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Obama Pokes Fun at Friends and Enemies at Washington Dinner

  • VOA News

President Barack Obama cracked jokes at fellow politicians, the press and himself at the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner at the Washington Hilton in Washington, April 30, 2016.

President Barack Obama cracked jokes at fellow politicians, the press and himself at the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner at the Washington Hilton in Washington, April 30, 2016.

U.S. President Barack Obama was the main attraction as journalists, politicians and celebrities attended the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner Saturday night in Washington.

It was a chance for Obama to poke fun one last time at himself as well as his friends, enemies, the media and Congress.

The president described himself as "gray, grizzled ... just counting down the days to my death panel."

Critics of his program for universal health care -- Obamacare -- had wrongly predicted death panels would decide the fate of seriously ill patients.

'Next year'

In a reference to the upcoming presidential election, Obama said, "Next year at this time someone else will be standing here in this very spot, and it's anyone's guess who she will be." Of course, Democrat Hillary Clinton is the only woman in the race.

WATCH: Related video from annual dinner

In another reference to Clinton, who has reportedly made millions of dollars from speeches to various high-powered businesses, Obama said, "If this material goes well, I'm going to use it at Goldman Sachs next year."

Republican candidate

The notoriously thin-skinned Donald Trump -- the Republican presidential candidate who leads in delegate counts so far -- did not attend the dinner.

Trump was in attendance last year, but was reportedly not amused by the jokes the president directed at him.

Obama said this year, "They say Donald lacks the foreign policy experience to be president. But in fairness, he has spent years meeting with leaders from around the world: Miss Sweden, Miss Argentina, Miss Azerbaijan."

The president was referencing Trump's role as a co-owner of the Miss Universe contest.

U.S. President Barack Obama, left, listens to comedian Larry Wilmore at the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner in Washington, April 30, 2016.

U.S. President Barack Obama, left, listens to comedian Larry Wilmore at the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner in Washington, April 30, 2016.

Many political and administration figures were in attendance at the black-tie affair, including Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde and Bernie Sanders -- the other Democratic presidential hopeful.

Among the many film and television performers at the event were Oscar winners Helen Mirren and Jared Leto, actors Bryan Cranston, Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum, singer Aretha Franklin, actress Emma Watson, and the producer of the ABC-TV hit Scandal Shonda Rhimes, along with the stars of the show -- an American political thriller -- Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn.

Obama ended his remarks with "Obama, out," and then deliberately dropped his microphone, a gesture that has come to symbolize someone who is indisputably victorious.

Obama was a tough act to follow, but comedian and host of Comedy Central TV's The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore, was up to the challenge, delivering funny and controversial remarks.

Mexico reference

Wilmore also targeted Trump, joking that next year the dinner will be called "Donald Trump presents a luxurious evening paid for by Mexico."

Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin heads to a reception at the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner at the Washington Hilton in Washington, April 30, 2016.

Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin heads to a reception at the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner at the Washington Hilton in Washington, April 30, 2016.

Trump has famously promised, if elected, to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico to thwart immigration and to force Mexico to pay for it.

Wilmore's most controversial remark was his use of a derogatory term for black people. Its use in reference to the president prompted much discussion by news pundits and will undoubtedly be the subject of more discussion in days to come.

The dinner, a long-running tradition organized by the White House Correspondents Association, has morphed from being a relatively low-key gathering of journalists and their sources from around town into a much-anticipated televised event.

But the dinner -- part of a weekend of events -- also draws an annual chorus of condemnation from critics who say that laughing and partying with sources is not conducive to hard-hitting journalism.

It also is an event that helps fund scholarships and awards that recognize journalists.

PHOTO GALLERY: Related photos of White House Correspondents Association dinner

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