President Obama at White House Correspondents Dinner

President Obama at White House Correspondents Dinner


Speaker:
And without further a do, I’d
like to introduce the President of the United States. (applause) ♪♪ (music playing) ♪♪ The President:
Thank you. (applause) Thank you, everybody. (laughter) How do you like my
new entrance music? (applause) Rush Limbaugh warned you about
this — second term, baby. (laughter and applause) We’re changing things
around here a little bit. (laughter) Actually, my advisors were a
little worried about the new rap entrance music. (laughter) They are a little
more traditional. They suggested that I should
start with some jokes at my own expense, just take
myself down a peg. I was like, guys, after
four and a half years, how many pegs are there left? (laughter) I want to thank the White
House Correspondents. Ed, you’re doing
an outstanding job. We are grateful for — (applause) — the great work you’ve done. To all the dignitaries
who are here, everybody on the dais — I
especially want to say thank you to Ray Odierno, who does
outstanding service on behalf of our country, and
all our men and women in uniform every single day. (applause) And of course, our extraordinary
First Lady, Michelle Obama. (applause) Everybody loves Michelle. (laughter) She’s on the cover of
Vogue, high poll numbers. But don’t worry — I recently
got my own magazine cover. (laughter) Now, look, I get it. These days, I look in the
mirror and I have to admit, I’m not the strapping young
Muslim socialist that I used to be. (laughter) Time passes. You get a little gray. (laughter) And yet, even after
all this time, I still make rookie mistakes. Like, I’m out in California,
we’re at a fundraiser, we’re having a nice time. I happen to mention that Kamala
Harris is the best-looking attorney general in the country. (laughter) As you might imagine, I got
trouble when I got back home. (laughter) Who knew Eric Holder
was so sensitive? (laughter and applause) And then there’s
the Easter Egg Roll, which is supposed to be just a
nice, fun event with the kids. I go out on the
basketball court, took 22 shots —
made two of them. (laughter) That’s right: two
hits, 20 misses. The executives at NBC
asked, “What’s your secret?” (laughter and applause) So, yes, maybe I
have lost a step. But some things are
beyond my control. For example, this whole
controversy about Jaz-Z going to Cuba —
it’s unbelievable. I’ve got 99 problems
and now Jay-Z is one. (laughter and applause) That’s another rap
reference, Bill. (laughter) I’ll let you know. (applause) Of course, everybody has
got plenty of advice. Maureen Dowd said I could solve
all my problems if I were just more like Michael Douglas
in “The American President.” (laughter) And I know Michael
is here tonight. Michael, what’s
your secret, man? (laughter) Could it be that you were
an actor in an Aaron Sorkin liberal fantasy? (laughter) Might that have
something to do with it? (applause) I don’t know. Check in with me. Maybe it’s something else. (laughter) Anyway, I recognize that this
job can take a toll on you. I understand — second term,
you need a burst of new energy, try some new things. And my team and I
talked about it. We were willing to try anything. So we borrowed one
of Michelle’s tricks. (laughter and applause) I thought this looked
pretty good, but no bounce. (laughter) I want to give a shout-out to
our headliner, Conan O’Brien. (applause) I was just talking to Ed, and
I understand that when the Correspondents’ Association was
considering Conan for this gig, they were faced with that
age-old dilemma: Do you offer it to him now, or wait for
five years and then give it to Jimmy Fallon? (laughter) That was a little harsh. (laughter) I love Conan. And of course, the White
House press corps is here. I know CNN has taken
some knocks lately, but the fact is I admire their
commitment to cover all sides of a story, just in case one of
them happens to be accurate. (laughter and applause) Some of my former advisors have
switched over to the dark side. For example, David Axelrod
now works for MSNBC, which is a nice change of pace
since MSNBC used to work for David Axelrod. (laughter) The History Channel is not here. I guess they were
embarrassed about the whole Obama-is-a-devil thing. (laughter) Of course, that never kept
Fox News from showing up. (laughter) They actually thought the
comparison was not fair — to Satan. (laughter and applause) But the problem is, is
that the media landscape is changing so rapidly. You can’t keep up with it. I mean, I remember when BuzzFeed
was just something I did in college around 2:00 a.m. (laughter) It’s true. (laughter) Recently, though, I found a new
favorite source for political news — these guys are great. I think everybody here
should check it out, they tell it like it is. It’s called WhiteHouse.gov. (laughter) I cannot get enough of it. The fact is I really
