At Correspondents' Dinner, Obama Landed More Laughs Than Kimmel

At the White House Correspondent's dinner, President Obama's comedic timing and material trumped that of the late-night talk show host

There's a reason they call the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner a "nerd prom." It's the one time of the year all those inside-the-beltway political reporters who are more interested in the Ways and Means Committee than any red carpet event, let their hair down (to the extent they have any), trade in their power suits for tuxedos and gowns, and party with Hollywood celebrities to roast the president.

Beyond the frenzy of parties and red carpets, the weekend's main entertainment comes in the form of the dinner's two comedy monologues, one from the guest emcee and one from the POTUS himself. This year, Jimmy Kimmel was the featured roaster, but I have bad news for him -- President Obama had better comedy material and timing.

So what were the most buzz-worthy moments from the evening? Things were pretty tame, but here's my round-up of the best moments from "Nerd Prom 2012":

 -- Strange bedfellows? Well, actually dinner partners. Major news organizations get to invite celebrities of their choice, each outlet vying to snag the hottest or most controversial celeb. No big surprise that George Clooney was in town for his man Barack, but I haven't yet figured out the connection between FOX News' Greta van Susteren and her invited guest, the notorious Lindsay Lohan, or why the Washington Times' special guest was Uggie the Dog from the movie, The Artist. Maybe just good photo ops?

 -- President Obama was on FIRE with his comedy remarks, poking fun at himself over reports last week that he'd eaten dog meat as a child when he lived in Indonesia.  "Even Sarah Palin is getting back into the game, guest hosting on The Today Show, which reminds me of an old saying:  What's the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? A pit bull is delicious." Hopefully, that didn't make Uggie too nervous.

-- As he reflected on the difficulties of election years, the president quipped, "Despite many obstacles, much has changed during my time in office.  Four years ago, I was locked in a brutal primary battle with Hillary Clinton.  Four years later, she won’t stop drunk-texting me from Cartagena."

-- The president ribbed his Republican opponents, some of whom were in the crowd. They certainly squirmed a bit when the president launched into that portion of the evening. "Of course, [Mitt Romney and I have] had our differences. Recently, his campaign criticized me for slow jamming the news with Jimmy Fallon. In fact, I understand Governor Romney was so incensed he asked his staff if he could get some equal time on The Merv Griffin Show. Still, I guess Governor Romney is feeling pretty good about things because he took a few hours off the other day to see The Hunger Games -- some of you have seen it. It's a movie about people who court wealthy sponsors and then brutally savage each other until only one contestant is left standing. I'm sure this was a really good change of pace for him."

-- Jimmy Kimmel had to follow the great comedy writing provided to the president, and he came close to holding his own, but there wasn't anything particularly edgy or shocking about his routine. The best from Jimmy? "Uggie the Dog is here tonight. He can roll over on demand. Just like the Democrats."

--No one was spared in Kimmel's comments, not even First Lady Michelle Obama. "They say that diplomacy is all about carrots and sticks. And since Mrs. Obama got to the White House, so is dinner. ... [Mr. President], the real reason people thought were from Kenya had nothing to do with your birth certificate. It's because you lost so much weight, we thought you the guy who won the Boston Marathon."

So Kimmel got out of the evening without overly offending anyone with some light D.C. based humor. But the biggest question of the evening for me? What was with Diane Keaton's hat?!

You can read more from iVillage iVote Editor and Correspondent Joanne Bamberger at her blog, PunditMom. Joanne is also the author of the Amazon bestseller Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook!

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