- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 22, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - With President Barack Obama absent, Vice President Joe Biden poked fun at his boss’ do-no-wrong reputation during an annual white-tie gathering of journalists and government officials.

Obama was the first president in decades not to attend the Gridiron Club dinner during his first year in office. He spent the weekend at Camp David with his family, skipping the Saturday night event because he was busy preparing for Easter, Biden said.

“He thinks it’s about him,” Biden said of the holiday.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Republican speaker at the dinner, had another explanation for the media and politicians assembled at a downtown Washington ballroom for the festivities.

“He’s just not that into you,” Schwarzenegger said, referring to the book and movie with that title.

The club’s 124th dinner was an opportunity for reporters to make fun of public figures and political themes of the day. It also allowed prominent politicians to needle each other.

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, the Democratic speaker, said former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, the Republican governor of Alaska, really set back the cause of “hot governors.”

“You know where I’m coming from, Ed Rendell,” she said, referring to Pennsylvania’s Democratic governor.

Much of the evening’s dark humor focused on the financial crisis.

Biden said Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, in attendance for much of the event, is “always there when you need money, no questions asked.”

The humor also addressed Democrats’ challenges in governing during tough times. In a sendup of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., someone impersonating the top House Democrat sang “Imperial Girl” to the tune of Madonna’s “Material Girl.”

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On the Net:

Gridiron Club: http://www.gridironclub.org

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