President Obama at the Gridiron Club Dinner

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you!  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Thank you.   Please have a seat.  Thank you so much.  What a beautiful evening.  Everybody looks wonderful.  It’s like Downton Abbey, except less funny.  (Laughter.)  This is my third appearance at this dinner as President.  And I predict you will laugh harder than ever.  I’m not saying I’m any funnier.  I’m saying weed is now legal in D.C.  (Laughter and applause.)  I know that’s how you guys are getting through this dinner.  That’s why you ate the food.  (Laughter.)

This is also my first gridiron with a new press secretary, Josh Earnest, who’s doing a great job.  (Applause.)  The other day, Josh came into the Oval and he said, “I’ve got good news and bad news.  The good news is that people are finally rallying around their charismatic African-American president.  The bad news — it’s Clarence Page.”  (Laughter.)

Clarence and I go way back.

MR. PAGE:  Way back.

THE PRESIDENT:  Way back.  Before he took office, he felt comfortable asking me for tips on a being a successful black president.  (Laughter.)  And I told him, you want to keep your birth certificate handy.  (Laughter and applause.)

Now, let’s face it, being President does age you.  I mean, look at me.  (Laughter.)  I was hoping Fred Thompson would be the Republican speaker so I could buy a reverse mortgage.  (Laughter and applause.)  You start getting crankier as you get older.  Next week, I’m signing an executive order to get off my lawn.  (Laughter.)  And getting older changes you.  For example, coffee really disagrees with me these days — which is why John Boehner just invited coffee to address the joint House.  (Laughter.)

It is amazing, though, how time flies.  Just a few years ago, I could never imagine ever being in my fifties.  And when it comes to my approval ratings, I still can’t.  (Laughter.)  I mean, think about how things have changed since 2008.  Back then, I was the young, tech-savvy candidate of the future.  Now I’m yesterday’s news and Hillary has got a server in her house.  (Laughter.)  I didn’t even know you could have one of those in your house.  (Laughter and applause.)  I am so far behind.  Did you know that?  I would have gotten one.

On the bright side, by the time I’m done with this job, I will finally have enough life experience for a memoir.  (Laughter.)

My Vice President isn’t here tonight.  He told me, “If I want to hear people talking for five hours straight, I’ll just stay home alone.”  (Laughter.)  And, by the way, this is just a quick aside — Joe rubs my shoulders too.  (Laughter.)  I just wanted everybody to know.  He does.  It’s not bad, it feels pretty good.  I don’t let him give me a pedicure, but — (laughter.)

Of course, I want to acknowledge my fellow speakers tonight.  Give it up for Terry McAuliffe — (applause) — the Governor of Virginia and the mayor of “This Town.”  Terry loves fundraising.  He’s the first person who’s actually been upset to learn you can’t ask people for tons of money once you become the Governor of Virginia.  Well, except maybe the previous Governor of Virginia.  (Laughter.)

I also want to congratulate Scott Walker.  He did a great job tonight.  Give it up for him.  (Applause.)  Governor Perry, don’t you think he did a great job tonight?  I noticed you weren’t clapping that much.

This lame duck stuff is fun.  (Laughter.)

Despite a great performance tonight, Scott has had a few recent stumbles.  The other week he said he didn’t know whether or not I was a Christian.  And I was taken aback, but fortunately my faith teaches us forgiveness.  So, Governor Walker, as-salamu alaykum.  (Laughter and applause.)

Scott also recently punted on a question of evolution, which I do think is a problem.  I absolutely believe in the theory of evolution — when it comes to gay marriage.

And, finally, Governor Walker got some heat for staying silent when Rudy Giuliani said I don’t love America — which I also think is a problem.  Think about it, Scott — if I did not love America, I wouldn’t have moved here from Kenya.  (Laughter and applause.)  Still trying to deal with the overstaying the visa thing.  But hopefully the court is okay with the immigration initiatives.

Governors Walker and Perry are not the only possible 2016-ers here tonight.  We also have Dr. Ben Carson.  He wants to make it clear that being here was a choice.  The fact is, Doctor, embracing homosexuality is not something you do because you go to prison.  It’s something you do because your Vice President can’t keep a secret on “Meet the Press.”  (Laughter.)

