President Obama Speaks at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner
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President Obama Speaks at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner


The President: You can’t say
it, but you know it’s true. (laughter) Good evening, everybody. It is an honor to be here at
my last — and perhaps the last — White House
Correspondents’ Dinner. (laughter and applause) You all look great. The end of the Republic
has never looked better. (laughter and applause) I do apologize — I know I
was a little late tonight. I was running on C.P.T. — (laughter) — which stands for “jokes
that white people should not make.” (laughter and applause) It’s a tip for you, Jeff. (laughter) Anyway, here we are. My eighth and final
appearance at this unique event. (laughter) And I am excited. If this material works well,
I’m going to use it at Goldman Sachs next year. (laughter and applause) Earn me some
serious Tubmans. That’s right. (laughter and applause) My brilliant and beautiful
wife, Michelle, is here tonight. (applause) She looks so
happy to be here. (laughter) That’s called practice —
it’s like learning to do three-minute planks. (laughter) She makes it look easy now. (laughter) Next year at this time,
someone else will be standing here in this very
spot, and it’s anyone’s guess who she will be. (laughter and applause) But standing here, I can’t
help but be reflective, a little sentimental. Eight years ago, I said it
was time to change the tone of our politics. In hindsight, I clearly
should have been more specific. (laughter) Eight years ago, I was a
young man, full of idealism and vigor, and
look at me now. (laughter) I am gray and grizzled, just
counting down the days ’til my death panel. (laughter and applause) Hillary once questioned
whether I’d be ready for a 3 a.m. phone call — now I’m awake
anyway because I’ve got to go to the bathroom. (laughter and applause) I’m up. In fact, somebody recently
said to me, Mr. President, you are so yesterday; Justin
Trudeau has completely replaced you — he’s so
handsome, he’s so charming, he’s the future. And I said, Justin,
just give it a rest. (laughter and applause) I resented that. (laughter) Meanwhile, Michelle
has not aged a day. (applause) The only way you can date
her in photos is by looking at me. (laughter) Take a look. Here we are in 2008. Here we are a
few years later. And this one is
from two weeks ago. (laughter and applause) So time passes. (laughter) In just six short months, I
will be officially a lame duck, which means Congress
now will flat-out reject my authority. (laughter) And Republican leaders
won’t take my phone calls. And this is going to take
some getting used to, it’s really going to —
it’s a curve ball. I don’t know what
to do with it. (laughter) Of course, in fact, for
months now congressional Republicans have been saying
there are things I cannot do in my final year. Unfortunately, this dinner
was not one of them. (laughter) But on everything else,
it’s another story. And you know who you
are, Republicans. In fact, I think we’ve got
Republican Senators Tim Scott and Cory Gardner,
they’re in the house, which reminds me, security,
bar the doors! (laughter) Judge Merrick Garland, come
on out, we’re going to do this right here, right now. (applause) It’s like “The Red Wedding.” (laughter) But it’s not just Congress. Even some foreign leaders,
they’ve been looking ahead, anticipating my departure. Last week, Prince George
showed up to our meeting in his bathrobe. (laughter and applause) That was a slap in the face. (laughter) A clear breach in protocol. (laughter) Although while in England
I did have lunch with Her Majesty, the Queen,
took in a performance of Shakespeare, hit the links
with David Cameron — just in case anybody is still
debating whether I’m black enough, I think that
settles the debate. (laughter and applause) I won’t lie — look, this
is a tough transition. It’s hard. Key staff are now starting
to leave the White House. Even reporters have left me. Savannah Guthrie, she’s left
the White House Press Corps to host the Today show. Norah O’Donnell left the
briefing room to host CBS This Morning. Jake Tapper left
journalism to join CNN. (laughter and applause) But the prospect of leaving
the White House is a mixed bag. You might have heard that
someone jumped the White House fence last week, but I
have to give Secret Service credit — they found
Michelle, brought her back, she’s safe back at home now. (laughter and applause) It’s only nine
more months, baby. Settle down. (laughter) And yet, somehow, despite
all this, despite the churn, in my final year, my
approval ratings keep going up. (laughter) The last time I was this
high, I was trying to decide on my major. (laughter and applause) And here’s the thing: I
haven’t really done anything differently. So it’s odd. Even my aides can’t explain
the rising poll numbers — what has changed, nobody
