Al Smith dinner: Obama and Romney take some time out for humor
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Al Smith dinner: Obama and Romney take some time out for humor

New York City : NY : USA | Oct 19, 2012 at 4:35 AM PDT
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President Obama at Alfred E Smith Dinner

President Obama and Mitt Romney took some time off the campaign trail last night attending the Alfred E. Smith Dinner. The dinner has been attended by presidential candiates since 1960, when John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon first attended. President Obama and Mitt Romney shared the stage last night and exchanged some barbs.

The Alfred E. Smith Dinner is an annual "white tie" affair, which raises funds for Catholic charities. The dinner is held on the third Monday of October in honor of Alfred E. Smith, a former governor of New York. Smith was the first Catholic presidential candidate. The first dinner was held in 1945 and in 2008 raised $3.9 million. Wikepedia

While both candidates are accustomed to exchanging punches on the campaign trail and during debates, last night they exchanged punch lines.

Mitt Romney was the first to take the stage and provided a seldom exhibited humorous side and a few zingers. He made a comment on his never-ending wardrobe change on the campaign trail and commented:

"It's nice to finally relax and wear what Ann and I wear around the house."

Making reference to the affair being held at the Waldorf Astoria, he said:

"We're now in the final months of the president's term. As President Obama surveys the Waldorf banquet room with everyone in white tie and finery, you have to wonder what he's thinking. So little time, so much to redistribute."

Romney didn't miss to take a stab at the media, which is often seen as being biased toward President Obama.

"I've already seen early reports from tonight's dinner. Headline: Obama embraced by Catholics; Romney dines with rich people."

On debate preparation, he commented:

"People seem to be very curious as to how we prepare for the debates. First, refrain from alcohol for 65 years before the debate," said Romney, who as a Mormon does not consume alchohol. "Second, find the biggest available straw man and mercilessly attack it. Big Bird didn't even see it coming,"

Romney also took a jab at Joe Biden, which he categorized as a gift, stating all he had to do is add "I'm Mitt Romney and approve this message."

President Obama took his turn and provided a few zingers as well. Making reference to his first debate performance he said:

"This is the third time that Gov. Romney and I have met recently. 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."

On taking a break from the campaign trail, Obama made reference of the pressure he and Romney are under, with the election just a few weeks away.

"In less than three weeks voters in states like Ohio, Virginia and Florida will decide this incredibly important election, which begs the question: What are we doing here?"

The president also made comments on the economy and the killing of Osama bin Laden.

"Of course, the economy is on everybody's minds. The unemployment rate is at its lowest level since I took office, I don't have a joke here, I just thought it would be useful to remind everybody that the unemployment rate is at the lowest it's been since I took office."

On foreign policy Obama issued a spoiler alert:

"Spoiler alert: We got bin Laden."

The president also ensured that he got in a little dig on the GOP's vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan.

"It can be a grind, sometimes it feels like this race has dragged on forever, but Paul Ryan assured me we've only been running for two hours and 50-something minutes."

Making reference to Mitt Romney's wealth Obama talked about going into town for some shopping, while Mitt Romney was shopping for a few stores.

Source: Youtube

While both candidates exchanged a few barbs, it was good to see that all of their jabs were in good taste and that the Benghazi issue was kept out of the mix.

Both candidates are back on the campaign trail on Friday and there is the preparation for the final presidential debate on Monday.

If you like writing about US politics and Campaign 2012, enter "The American Pundit" competition. Allvoices is awarding four $250 prizes each month between now and November. These monthly winners earn eligibility for the $5,000 grand prize, to be awarded after the November election.

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Karl Gotthardt is based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.
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