But for all the gaffes, all the slip-ups, I think 2016 will come down to the issues.  For example, equal pay.  Did you know that the average male presidential candidate earns $150,000 less per speech than a woman doing the same job?  (Laughter.)  It’s terrible.  We got to fix that.

And we can’t just focus on 2016, people.  We just had an election.  This new Congress is just getting started, which is why I want to acknowledge the leader of the House Republicans — as soon as I figure out who that is.  (Laughter.)

The fact is, I really genuinely like John Boehner.  But from your press reports, I gather he may be in real trouble.  Over the past several weeks, many of you have been writing about a possible conservative coup — or as Bill O’Reilly calls it, “reporting from the war zone.”  He’s been sniffing around.  The good news is, Bill has an eyewitness who can back up some of his claims.  The bad news, of course, is that it’s Brian Williams.

And as much as I like to make fun of my friends in the GOP and the media, it’s not like this is an easy time to be a Democrat.  They’re turning last year’s midterms into a movie; it’s called “50 Shades of Red.”

But, as was noted, we are determined to bounce back.  The Democratic Party recently analyzed the midterm elections, and concluded we have to spend more time focused on older white voters — which is why I’m here.  (Laughter and applause.)

Staying focused, moving forward — it’s not always easy in this climate.  I mean, you guys are always picking us apart.  Recently, I made some comments about the Crusades, and people started blowing it all out of proportion, scrutinizing every single word.  What is this, the Spanish Inquisition?  (Laughter.)

And then I got flak for appearing on a video for BuzzFeed, trying to reach younger voters.  What nonsense.  You know, you don’t diminish your office by taking a selfie.  You do it by sending a poorly written letter to Iran.  (Laughter and applause.)  Really, that wasn’t a joke.

Now, as with everyone else, I want to end the night by saying something a little more serious.  We are producing and consuming news in ways that we couldn’t have imagined a few years ago, let alone a few decades ago.  But I believe that having access to more information than ever hasn’t diminished people’s hunger for understanding that news, and processing it.  And they want to see an even deeper sense of what’s going on in their world because of so much change.

And as much as politicians and the press go at it sometimes, I think that without the outstanding work that so many of you do every single day, then our need for understanding will not be met and our democracy will be poor.

When there’s a crisis playing out around the world, or a milestone in our history like the one that we commemorated at Selma last week, we count on you to provide context, to see past the superficial, and in some cases, to risk everything in pursuit of the true story, and to hold us — those of us in power — to account.

So while the world of media may be changing, I am confident that our democracy will always be able to rely on the tradition represented by the reporters in this room:  your persistence, your dedication, and your lifelong commitment to helping all of us better understand this world.  That’s how our democracy works.  And we are very grateful for the job that you do.

So thank you, God bless you.  And God bless one of the many countries that I love.  (Laughter and applause.)  Thank you.

109 Responses to “President Obama at the Gridiron Club Dinner”

    • March 15, 2015 at 9:10 am

      Mooooooooooorning Don!!!!

    • 3 arapaho415
      March 15, 2015 at 9:29 am

      GM Don, congrats on #1.

      Happy Sunday to you.

      I did a Google search on last Putin sighting, but since MSM takes the weekends off, most recent article is from Friday.

      Stumbled across this (Putin last seen on Mar 5):

      “It offers evidence enough that Russia has become an outright dictatorship. No other kind of state would be so opaque, nor its citizens so preoccupied with their ruler.

      snip /

      “Putin’s predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, was prone to disappearances: He liked to drink and had a weak heart. Yeltsin’s health became a particularly serious issue during the run-up to the 1996 presidential election, in which he competed against a strong Communist candidate. Not long before the vote, he suffered a heart attack that his aides hid from voters. After he won, Kremlin spin doctors became increasingly creative in answering any questions about the president’s health. On August 19, 1996, presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky initiated a meme when he said in response to such a query that Yeltsin’s handshake was strong.”

  1. 4 amk for obama
    March 15, 2015 at 9:09 am

    yup, it’s worthy of its own thread. Danke.

    • March 15, 2015 at 9:11 am

      Also too, they take my mind off sporty things.

