US Election: Barack Obama and Mitt Romney trade jokes at Al Smith dinner

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney mocked the election and each other during speeches at the Al Smith dinner.

By Raf Sanchez, Washington
5:33AM BST 19 Oct 2012

A Democrat, a Catholic cardinal and a Republican walked into a hotel ballroom.

This wasn’t the set up of a joke but rather the seating plan for the Al Smith dinner, a white-tie charity event where Barack Obama and Mitt Romney

The two candidates both raised riotous laughter at the fundraising gala in Manhattan, enjoying a few hours of political ceasefire as they sat on either side of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, America’s most senior Catholic.

Obama and Romney with Cardinal Timothy Dolan during the Archdiocese of New York’s 67th Annual Alfred. E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner (AP)

Mr Romney was the first to take the stage at the event, named after the former New York governor who in 1928 became the first Catholic to become a major candidate for the White House.

The Republican – who once awkwardly told an interviewer: “I love humour” – is not well-known for his ability to tell jokes.

But within moments he had the crowd of politicians, celebrities and millionaires laughing as he described how the strict dress code gave him a chance to “relax and wear what Ann and I wear around the house”.

Nodding towards the ill-tempered presidential debate earlier this week, Mr Romney said he and the President “were chatting pleasantly this evening as if Tuesday night had never happened”.

He repeatedly made fun of his Mormon faith’s prohibition on alcohol saying “usually when I get invited to gatherings like this it’s just to be the designated driver” and joking that the Cardinal might spitefully turn his water into wine.

Mr Romney said that life on the campaign trail could be gruelling but that both he and Mr Obama had “someone who’s a comforting presence without whom we wouldn’t be able to go another day. I have my beautiful wife Ann and he has Bill Clinton”.

The Republican also reprised the old refrain that America’s “liberal media” will always look to undermine conservative candidates. He imagined a headline for the night’s event reading: “Obama embraced by Catholics, Romney dines with rich people”.

“My job is to lay out a positive vision for the future of the country and [the media’s] job is to make sure no one else finds out about it,” he told the audience, which included many of the US’s best-known television anchors.

While Mr Romney was accompanied by his wife Ann, the President appeared without Michelle Obama. But he saluted her in her absence, saying that voters across the country told him the same thing: “Honestly, we were hoping see Michelle”.

Mr Obama told the applauding crowd to take their seats “otherwise Clint Eastwood will yell at them before mercilessly ridiculing his own half-hearted performance in the first presidential debate.

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

He added that he didn’t lose heart because millions of Americans paid attention in the second debate even if they didn’t in the first. “I happened to be one of them,” he quipped.

Mr Obama offered a preview of his strategy for the third debate, which will focus on foreign policy. “Spoiler alert: we got bin Laden,” he said.

He noted that shortly before his last appearance at the dinner in 2008, he returned from an overseas trip but was attacked “because I was so popular with our allies overseas.”

“I have to say I’m impressed with how well Governor Romney has avoided that problem,” he said, in a mocking reference to the Republican’s disastrous trip to London on the eve of the Olympics.

The President, whose full name is Barack Hussein Obama, suggested that despite their political differences the two men have much in common “beginning with our unusual names”.

“Actually Mitt is his middle name. I wish I could use my middle name,” Mr Obama lamented.

As is traditional both men ended their speech with a few serious moments in which they praised each other and vowed to always put country before party.

Mr Obama described his opponent as a “family man and a loving father” and while Mr Romney said: “Our 44th president has many gifts and a beautiful family that would make any man proud”.

And with that, as laughter and the clink of fine china still echoed through the Waldorf-Astoria ballroom, the two candidates shook hands and headed back to the campaign trail.


  • This is where the American Pope, Cardinal Dolan greets his two proxy puppets before the sham of a so-called U.S. Election takes place. The Vatican has already selected their man way before the election takes place. The two proxy puppets chosen basically take the piss all the way through of the scam they are about to take place in. It is clear though that Obama does not like Mitt Romney, I cannot stand this guy either he’s a George H.W. Bush front for the Order of Malta and their Deutsche Verteidigungs Dienst thugs who hide in the Directorate for Intelligence division of the Central Intelligence Agency. May I remind you that Cardinal Dolan bows to Jesuit soldier, Thomas Smolich SJ the master of Georgetown ‘military fortress’ University the birth place of U.S. terrorist foreign policy. May I remind you that Al-Qaeda was created by Jesuit Georgetown trained Kristine Marcy the daughter-in-law of Carl M. Marcy. She did this through her Secret Executive Service via the U.S. Small Business Administrations 8(a) program.

    Remember the comments by George W. Bush about these people being the elite when he visited the Al Smith Dinner. Note how they have to dress-up for this event with the bow-tie. You will always see this dress-up when politicians are closer to their masters. The same is true of U.K. politicians when they enter the powerful Mansion House on the City of London (New Jerusalem). This is where the true power is at my friends not the proxy sham for the public to view.

    -= The Unhived Mind

      • Knight of Malta, Tony Blair screwed Al-Gore Jr from the Presidency by transferring £3 million from Barclays bank through a Humewood British Secret Intelligence Service proprietary fund. These funds were laundered into Bear Stearns in Florida. The same State run by 4th Degree Knight of Columbus, Jeb Bush the brother of George W. Bush. These funds were dished out to vote officials and media like the Cable News Network run by Knight of Malta, Ted Turner. May I remind you all that George H.W. Bush is a Knight of Malta. These all serve their Papal masters and the Bush’s are the visible heads of the Nazi SS continuum hiding in the Directorate for Intelligence division of the Central Intelligence Agency run by the Order of Malta. The Order of Malta is commanded by a Cardinal Grandmaster who commands all recognized Knights of Malta through The Alliance of the Orders of St John of Jerusalem.

        -= The Unhived Mind

  • Obama And McCain Attend Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner


    In This Photo: Barack Obama, Charles Schumer, Robert Wright, Tim Joyce, Bishop Sullivan, Peter Johnson, Chris Quick

    Democratic presidential nominee U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) (L) sits next to (L-R) Chris Quick, Tim Joyce, Robert Wright, Peter Johnson, Charles Schumer and Bishop Sullivan at the 2008 Alfred E. Smith Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel October 16, 2008 in New York City. Appearing at the Alfred Smith dinner is a tradition for presidential candidates, with both major nominees usually attending during the election year. (Photo by Yana Paskova-Pool/Getty Images) * Local Caption * Bishop Sullivan;Charles Schumer;Peter Johnson;Robert Wright;Tim Joyce;Chris Quick;Barack Obama

    • Knight of Malta, Chris Quick is an Irish Catholic who is Jesuit trained at Fairfield University. Quick also sits on the Fairfield’s Board of Trustees and is a member of the Board of Directors for this Al Smith Memorial Foundation. He is also tied to the Jesuit Order’s Bank of America. Remember Bank of America was once known as Bank of Italy in San Francisco. San Francisco has been controlled by the Jesuit Order since 1850. Chris Quick was the former vice-Chairman of Bank of America and is currently the vice-Chairman of Bank of America’s Global Wealth and Investment management.

      -= The Unhived Mind

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