can figure it out. (laughter and applause) Puzzling. Anyway, in this last year I
do have more appreciation for those who have been with
me on this amazing ride, like one of our finest
public servants, Joe Biden. God bless him. Love that guy. (applause) I love Joe Biden,
I really do. And I want to thank him for
his friendship, for his counsel, for always giving
it to me straight, for not shooting anybody
in the face. (laughter) Thank you, Joe. (laughter) Also, I would be remiss —
let’s give it up for our host, Larry Wilmore. (applause) Also known as one of the two
black guys who is not Jon Stewart. (laughter) You’re the South
African guy, right? (laughter) I love Larry. And his parents are here,
who are from Evanston, which is a great town. (applause) I also would like to
acknowledge some of the award-winning reporters
that we have with us here tonight. Rachel McAdams. Mark Ruffalo. Liev Schreiber. (laughter) Thank you all for everything
that you’ve done. (laughter) I’m just joking. As you know, “Spotlight”
is a film, a movie about investigative journalists
with the resources and the autonomy to chase down the
truth and hold the powerful accountable. Best fantasy film
since Star Wars. (laughter) Look — that was
maybe a cheap shot. (laughter) I understand the news
business is tough these days, it keeps
changing all the time. Every year at this dinner,
somebody makes a joke about BuzzFeed, for example,
changing the media landscape. And every year, the
Washington Post laughs a little bit less hard. (laughter) Kind of a silence there. (laughter) Especially at the
Washington Post table. (laughter) GOP Chairman Reince
Priebus is here as well. (applause) Glad to see you that you
feel that you’ve earned a night off. (laughter) Congratulations on
all your success. The Republican Party, the
nomination process — it’s all going great. Keep it up. (laughter and applause) Kendall Jenner is also here. And we had a chance to meet
her backstage — she seems like a very nice
young woman. I’m not exactly sure what
she does, but I am told that my Twitter mentions are
about to go through the roof. (laughter) Helen Mirren is
here tonight. (applause) I don’t even
have a joke here. I just think Helen
Mirren is awesome. (laughter and applause) She’s awesome. (laughter) Sitting at the same table,
I see Mike Bloomberg. (applause) Mike, a combative,
controversial New York billionaire is leading the
GOP primary and it is not you. (laughter) That’s has to
sting a little bit. (laughter) Although it’s not an
entirely fair comparison between you and the Donald. After all, Mike was
a big-city mayor. He knows policy in depth. And he’s actually worth the
amount of money that he says he is. (laughter and applause) What an election season. For example, we’ve got the
bright new face of the Democratic Party here
tonight — Mr. Bernie Sanders! (applause) There he is — Bernie! (applause) Bernie, you look
like a million bucks. (laughter) Or to put it in terms you’ll
understand, you look like 37,000 donations
of 27 dollars each. (laughter and applause) A lot of folks have been
surprised by the Bernie phenomenon, especially his
appeal to young people. But not me, I get it. Just recently, a young
person came up to me and said she was sick of
politicians standing in the way of her dreams. As if we were actually going
to let Malia go to Burning Man this year. (laughter) That was not
going to happen. (laughter) Bernie might
have let her go. (laughter) Not us. (laughter) I am hurt, though, Bernie,
that you’ve distancing yourself a little from me. (laughter) I mean, that’s just not
something that you do to your comrade. (laughter and applause) Bernie’s slogan has helped
his campaign catch fire among young people. “Feel the Bern.” (laughter) Feel the Bern —
it’s a good slogan. Hillary’s slogan has
not had the same effect. Let’s see this. (laughter) Look, I’ve said how much I
admire Hillary’s toughness, her smarts, her policy
chops, her experience. You’ve got to admit it,
though, Hillary trying to appeal to young voters
is a little bit like your relative just signed
up for Facebook. (laughter) “Dear America, did
you get my poke?” (laughter) “Is it appearing
on your wall?” (laughter) “I’m not sure I am
using this right. Love, Aunt Hillary.” (laughter and applause) It’s not entirely
persuasive. Meanwhile, on the Republican
side, things are a little more — how should we say
this — a little “more loose.” Just look at
the confusion over the invitations to
tonight’s dinner. Guests were asked to check
whether they wanted steak or fish, but instead, a whole
bunch of you wrote in Paul Ryan. (laughter) That’s not an
option, people. Steak or fish. (laughter) You may not like
steak or fish — (laughter) — but that’s your choice. (laughter) Meanwhile, some candidates
aren’t polling high enough to qualify for their
own joke tonight. (laughter) The rules were
well-established ahead of time. (laughter) And then there’s Ted Cruz. Ted had a tough week. He went to Indiana —