      • 6 amk for obama
        March 15, 2015 at 9:17 am

        Look, your team a stuck blow against the stupid icc and for according the respect due to non-test players. There is no way icc is gonna to keep it to 10 team format after the impressive show led by ireland, afghanistan, scotland and uae in the next world cup. I found the most entertaining matches when ‘minnows’ were playing.

        So, cheer up.

  2. March 15, 2015 at 9:13 am

    Wish we had a video but even just an audio recording would be super cool. Darnit!!

  3. 10 jackiegrumbacher
    March 15, 2015 at 9:16 am

    I wonder if FLOTUS was at the dinner. Would love to see a photo of her dress if she was there. I wouldn’t blame her, though, if she had better things to do than spend the night with the DC press, like filing her fingernails, for example.

  4. 12 arapaho415
    March 15, 2015 at 9:23 am

    GM TODville.

    As usual, behind here, so I’m sipping my morning coffee, luxuriating in the fact it’s Sunday morning, no (immediate) time commitments, when whammo – what do I see on the Early Bird Chat??


    I am still recovering, LOL.

    • 13 jackiegrumbacher
      March 15, 2015 at 9:27 am

      Yes, arapaho, it wasn’t kind to our poor eyes and souls on a Sunday morning. I think we were all supposed to avert our eyes, except for AMK, but now the image is on my retinas and it burns.

    • March 15, 2015 at 9:27 am

      Morning arapaho415!! It’s all Amk’s fault – as usual 🙄

    • 16 MightyPamela
      March 15, 2015 at 10:28 am

      OH!! Yikes, so glad I read this one first, I may not have the whatever to go back to early bird today…. Thank you so much for mentioning this. ❤ Arapaho!!

  5. March 15, 2015 at 9:26 am

    • 21 arapaho415
      March 15, 2015 at 9:44 am

      Whoa, this toon goes there…

      #FPD have lied from August 10th forward, yet national MSM echo-chamber fail to report their fabrications and retractions (Google tells me that Jon Belmar is now #FPD chief):

      • 22 arapaho415
        March 15, 2015 at 9:45 am

      • 23 amk for obama
        March 15, 2015 at 9:50 am

        yup, the toon nails it. the moment I heard the news, I knew there is something rotten about it all.

    • March 15, 2015 at 12:09 pm


      this toon expresses what i feel…

      AMK…you are so on point with your toons….thank you

  6. 25 Vicki
    March 15, 2015 at 9:31 am

    Good morning TOD and Thank You, Chips for the transcript. PBO sensational as always. Right on target. I wish I could have watched it but happy we did get to read it.

    As far as the news of the day as filtered through the right wing media—-more specifically the NY Times—you would be hard-pressed to understand what a big week in news this week may be if the NYT is your only news provider.

    This week it is Possible that 1) US may open an embassy in Havana. 2) Bibi may be voted out of office heralding a new era for Israel. 3) A nuclear deal with Iran moves forward.

    If you read the NY Times you would conclude that the big news is that Dems are distancing themselves from PBO and naturally, clinton, clinton Clinton.

    • 26 arapaho415
      March 15, 2015 at 9:48 am

      Doesn’t that piss you off to the max?

      Specifically that Dems are distancing themselves from the greatest President of our lifetimes???

      More #GOPropaganda disguised as “news analysis,” intended on drumming up interest in an election that is nearly 18 months away — so much can (and no doubt WILL) happen between now and then. All #2016 campaign coverage is now just speculation and reporting on donor $$$.


    • March 15, 2015 at 9:52 am

      Not sure if you mean online or a hard copy. Online the big story is the Israeli election.

    • March 15, 2015 at 10:00 am

      NY times is just like all the other media., which I am backing away from because I am already fed up with all the talk about 2016. It was the media who ordain Hillary Clinton, now they are enjoying taking shots at her for the e-mail so call scandal.

      • March 15, 2015 at 10:03 am

        By the way the cowardly Dems distance themselves from President Obama in the last election, that is one reason why they lost so bad.

        • March 15, 2015 at 10:10 am

          And why aren’t the Democrats on tv ripping the Dirty 47 for that stupid terrible letter sent to Iran? If it was 47 Democratis Senators who had done that to a Republican President, the Republicans would have been all over tv, radio, internet, everywhere tearing those Dem Senators apart for undermining their President and risking war. But the Dems are acting like the cowards they are..

