With well timed and perfectly delivered humor, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama both proved themselves to be quite funny during the 67th annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. (See the video of both men’s remarks at the bottom of this post)
The dinner is an annual white tie charity fundraiser for Catholic charities, that is always held on the third Thursday of October, in honor of Al Smith, a former New York Governor and the first Catholic presidential candidate. Every four years, the Republican and Democrat presidential nominees traditionally headline the gathering and this year, the tradition continued with Obama and Romney.
First up was Mitt Romney and from the get go he had the well-heeled guests in attendance falling off their chairs. With a mix of wise cracking one-liners that politely but sharply zinged the President and a combination of self-deprecating humor that poked fun at his own most pronounced characteristics, Romney unleashed a torrent of kneeslappers that stunned listeners with the boldness of his jokes and the hysterical nature of them. Among his best lines was one that came after Mitt said that many people wonder how one prepares for presidential debates. He said that in his case, you first spend 65 years refraining from any alcoholic beverages. While speaking of the debate Romney floored the audience when he told them that what you also do is
“find the biggest available strawman and then just mercilessly attack them… Big Bird didn’t even see it coming”
He promptly added;
“And by the way in the spirit of Sesame Street, the President’s remarks tonight are brought to you by the letter “O” and the number 16 trillion”.
For Mitt, the hits kept coming with remarks about everything from his hoping the President had brought Joe Biden with him because of the Vice President’s ability to laugh at anything, to even several quite blunt and hysterical digs at the media.
Part of Romney’s success at the event was probably based on how surprised people were to this absolutely funny side of the straight-laced Mormon. But there was also no dnying the brilliance of the material he used in his approximately 9 minute remarks.
Immediately following Romney was the President and from beginning to end he too did not disappoint.
The President effectively made himself the biggest target in his remarks which began with many references to his first debate performance. According to the President,
“As some of you may have noticed, I had a lot more energy in our second debate. I felt really well rested after the nice long nap I had in the first debate”
From there the President touched on array of people and topics, including Romney and like Romney he did so in a superbly lighthearted and disarming manner that put the often mean spirited nature of campaigns and elections in a refreshingly civil and even friendly light.
Both speeches were truly great and well worth your time watching.
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