- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 4, 2014

The botched health care site, Malaysian Airlines and midterm elections were all fair game Saturday at the 100th annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

Celebrities and politicians laughed and cheered President Obama and host Joel McHale as they poked fun at everything from the beleaguered launch of the government healthcare site to foreign leaders.

“That could have gone better,” the president said of the health insurance site launch. “In 2008 my slogan was ‘yes we can.’ In 2013 it was control, alt, delete.’ “


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Mr. McHale pointed out it was hard to quantify how terrible a launch the site really had because it serves as the basis for analogies.

“The website is now what they use to describe other bad things,” Mr. McHale said.

Even former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made a brief appearance, stepping on stage to assist the president in restarting a frozen video screen — a common problem when the insurance site first launched.

The dinner, where movie and television stars mingle with lawmakers and reporters, was held at the ballroom of the Washington Hilton Hotel.

Prior to the speeches, a video spoof starring Vice President Joseph R. Biden and Julia Louis Dreyfus, who plays one on television, showed the two on a series of adventures, including sneaking ice cream from the White House kitchen and getting tattoos with Nancy Pelosi.

After stepping to the podium, Mr Obama asked for the “new” set up, in which staff placed two ferns on either side of him — a nod to his wildly successful appearance on the online video series “Between Two Ferns,” with comedian Zach Galifianakis.

His short speech to the glitzy crowd ranged from mockery of CNN’s constant coverage of the missing Malaysian Airlines, to the quick rise and fall of Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy.

“Just a tip for you,” Mr. Obama said in reference to Mr. Bundy’s comments about “the negro.” “Don’t start your sentence that way.”

He also pointed out that Republicans were even beginning to care more about other politicians.

“The House of Representatives is giving John Boehner a harder time than they’re giving me,” he said, the joke getting one of the loudest laughs. “Which means orange really is the new black.”

Mr. McHale, who stars on the NBC show “Community” and “The Soup” on E!, took shots at the health care site, as well as politicians and various news outlets.

“One hundred years ago, CNN was only searching for the Wright brothers’ plane,” he said.

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