        • March 15, 2015 at 10:21 am

          This here. Number one it’s simply the Times rehashing the same story they’ve been writing since 2010. Number 2 if Dems still haven’t learned their lesson than that’s their hard luck.

  7. 39 amk for obama
    March 15, 2015 at 9:54 am

    The United States will “have to negotiate in the end” with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Secretary of State John Kerry has said.

    Speaking on the fourth anniversary of the civil war, Mr Kerry said the conflict was “one of the worst tragedies any of us have seen”.

    He said the US was pushing President Assad to begin negotiations again after two previous rounds of talks collapsed.

    More than 215,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the conflict.


    cue to rethugs poutrage, especially two faced mcangry’s

  8. 43 No Child Left Behind
    March 15, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Good Morning TODVille!

    Thanks, Chips, for posting the Gridiron address. I sure would like to see the faces of Ben Carson and Scott Walker when PBO served them with finesse.

    • 44 carolyn
      March 15, 2015 at 10:07 am

      NCLB, “finesse” is the exact word, for his comments. He is rapier sharp, so much so, I’m not sure the targets even get the remarks. They are all blunderbusses with scattershot, and crude. We will miss this finesse!

        March 15, 2015 at 4:17 pm


  9. March 15, 2015 at 10:13 am

    OMG, I really hope this is not true. Rove’s playbook. UGH UGH UGH

  10. 54 Nerdy Wonka
    March 15, 2015 at 10:13 am

  11. March 15, 2015 at 10:14 am

    An A+ for President Obama at that dinner last night, he did good as usual.

  12. 57 arapaho415
    March 15, 2015 at 10:20 am

    I know that TODville loathes the Boehner (which should become the 21st century term for hapless), but IMHO, McTurtle is more loathsome — really annoyed me that MSM portrayed McTurtle as a “hero” for “compromising” by stripping the reversal of President Obama’s immigration actions from the DHS funding measure.

    Of course, it was Congress who last year dreamed up the idiotic continuing resolution which created this impasse to begin with.

    • March 15, 2015 at 10:32 am

      That makes no sense, but neither did signing that letter to Iran, but McTurtle did it. Oh how I wish Eric Holder would change his mind and stay on. I don’t know if he can, but I sure wish one day President Obama would walk out there on the rose garden and make the announcement. Ladies and Gentlemen Eric Holder is staying. Lorretta Lynch is well qualified for that job, but here the Repubs go again. Any wonder why Mrs. Michelle Obama don’t like politics and probably is dancing because her husband isn’t running again.

      • 59 arapaho415
        March 15, 2015 at 3:10 pm

        Loretta Lynch will be confirmed, unless McTurtle fails to get off his butt and schedule the vote.

        My guess is that AG Holder will lay one of the foundations that PBO and FLOTUS will tap into once they leave office. I think PBO will be involved in global issues, but will rely on AG Holder to execute domestic reforms. 🙂

    • 60 jacquelineoboomer
      March 15, 2015 at 12:11 pm

  13. 61 sherijr
    March 15, 2015 at 10:22 am

    He just never fails to deliver, I so love my President~

  14. 62 Roberta in MN
    March 15, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Thank you Chips for posting the Presidents remarks from last night. He was right on. The cartoon above about Ferguson is right on. I always thought, there were anarchists that did not want any kind of change to happen, at least not until after our POTUS is out of office. My x-sister-in-law posted a article from Franklin Graham, saying “Obama should get involved & meet with leaders to find out how to solve the issue in Ferguson. Idid make a comment back. She probably will not friend me anymore. But too bad, I set her straight on just who is actually doing something to solve the racial problems in this country, surely not the religious right isn’t. Rant over. 🙂

    • March 15, 2015 at 10:42 am

      Have Franklin Graham been to Ferguson? And if I’m not mistaken isn’t that exactly what the President have been doing? By the way someone need to remind Franklin Graham that it’s President Obama. The President have had meetings with leaders from Ferguson at the WH, he has met with police leaders, AG Holder have been to Ferguson, so will someone please tell me what is Franklin Graham talking about? Does he know what he is talking about?

