Friday, October 17, 2008

Laughter Does the Body Good

Both John McCain and Barack Obama attended the Al Smith Dinner, a respected Catholic charities benefit in Manhattan last night, where traditionally, the candidates are expected to roast one another. Both men good-naturedly attacked each other and themselves. It’s been a serious campaign. We need all the laughs we can get. While both men were funny, I think this was one evening McCain walked away with.


• “There is no other crowd in America I'd rather be palling around with.”

• (Addressing the grandson of the former New York governor for whom the dinner was named): “I obviously never knew your grandfather, but from everything Senator McCain has told me, the two of them had a great time together before Prohibition.”

• “This (housing) crisis has been eight times harder on John McCain.”

• “Can somebody tell me what happened to the Greek columns that I requested?”

• “Contrary to the rumors you may have heard, I was not actually born in a manger. I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father Jor-El to save the Earth.”

• “I punched a paparazzi in the face on my way out of Spagos. I even spilled my soy chai latte all over my Shih Tzu — it was really embarrassing.”

• “Fox News accused me of fathering two African-American children in wedlock. (Turning to McCain) “Is Fox News included in the media? Because I'm always hearing about the love...”

• “Whoever would have thought that a cross-dressing mayor from New York City would have had a tough time winning the Republican nomination? Tough primary you had there, John.”

• From the Waldorf-Astoria’s doorstep, where the dinner was being held, Obama pointed out that one can “see all the way to the Russian Tea Room.”

• “Barack is Swahili for ‘that one.’ (My middle name came from) somebody who obviously didn’t think I’d ever run for president.”


• “I can’t shake the feeling that some people here are voting for me… Nice to see you, Hillary.”

• “Yes, it’s true, that this morning I dismissed my entire team of senior advisers. All of their positions will now be held by a man named Joe the plumber (who) recently signed a very lucrative contract with a wealthy couple to handle all the work on all seven of their houses.”

• (On recalling that Oprah had called Obama “the one”): “Being a friend and colleague of Barack, I just called him ‘that one.’ He doesn't mind at all. In fact, he even has a pet name for me — ‘George Bush.’”

• (Gesturing to Bill Clinton) “He’s been hammering away at me with epithets like ‘American hero’ and ‘great man.’ I just know Bill would like to be out there now stumping for Barack until the last hour of the last day. Unfortunately, he is constrained by his respect for any voters who might be observing the Zoroastrian New Year.”

• “‘Maverick’ I can do, but ‘messiah’ is above my pay grade.”

• (Should the market improve, McCain predicted that at the “first sign of recovery (Obama) will suspend his campaign and fly immediately to Washington to address this crisis.”

• “It’s gonna be a long, long night at MSNBC if I managed to pull this thing off.”

It got serious in the end.

“My opponent is an impressive fellow,” McCain said. “It’s not for nothing that he’s inspired so many folks in his own party and beyond.”

Of McCain, Obama said, “There are very few of us who served this country with the same dedication, and honor and distinction as Senator McCain.”


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