do respect the press. I recognize that the press and
I have different jobs to do. My job is to be President;
your job is to keep me humble. Frankly, I think I’m
doing my job better. (laughter and applause) But part of the problem is
everybody is so cynical. I mean, we’re constantly
feeding cynicism, suspicion, conspiracies. You remember a few months ago,
my administration put out a photograph of me going skeet
shooting at Camp David? You remember that? And quite a number of
people insisted that this had been photoshopped. But tonight I have something
to confess: You were right. Guys, can we show
them the actual photo? (laughter) We were just trying to
tone it down a little bit. (laughter) That was an awesome day. (laughter) There are other new players in
the media landscape as well, like super PACs. Did you know that Sheldon
Adelson spent $100 million of his own money last
year on negative ads? You’ve got to
really dislike me — (laughter) — to spend that kind of money. I mean, that’s Oprah money. (laughter) You could buy an island
and call it “Nobama” for that kind of money. (laughter) Sheldon would have been better
off offering me $100 million to drop out of the race. (laughter and applause) I probably wouldn’t
have taken it, but I’d have thought about it. (laughter) Michelle would have taken it. (laughter) You think I’m joking? (laughter) I know Republicans are still
sorting out what happened in 2012, but one thing they all
agree on is they need to do a better job reaching
out to minorities. And look, call me self-centered,
but I can think of one minority they could start with. (laughter) Hello? Think of me as
a trial run, you know? (laughter) See how it goes. (laughter) If they won’t come to
me, I will come to them. Recently, I had dinner —
it’s been well publicized — I had dinner with a number
of the Republican senators. And I’ll admit it wasn’t easy. I proposed a toast —
it died in committee. (laughter) Of course, even after
I’ve done all this, some folks still don’t think I
spend enough time with Congress. “Why don’t you get
a drink with Mitch McConnell?” they ask. Really? (laughter) Why don’t you get a drink
with Mitch McConnell? (laughter and applause) I’m sorry. I get frustrated sometimes. (laughter) I am not giving up. In fact, I’m taking my charm
offensive on the road — a Texas barbeque with Ted Cruz, a
Kentucky bluegrass concert with Rand Paul, and a book-burning
with Michele Bachmann. (laughter and applause) My charm offensive has helped
me learn some interesting things about what’s going on in
Congress — it turns out, absolutely nothing. (laughter) But the point of my
charm offensive is simple: We need to make progress
on some important issues. Take the sequester. Republicans fell in
love with this thing, and now they can’t stop talking
about how much they hate it. It’s like we’re trapped
in a Taylor Swift album. (laughter) One senator who has reached
across the aisle recently is Marco Rubio, but I
don’t know about 2016. I mean, the guy has not even
finished a single term in the Senate and he thinks he’s
ready to be President. (laughter and applause) Kids these days. (laughter) I, on the other hand,
have run my last campaign. On Thursday, as Ed mentioned, I
went to the opening of the Bush Presidential Library in Dallas. It was a wonderful event, and
that inspired me to get started on my own legacy, which will
actually begin by building another edifice right next
to the Bush Library — can we show that, please? (laughter) I’m also hard at work on
plans for the Obama Library. And some have suggested that
we put it in my birthplace, but I’d rather keep it
in the United States. (laughter) Did anybody not see
that joke coming? (laughter) Show of hands. Only Gallup? Maybe Dick Morris? (laughter and applause) Now, speaking of presidents
and their legacies, I want to acknowledge
a wonderful friend, Steven Spielberg, and Daniel
Day-Lewis, who are here tonight. (applause) We had a screening of their
most recent film, Lincoln, which was an extraordinary film. I am a little nervous, though,
about Steven’s next project. I saw a behind-the-scenes
look on HBO — well, let’s just check it out. Roll the tape. Steven Spielberg:
Well, I was thrilled that
Lincoln was a success, and as I was thinking
about what to do next, it — in the middle of the night
I woke up and it hit me, Obama. I mean, the guy’s already
a lame duck, so why wait? Picking the right actor to play
Obama, that was the challenge. I mean, who is Obama really? We don’t know. We never got his transcripts and
they say he’s kind of aloof. So I needed someone who
could dive in and really become Barack Obama. And as it turns out, the
answer was right in front of me all along. Daniel Day-Lewis. He becomes his characters. Hawkeye, from “Last
of the Mohicans,” and Bill the Butcher
