Thanks for that kind introduction Chuck.I’m honored to be here tonight, and to have this opportunity to represent my people.As you know, my people are one of our nation’s most accomplished minority groups – doctors…lawyers…business owners…and of course, I’m referring to the Republican Party.They say this is a place where you can come and tell jokes about the President…poke fun at yourself…set political ambition aside and just generally say anything you want.Kind of like the Romney campaign.I spoke to Mitt the other day…told him that I was doing the Gridiron dinner…he said that 47 percent of you can’t take a joke.This of course is the night for the Washington press corps and the President to kick back, share a few laughs, not take things seriously and just generally enjoy each other’s company.Kind of like the President’s interview on 60 Minutes.The Gridiron Dinner used to be known as the night the media and the administration set aside their differences -- back in the days when they had some.I was on the treadmill the other day and I caught something about the supreme and infallible leader ordained from on high stepping down, and I got all excited, but then I realized it was just the Pope not the President.You may not realize this, but even though the President may look calm and relaxed…he is sitting here right now quaking in his boots…he’s terrified that I’ll upstage him again…like I did in that State of the Union response a few years ago.Actually…after my infamous State of the Union response in 2009, I appreciate this opportunity to try to be funny on purpose.I think my performance that night would have been better if I had just taken a 10-minute sip of water, interrupted by 30 seconds of speaking.After my disastrous speech…people wrote and said a lot of mean stuff. But when they spoke to me in person, they were kind as can be.But…there was one exception to that. My dad. He called that night and said simply this – “I told you to go to medical school.”But…what a difference a day makes…now some people have asked me if I intend to run for President in 2016?And the answer is that I have no plans to run. I’ve made that clear, over and over again…in Iowa…in New Hampshire…and in South Carolina.There is a reason I’ve got no plans to run.I mean, come on. What chance does a skinny guy with a dark complexion and a funny name have to get elected president of the United States?The truth is – I am too skinny to run. At least that's what my friend Chris Christie keeps telling me.Chris pointed out that my biceps are half the size of Obama’s guns. Not the president's, Michelle’s.You all don’t know this…but the President and I had the exact same campaign slogan years ago.But unfortunately UPS sued both of us and made us stop using it…you remember our slogan– ‘what can brown do for you?’Speaking of brown, I was hoping to see my good friend John Boehner here.We go to the same tanning salon.When I first went to congress, I would always get asked by friends –“hey, have you met my friend congressman so and so.”So I of course responded – I don’t know, all white people look alike to me.After a while…I found a better answer.I would simply say…um...let me think…is he a middle aged white guy, slightly balding, a little thick around the middle?”They would always say – “yep, that’s him”…Worked every time.I did a lot of campaigning in the last election.I was one of Rick Perry's strongest supporters. I supported Rick because he's a loyal friend, a great governor, and…oops…I forget the third reason.I’m now serving my sixth year as governor. That’s the longest I have ever held the same job at the same place since the sixth grade.I was feeling bad for myself, thinking my career had stalled out – but then I remembered it could be worse…I could be Steny Hoyer.You’ll have to excuse me for a second. I’m drying up. I need a drink of water.I was hoping to finally meet Mayor Bloomberg here tonight………that’s a lieI was also hoping to see Harry Reid…..that’s another lieI was actually hoping to see my good friend John McCain here tonight.In 2008, John talked to me about the Vice Presidency. I told John not to consider me or even vet me for VP.I wasn’t ready for the job and I was afraid he might do something crazy…glad we avoided that.I had a meeting with a man earlier today who says that his name is Reince Priebus and he insists that he is Chairman of the Republican Party.Hard to imagine a better name than “Reince Priebus” to connect with the working class people and show that we aren’t one-percenters.At least I had the political foresight at the age of 4 to change my name to Bobby.I see Mark Sanford is running for office again. Sanford was so committed to outsourcing that he even shipped his wife’s job overseas.
It was revealed this week that Sanford asked his ex-wife to run his campaign…Hard to believe Republicans have a gender gap.It gets worse. Sanford offered to pay his ex-wife this time. In Louisiana, if you try to get a woman back in your life by telling her you will pay her…that’s called solicitation.Unfortunately, there has been an uptick in sex scandals in Washington D.C. these days.The Menendez scandal is disturbing. Soliciting prostitution is completely unacceptable. We would never put up with that in Louisiana.Great to see the new Senator from Massachusetts – Elizabeth Warren. My staff tells me we’ve got a lot in common.Well from one Indian politician to another, I want to wish you all the best in your new job.I ran into Joe Biden earlier today. I don’t think he recognized me though. He asked me to go get him a Slurpee.You know, sometimes I wonder where we would be without Vice President Biden. And then I realize: Pretty much exactly where we are right now.I see Eric Holder is with us tonight. I actually heard a rumor that due to sequestration, the attorney general can only afford to ship a couple hundred illegal guns across the border this year.I saw a bumper sticker on the way over here that said, “Honk if you’ve been released by Janet Napolitano.”I understand that to save money – the President’s Secret Service detail is being replaced by Joe Biden with a shotgun.Mr. President, I see a lot of famous people here tonight. Some of our top journalists. I don't see Bob Woodward, though. He sends his…regrets.It’s good to see Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper here. Somebody better find a Taco Bell that’s open late, I’m sure he’ll have the munchies later.You know, a lot of people warned me that if I voted for Mitt Romney, a Wall Street robber baron who hid his money in secretive Grand Cayman bank accounts would end up running the U.S. Treasury.I see Jack Lew is here tonight. Good thing that job went to you instead, Jack.Speaking of cabinet secretaries. Mr. President, while it was a nice bipartisan gesture, I still think it was a bad idea to have Romney’s pollsters prepare Chuck Hagel for his confirmation hearing…And Mr. President I want to commend you on your inspired choice for Secretary of State.Someone whose integrity and experience inform the world of your Administration’s seriousness and depth.Let’s all give Dennis Rodman a hand.Speaking of athletes. I saw that the President went golfing with Tiger Woods recently. Tiger reportedly said the President has “amazing touch.”The last time Tiger said that he lost millions in endorsements and a hot Swedish wife.
This may surprise you, but I’m looking forward to President Obama’s second term.It will be refreshing to hear him stop blaming all the country’s problems on the last four years.People say that the President and I both have trouble laughing at ourselves.We can't laugh at ourselves. That would be racist.My home state of Louisiana is of course known for colorful politicians.You may have heard that when our former Governor Edwin Edwards got out of jail last year he immediately married a woman 50 years his younger.But you may not have read his quote about that…and I’m not making this up…he said “you’re only as young as the woman you feel.”My wife didn’t feel that was funny.David Duke was colorful…his favorite color was white.This has been great fun here tonight.I’m sure that my parents could never have imagined me standing here, particularly after my State of the Union Response.This dinner is a sign of America’s greatness.The press makes fun of the person running the country, the President makes fun of himself, the opposition party pokes fun at the party in power…and no one gets arrested.One serious note in closing -- Having immigrant parents is not always the easiest thing…there are language issues, assimilation issues, and the like.But I will tell you this -- The greatest thing about having parents who are immigrants, is that they force you to understand the value and uniqueness of our freedom.Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion…you name it, they put great value on it and they never take it for granted.And to them, there is no greater person than the one who has sacrificed all to keep us free.I want to thank you all for letting me participate in this little piece of freedom here tonight.Good night and God Bless.
March 11, 2013 at 12:29 PM EDT