The Washington Post

Alfred E. Smith Dinner: The top 10 quips (VIDEO)

For months, President Obama and Mitt Romney have been trading attacks on the campaign trail. But on Thursday night, they took a break to exchange a few jokes about themselves and each other at the Alfred E. Smith dinner in New York.

The Post’s Philip Rucker, Dan Balz and David Nakamura covered the Catholic Archdiocese of New York’s annual charity benefit, which wasn’t short on one-liners. The candidates cracked wise on topics ranging from Obama’s debating skills to Romney’s wealth, and even New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) political ambitions.

Below is a rundown of each candidate’s top quips from Thursday night, along with video highlights: 


* On the debates: “As some of you may have noticed, I had a lot more energy at our second debate. I felt really well rested after the nice, long nap I had in the first debate.”

* On Romney’s wealth: “Earlier today, I went shopping at some stores in Midtown. I understand Governor Romney went shopping for some stores in Midtown.”

* On Vice President Biden: “It’s been four years since I was last at the Al Smith Dinner. And I have to admit some things have changed since then. 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 step?’ And I say, ‘Settle down, Joe, I'm trying to run a Cabinet meeting.’”

* On middle names: “Tonight is not about the disagreements Governor Romney and I may have. It’s what we have in common -- beginning with our unusual names. Actually, Mitt is his middle name. I wish I could use my middle name.”

* On Cuomo’s ambitions: “Tonight I am here with a man whose father was a popular governor, and who knows what it's like to run a major Northeastern state, and who could very well be president someday -- and I'm hoping it is Andrew Cuomo.”


* On his persona: “A campaign can require a lot of wardrobe changes — blue jeans in the morning, perhaps, suits for a lunch fundraiser, sport coat for dinner — but it’s nice to finally relax and wear what Ann and I wear around the house.”

* On the people he and Obama always have in their corner: “I have my beautiful wife, Ann; he has Bill Clinton.”

* On Biden: “I was actually hoping the president would bring Joe Biden along this evening, because he’ll laugh at anything.”

* On the monthly jobs report: “He knows how to seize the moment, this president. He already has a compelling new campaign slogan: 'You’re better off now than you were four weeks ago.'”

* On his “Sesame Street” remark: “In the spirit of Sesame Street, the president's remarks tonight are brought you by the letter ‘O’ and the number 16 trillion.”

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.

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