from “Gangs in New York,” and Abraham
Lincoln in “Lincoln.” And you know what? He nailed it. The President:
Was it hard playing Obama? I’ll be honest, yeah, it was. This accent took a while. Hello, Ohio. Hello, Ohio. I love you back. Look, look, let me
be clear about this. The cosmetics were challenging. I mean, you wouldn’t believe how
long it takes to put these ears on in the morning. I don’t know how he walks
around with these things. ♪♪ (music playing) ♪♪ Steven Spielberg:
Once we had Daniel
to play Obama, we had to cast the
rest of his team, and I think we’ve got some
pretty terrific performances. Tracy Morgan:
Working with a legend
like Daniel is intimidating, but he makes everyone
better, you know. Without him I never could have
played Joe Biden, literally. Hi, I’m Joe Biden. ♪♪ (music playing) ♪♪ The President:
The hardest part, trying to
understand his motivations. Why did he pursue
health care first? What makes him tick? Why doesn’t he get mad? If I were him, I’d
be mad all the time. But I’m not him, I’m
Daniel Day-Lewis. ♪♪ (music playing) ♪♪ (laughter and applause) It’s a remarkable
transformation. Do I really sound like
that, though, honey? (laughter) Groucho Marx once said
— and, Senator Cruz, that’s Groucho Marx, not Karl. That’s the other guy. (laughter) Groucho Marx once told an
audience, “Before I speak, I have something
important to say.” (laughter) And along those same lines,
I want to close on a more serious note. Obviously, there has been no
shortage of news to cover over these past few weeks. And these have been some
very hard days for too many of our citizens. Even as we gather here tonight,
our thoughts are not far from the people of Boston and
the people of West, Texas. There are families in the
Midwest who are coping with some terrible floods. So we’ve had some
difficult days. But even when the
days seemed darkest, we have seen humanity
shine at its brightest. We’ve seen first responders
and National Guardsmen who have dashed into danger, law
enforcement officers who lived their oath to serve
and to protect, and every day Americans who are
opening their homes and their hearts to perfect strangers. And we also saw journalists at
their best — especially those who took the time to wade
upstream through the torrent of digital rumors to chase
down leads and verify facts and painstakingly put the
pieces together to inform, and to educate, and to
tell stories that demanded to be told. If anyone wonders, for example,
whether newspapers are a thing of the past, all you needed to
do was to pick up or log on to papers like the Boston Globe. (applause) When their communities and the
wider world needed them most, they were there making sense of
events that might at first blush seem beyond our comprehension. And that’s what
great journalism is, and that’s what
great journalists do. And that’s why, for example,
Pete Williams’ new nickname around the NBC
newsroom is “Big Papi.” (applause) And in these past few weeks,
as I’ve gotten a chance to meet many of the first responders
and the police officers and volunteers who raced to
help when hardship hits, I was reminded, as I’m always
reminded when I meet our men and women in uniform, whether
they’re in war theater, or here back home, or at Walter
Reed in Bethesda — I’m reminded that all these folks, they
don’t do it to be honored, they don’t do it
to be celebrated. They do it because they love
their families and they love their neighborhoods and
they love their country. And so, these men and women
should inspire all of us in this room to live up to
those same standards; to be worthy of their trust;
to do our jobs with the same fidelity, and the
same integrity, and the same sense of purpose,
and the same love of country. Because if we’re only focused
on profits or ratings or polls, then we’re contributing to the
cynicism that so many people feel right now. (applause) And so, those of us
in this room tonight, we are incredibly lucky. And the fact is, we can
do better — all of us. Those of us in public office,
those of us in the press, those who produce entertainment
for our kids, those with power, those with influence — all
of us, including myself, we can strive to value those
things that I suspect led most of us to do the work that we do
in the first place — because we believed in something
that was true, and we believed in service,
and the idea that we can have a lasting, positive impact on the
lives of the people around us. And that’s our obligation. That’s a task we should gladly
embrace on behalf of all of those folks who
are counting on us; on behalf of this country
that’s given us so much. So thank you all, to the White
House Correspondents for the great work you do. God bless you all. May God bless the United
States of America. (applause)

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