  15. 64 No Child Left Behind
    March 15, 2015 at 10:23 am

  16. 65 MightyPamela
    March 15, 2015 at 10:24 am

    “This lame duck stuff is fun”. (Laughter) This man we love, he is a CLASSIC!! He tore them apart, and I’ll bet it was fun! I’ll bet he laughed harder than any of them… Must have really enjoyed writing the script! ❤ 🐻 ❤

  17. 66 No Child Left Behind
    March 15, 2015 at 10:25 am

  18. March 15, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Good morning everyone. Our President is ahmaazzinng. I sure wish we could have watched him deliver his speech. Thanks Chips for always having up to the minute information for us here. I am off to Disneyland with my grandchildren. Have a super day!

  19. 70 No Child Left Behind
    March 15, 2015 at 10:32 am

    • 71 MightyPamela
      March 15, 2015 at 10:34 am

      McConnell is a whacko.

      • March 15, 2015 at 10:44 am

        Well Holder can just keep cleaning house until he get

        • 73 No Child Left Behind
          March 15, 2015 at 10:48 am

          I wish he could clean Congress. That would have sped up Lynch’s confirmation really fast.

      • March 15, 2015 at 10:49 am

        Once again, I hate to keep repeating myself, but that is why it is so important to VOTE. When people want to talk about why Capitol Hill is such a mess, because Americans don’t vote. If you are not going to work together to keep this country doing well, you ought to be vote out.

      March 15, 2015 at 4:22 pm


    • 77 idon
      March 15, 2015 at 7:28 pm

      this shows just how stupid Mitch McConnell is. He threatens to delay confirmation hearing for an AFRICAN AMERICAN nominee for AG to replace AFRICAN AMERICAN AG. This shit would only makes sense if you’re white AND completely devoid of critical thinking skills.

  20. 78 No Child Left Behind
    March 15, 2015 at 10:39 am

  21. 81 arapaho415
    March 15, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Love these zingers from #GridironDinner, a warm-up to the #WHPCdinner.

    So much truth disguised as humor, 🙂 :

    v. HRC:
    “Did you know that the average male presidential candidate earns $150,000 less per speech than a woman doing the same job? (Laughter.) It’s terrible. We got to fix that.”

    “This new Congress is just getting started, which is why I want to acknowledge the leader of the House Republicans — as soon as I figure out who that is. (Laughter.)”

    • March 15, 2015 at 1:02 pm

      PBO, nor his writers, have to work very hard to come up with materials. It’s unfortunate that the crackerjack GOPers are generating these scripts on a daily basis. And PBO is no longer biting his tongue. Blunt Truthfulness now overshadows Political Correctness. Maybe the Democratic Party will learn to take their cue from the President…sometime SOON.

  22. March 15, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Funny funny speech. He hit all the right people including himself. Wish I could have seen it. Good morning TOD folks!

  23. 86 amk for obama
    March 15, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Go saints-1-1 against blues. 😎

  24. 89 rikyrah
    March 15, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Good Morning Everyone

  25. 90 africa
    March 15, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Happy Sunday TODers!!

    Heeeeeya Chips

  26. 92 africa
    March 15, 2015 at 10:57 am

    PBO had the knack for this funny thing. Way cool.

  27. 93 yardarm756
    March 15, 2015 at 11:01 am

    Good morning, I think……good weather here, but got a piss-poor ‘tude……grrrr! 😦

  28. 95 africa
    March 15, 2015 at 11:18 am

  29. March 15, 2015 at 11:48 am

    OMG! I Love My President! ” as-salamu alaykum”
    ROFL! 🙂

  30. 101 jacquelineoboomer
    March 15, 2015 at 11:54 am

    Connecting the dots on the Ides of March. Other than this, Happy Sunday, TODville!

  31. 107 Judith Fardig
    March 15, 2015 at 11:59 am

    Morning all! Congratulations to Don. No one does political comedy like president Obama. It’s a thing of beauty. Has the headliner (other than PBO) for the self-congratulatory White House Correspondents Dinner been announced yet?

  32. March 15, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    Wow….the President was Sharp…On Point,,,i think he drew blood with some of his comments…hahaha…i hope they hurt….i was like… ohhh myyy gooodness…no he didn’t say that….love it!!! esp this comment:

    This new Congress is just getting started, which is why I want to acknowledge the leader of the House Republicans — as soon as I figure out who that is. (Laughter.)

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