Platters of sugar cookies bearing the likenesses of President Barack Obama, left, and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, are available for sale on the counter at the Oakmont Bakery in Oakmont, Pa. (AP Photo)
President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney put the campaigning on hold for a few hours Thursday night for a presidential race tradition — poking fun at each other at a New York dinner.
It’s a much watched event, coming in the thick of the race, sometimes between debates,as it did this time.
Governor Romney led the barb-fest. Pointing to his tuxedo, he said it was nice to be back in something as comfortable as this, something “Ann and I wear around the house”.
It was a shot at himself, referenced to the general description of him as a wealthy man from a wealthy family, sometimes out of touch with common Americans.
His next few were tightly woven around some of the leading talking points straight from his campaign book.
“Both of us need someone to lean on in tough times,” said Romney about himself and Obama. “I have my beautiful wife Ann. He has Bill Clinton.”
The two men share an uneasy relationship. In fact, they don’t like each other much, and have little or no respect for each other. Thursday night dinner, therefore, became of interest.
Obama threw only softballs, and straight — no curves. He started by asking everyone to take their seat or else “Clint Eastwood would yell at them”. Remember the Republican convention and Eastwood’s rant to an empty chair?
He joked about his first debate performance, saying he napped through it, which left him feeling energetic for the second debate.
He then jumped to the next debate, which is going to be on foreign policy. As a candidate, he said when he went on a trip abroad, he was “attacked as a celebrity because I was so popular with our allies overseas. I have to say I am impressed with how well governor Romney has avoided that problem”.
The two candidates did, however, find a common target.
Romney took the shot first: “I was actually hoping the president would bring Joe Biden along this evening as he would laugh at anything.” The reference was to the VP debate.
Obama followed it up with his one Joe joke: “I’ve heard some people say, ‘Barack, you’re not as young as you used to be. Where’s that golden smile? Where’s that pep in your walk’. And I say, ‘Settle down, Joe. I’m trying to run a cabinet meeting here.’”
Both ended saying nice things about each other though.
Hillary not in running
Secretary of state Hillary Clinton has denied speculations over contesting for presidency in 2016 and said she hopes to be around to cheer for the country’s first woman president whenever one is elected.
“I’m going to be cheering them on. I hope to be around when we finally elect a woman president. That would be a great experience for me, to be up there cheering,” Clinton told the Marie Claire magazine in an interview published on Thursday.