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Obama, Romney's fun night: 'Biden will laugh at anything'

Last updated on: October 19, 2012 15:28 IST

Obama, Romney's FUN NIGHT amid grueling campaign

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Two nights after they clashed at a fierce presidential debate, United States President Barack Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney shared the stage again at a high-profile charity dinner in New York, this time trading light-hearted jabs, poking fun at each other and at the bitter election campaign.

Taking a breather from the grueling and high-stakes presidential campaign, the two men delivered self-deprecating and comic speeches at the Alfred Smith Dinner, which is a charity benefit organised by the Catholic Archdiocese of New York in midtown Manhattan.

The annual event hosts the presidential candidates every four years offering them a lighthearted break just weeks before the bitter race to the White House ends. It is held in the memory of Al Smith, the former Democratic governor of New York and one-time Democratic nominee for president.

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Image: U.S. President Obama and Mitt Romney meet on stage at the 67th Annual Alfred E Smith Memorial Foundation dinner in New York
Photographs: Jason Reed/Reuters

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Dressed formally in white tie and tuxedos, Obama and Romney poked fun at themselves, at their rivals and joked about their running mates.

"This is the third time that Governor Romney and I have met recently," Obama said, speaking after Romney.

"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," he said taking a dig at his lacklustre performance in the first presidential debate in Denver.

Obama again poked fun at his performance in the first debate, which fell on the day of his wedding anniversary.

"There are worse things that can happen to you on your anniversary than forgetting to buy a gift," Obama quipped.

The two presidential candidates will again meet on October 22 for the third and final debate.

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Image: Mitt Romney speaks to Obama on stage at the Alfred E Smith Memorial Foundation dinner in New York
Photographs: Jason Reed/Reuters
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"Monday's debate is a little bit different because the topic is foreign policy," Obama said.

"Spoiler alert: We got Bin Laden."

Obama, who got a standing ovation as he appeared on stage, began his speech by asking everyone to "please take their seats. Otherwise Clint Eastwood will yell at them."

He quipped both he and Romney have unusual names.

Romney, whose full name is Willard Mitt Romney, goes by his middle name. "I wish I could use my middle name," Obama, whose middle name is Hussein, joked.

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Image: Obama and Romney share a laugh with Cardinal Dolan at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation dinner in New York
Photographs: Jason Reed/Reuters

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'I have my beautiful wife Ann; Obama has Bill Clinton'

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The president also poked fun at Romney's overseas trip this summer in which the Republican drew criticism from the British people for questioning London's preparedness to host the Olympics.

"Of course, world affairs are a challenge for every candidate," Obama said.

"After my foreign trip in 2008, I was attacked as a celebrity because I was so popular with our allies overseas. And I have to say, I'm impressed with how well Governor Romney has avoided that problem."

At that, Obama looked over to make eye contact with Romney and the two laughed.

Romney was seated close to Obama and was separated only by archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

In his remarks Romney said, "We were chatting pleasantly this evening as if Tuesday night never happened."

Romney said he and Obama are both "very lucky to have one person who's always in our corner, someone who we can lean on and someone who is a comforting presence without whom we wouldn't be able to go another day. I have my beautiful wife, Ann; he has Bill Clinton."

Taking a shot at the media, Romney joked that he had "already seen early reports from tonight's dinner. Headline: 'Obama Embraced by Catholics, Romney Dines with Rich People.'"

Both candidates made Vice President Joe Biden a butt of their jokes.

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Image: Obama listens to Romney speak at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation dinner in New York
Photographs: Jason Reed/Reuters

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'Biden will laugh at anything'

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Obama remarked much had changed since he first addressed this dinner in 2008.

"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.'"

Romney said he had hoped the vice president had attended the dinner "because he'll laugh at anything," referring to the smirks and laughs Biden gave during the vice-presidential debate with Republican candidate Paul Ryan.

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Image: Obama and Romney are pictured on stage at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation dinner in New York
Photographs: Jason Reed/Reuters

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'Romney went shopping for some stores in Midtown'

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With New York's rich and powerful among the 1600 guests in attendance at the dinner, Romney said Obama must have had some thoughts as he looked out at the event's gathering.

"You have to wonder what he's thinking: So little time, so much to redistribute," he said.

Obama too made fun of Romney's wealth.

"Earlier I went shopping at some stores in Midtown. I understand Governor Romney went shopping for some stores in Midtown," he said.

 


Image: Cardinal Dolan shares a laugh with Obama, Romney and his wife Ann at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation dinner in New York
Photographs: Jason Reed/Reuters

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