The entire political world -- as well a declining-but-still-large number of celebrities -- descended on the Washington Hilton Saturday night for the White House Correspondents Dinner.
While I live-tweeted it -- as best as I could given the disastrously bad Verizon service in the ballroom -- I had a few more thoughts about the political weekend that was. They're below. And, if you want to watch President Obama's speech at the dinner, it's here.
1. The Chris Christie "fat" jokes aren't going anywhere. But they should. While plenty of politicians came in from some polite ribbing from actor/comedian Joel McHale, the governor of New Jersey got some what we would consider impolite ribbing over his weight. "I got a lot of these tonight, so buckle up, Governor Christie," said McHale. "Excuse me, extender buckle up. I deserve that. I agree on that one. You’re right on." At another point, McHale said "speaking of digestive systems, Chris Christie is here." It went on (and on). Christie reacted well but he has expressed annoyance in the past with jokes about his weight.
— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) April 23, 2014
Plus, there's also the fact that Christie simply isn't that heavy anymore. He has clearly lost a considerable amount of weight since undergoing
gastric bypass lap-band surgery last year. Which raises this point: If Christie continues to lose weight at his current pace, fat jokes won't make much sense by the time he announces for president.
2. Everyone expects Hillary Clinton to run for president. No, she hasn't made up her mind just yet. But, on Saturday Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine endorsed the possibility of her presidential bid and later that night President Obama referred -- on two occasions -- to the idea of Clinton not only running for president but winning. "Let’s face it, Fox [News Channel], you’ll miss me when I’m gone," Obama joked. "It will be harder to convince the American people that Hillary was born in Kenya." While there are downsides to everyone assuming you will be your party's presidential nominee -- expectations, anyone? -- there's a lot more good than bad than that accrues to Clinton for that perception.
3. Everyone sees Joe Biden as a joker. The Vice President wasn't at the dinner but he was a subject of much discussion. First, there was this amazing video that Biden and "Veep" star Julia Louis-Dreyfus cut.
Then there was Obama joking about the shoe-throwing incident at a Hillary speech in Las Vegas -- revealing a photo-shopped image of Biden holding a shoe.
All good stuff -- and funny. But, all reinforcing the idea that Biden is more class clown than class president.
4. Rand Paul is playing the game right. Rather than spend the weekend at the D.C. schmooze-fest, the Kentucky Senator and near-certain presidential candidate spent his Saturday at the Kentucky Derby. With Rupert Murdoch. Here's the New York Times' Jason Horowitz on the coupling: "It was part getting-to-know-you and part political audition, and marked a potential turn in the race for president." Paul understands his weaknesses -- seen as too risky to the establishment of the party being the main one -- better than most candidates. His move over the weekend made that clear (again).
5. Getting made fun of is bad. Not getting made fun of is worse. Say what you will about the hits Christie and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz took from the dais -- and they took lots. But, better to be relevant enough to the political conversation for the President or McHale to feel safe poking fun rather than be simply unmentioned. Hello Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Marco Rubio.
6. Major Garrett and George Condon won the night. This happened.