Hoosier country — stood on a basketball court,
and called the hoop a “basketball ring.” (laughter and applause) What else is in his lexicon? Baseball sticks? Football hats? (laughter) But sure, I’m
the foreign one. (laughter and applause) Well, let me conclude
tonight on a more serious note. I want to thank the
Washington press corps, I want to thank Carol
for all that you do. The free press is central to
our democracy, and — nah, I’m just kidding! You know I’ve got
to talk about Trump! Come on! (laughter and applause) We weren’t just
going to stop there. Come on. (laughter and applause) Although I am a little hurt
that he’s not here tonight. We had so much
fun the last time. (laughter) And it is surprising. You’ve got a room full of
reporters, celebrities, cameras, and he says no? (laughter) Is this dinner too
tacky for The Donald? (laughter) What could he possibly
be doing instead? Is he at home, eating
a Trump Steak — (laughter) — tweeting out insults
to Angela Merkel? (laughter) What’s he doing? (laughter) The Republican establishment
is incredulous that he is their most likely nominee
— incredulous, shocking. They say Donald lacks the
foreign policy experience to be President. But, in fairness, he has
spent years meeting with leaders from around the
world: Miss Sweden, Miss Argentina, Miss Azerbaijan. (laughter and applause) And there’s one area where
Donald’s experience could be invaluable — and that’s
closing Guantanamo. Because Trump knows a
thing or two about running waterfront properties
into the ground. (laughter and applause) All right, that’s
probably enough. I mean, I’ve got
more material — (applause) — no, no, I don’t want to
spend too much time on The Donald. Following your lead, I want
to show some restraint. (laughter) Because I think we can all
agree that from the start, he’s gotten the appropriate
amount of coverage, befitting the seriousness
of his candidacy. (laughter and applause) I hope you all are
proud of yourselves. (laughter) The guy wanted to give his
hotel business a boost, and now we’re praying that
Cleveland makes it through July. (laughter) Mm-mm-mm. (laughter and applause) Hmm. (laughter) As for me and Michelle,
we’ve decided to stay in D.C. for a couple
more years. (applause) Thank you. This way, our youngest
daughter can finish up high school, Michelle can stay
closer to her plot of carrots. (laughter) She’s already making plans
to see them every day. Take a look. (laughter) But our decision has
actually presented a bit of a dilemma because,
traditionally, Presidents don’t stick around
after they’re done. And it’s something that I’ve
been brooding about a little bit. Take a look. Female Speaker: The Obama’s
are staying in D.C. for two years after the
President leaves office. Chuck Todd: He’s about to
go from Commander in Chief to Couch Commander. The President: —
you, Chuck Todd. What am I going to do
in D.C. for two years? (music) The Vice President:
Get around to London, Mr. President. The President: I can’t
go every day, can I? The Vice President:
Which do you like better? These? Or These? The President: Joe,
they’re the same. The Vice President: They
capture different moods. The President: Joe, I
need some focus here. The Vice President: Coming
in here during aviator time, thinks everything — The President: I’m
sorry, what’s that? The Vice President: I
said, Mr. President, you got to be practical. And look, you
can drive again, you’re going to
need a license. You love sports, why don’t
you volunteer to work one of the teams around here? (music) The President: Is this
the Washington Wizards? I understand you’re looking
for some coaching help. Let’s just say I coached my
daughter’s team a few times. Hello? Hello? (music) Female Speaker: 34. The President: Finally. So, I’m going to be
in D.C. for awhile, and I thought I’d
take up driving again. Female Speaker:
What’s the name? The President: Barack
Hussein Obama. Female Speaker: Yikes. Well, since you don’t
have a driver’s license, you’re going to need
a birth certificate. The President: Really? Female Speaker: Really. The President: It’s real. Female Speaker: Is it? The President: It’s real. Female Speaker: But is it? (music) The President: Oh. Michelle left her phone. Let’s see here. Huh. She’s got Snapchat. Obamacare is great! And it’s really working! Sign up now! Male Speaker: Breaking news. Wolf Blitzer: Michelle
Obama in hot water, after posting this
video earlier today. The President:
Obamacare is great! And it’s really working! Sign up now! No? Mrs. Obama: No. The President: Did it get
a lot of views, at least? Mrs. Obama: Honey, enough. Enough. Why don’t you just talk
to somebody who has been through this. I got to go to SoulCycle. The President: She’s right. I know who I
need to talk to. Hey. It’s Barack. Listen, could
we get together. (music) Now that is a great movie. John Boehner: Yeah. It gets me every time. Tom Hanks: So long, partner. (music) The President: So, you
