow-Sanchez."
The dinner is considered a must-attend for both president and challenger. It was named after Gov. Al Smith, who in 1928 became the first Catholic ever nominated for president. Even though Smith was maligned and discriminated against because of his religious beliefs, he became known as "The Happy Warrior" who fought for what he believed in without trying to vilify those who attacked him.
Proceeds from the event are used support mothers in need and their babies, regardless of faith.
Dolan recently noted on his blog that he was inundated with mail suggesting that Obama be uninvited because of his tense standoff with the Catholic Church over Obamacare, abortion and contraception. But the archbishop disagreed, saying, "You can accomplish a lot more by inviting folks of different political loyalties to an uplifting evening, rather than in closing the door to them."
Obama said in closing his remarks : “We may have different political perspectives, but I think -- in fact I’m certain -- that we share the hope that the next four years will affect the same decency and the same willingness to come together for a higher purpose that are on display this evening.”