The President played a tough room last night and he did an excellent job.
I refer to the Radio & Television Correspondent’s Association dinner.
It was a nice evening’the entertainment this year was PG 13, a comedian I probably should know but don’t, in contrast to previous years when the jokes have gotten out of hand.
I tried several times during the evening to imagine John Kerry being as funny or as relaxed as Bush was and couldn’t’even though the TV press is more Kerry country than Bush country.
Bush’s ten minute speech (the WaPo has an account of the dinner in today’s Style section) was funny and graceful enough to accommodate a shift to a solemn moment at the end without seeming schizophrenic or mawkish.
Bush had brought goofy pictures of himself he called ‘A White House Election Year Album.’
Funniest Moment: Bush in contorted positions looking everywhere for something. ‘Those weapons of mass destruction must be somewhere! Nope, no weapons over there! Maybe under here?’
Edgiest Joke: Doing a pretended phone call between Kim Jong II and John Kerry. ‘Hey, John, Kim II here. Just wanted to let you know you’re my guy.’
The White House did something smart last night’they treated the National Guard issue as a joke (which it probably is, according to NR’s Byron York, the only scribbler man enough to actually comb through all the records–“Mr. Bush Releases the Evidence”).
How did he do it?
Bush announced that he had a slide that proved he’d reported up for duty in Alabama–and then showed that picture of him strutting onto the destroyer in combat fatigues. It’s the picture that (as Lucianne Goldberg has put it) drives ’em mad.
More of the night in the WaPo’