got any advice for me? John Boehner: So now
you want my advice? First, stop sending me all
these LinkedIn requests. And second, here’s the
beauty of this whole thing. You’ve got all the time in
the world to figure this out. You can just be
you for awhile. If you know how
to do that again. The President: So
I can just be me. (music) And I can wear my
mom jeans in peace. I hate these tight jeans. John Boehner: That’s good. That’s good. Yesterday, I had a beer
at 11:30 in the morning. And you know, McDonalds now
serves breakfast all day long. The President: And
Michelle’s going to be at spin class, so
she’ll never know. John Boehner: Right. Let it go. And it won’t be long, you’ll
be able to walk right out of the Oval Office singing
Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah Zip-a-Dee-Day. (laughter) And you’ve got plenty of
time to work on your tan. And you know what? I finally got the grand
bargain on a sweet Chevy Tahoe. Look here. Look here. You want one? Wolf Blitzer: Breaking news. Former President Barack
Obama on his 347th round of golf for the year, and
it’s totally great. And Gloria, not a
problem for anybody. Gloria Borger: I can’t think
of a reason to care, Wolf. And believe me, I’ve tried. (music) (applause) I am still waiting for all
of you to respond to my invitation to
connect on LinkedIn. (laughter) But I know you have jobs to
do, which is what really brings us here tonight. I know that there are times
that we’ve had differences, and that’s inherent in our
institutional roles — it’s true of every President
and his press corps. But we’ve always shared the
same goal — to root our public discourse in the
truth; to open the doors of this democracy; to do
whatever we can to make our country and our world
more free and more just. And I’ve always appreciated
the role that you have all played as equal partners
in reaching these goals. And our free press is why
we once again recognize the real journalists who
uncovered a horrifying scandal and brought about
some measure of justice for thousands of victims
throughout the world. They are here with us
tonight — Sacha Pfeiffer, Mike Rezendes, Walter
Robinson, Matt Carroll, and Ben Bradlee, Jr. Please
give them a big round of applause. (applause) Our free press is why,
once again, we honor Jason Rezaian. (applause) As Carol noted, last time
this year, we spoke of Jason’s courage as he
endured the isolation of an Iranian prison. This year, we see that
courage in the flesh and it’s a living testament to
the very idea of a free press, and a reminder of the
rising level of danger, and political intimidation, and
physical threats faced by reporters overseas. And I can make this
commitment that as long as I hold this office, my
administration will continue to fight for the release of
American journalists held against their will — and we
will not stop until they see the same freedom
as Jason had. (applause) At home and abroad,
journalists like all of you engage in the dogged pursuit
of informing citizens, and holding leaders accountable,
and making our government of the people possible. And it’s an enormous
responsibility. And I realize it’s an
enormous challenge at a time when the economics of
the business sometimes incentivize speed over
depth; and when controversy and conflict are what most
immediately attract readers and viewers. The good news is there are
so many of you that are pushing against
those trends. And as a citizen of this
great democracy, I am grateful for that. For this is also a time
around the world when some of the fundamental ideals
of liberal democracies are under attack, and when
notions of objectivity, and of a free press, and of
facts, and of evidence are trying to be undermined. Or, in some cases,
ignored entirely. And in such a climate, it’s
not enough just to give people a megaphone. And that’s why your power
and your responsibility to dig and to question and to
counter distortions and untruths is more
important than ever. Taking a stand on behalf
of what is true does not require you shedding
your objectivity. In fact, it is the essence
of good journalism. It affirms the idea that
the only way we can build consensus, the only way that
we can move forward as a country, the only way we can
help the world mend itself is by agreeing on a baseline
of facts when it comes to the challenges that
confront us all. So this night is a testament
to all of you who have devoted your lives to that
idea, who push to shine a light on the truth
every single day. So I want to close my final
White House Correspondents’ Dinner by just
saying thank you. (applause) I’m very proud of
what you’ve done. It has been an honor and a
privilege to work side by side with you to
strengthen our democracy. (applause) And with that, I just have
two more words to say — Obama out. (laughter and applause) Thank you. (applause)

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