Obama, Romney Roast Each Other, Themselves At Dinner

I watched YouTube clips of both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama as they roasted each other at the Al Smith Charity Dinner. While both had some very funny one liners, to watch how they carried on with one another did set me a bit uneasy. In fact, they seem a little to comfortable with one another.

First, here’s Obama’s speech:

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Here’s Romney’s:

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I noticed the media elites behind Romney as he spoke and they were all smiles and applause, not the frothing at the mouth you usually see when speaking about him, especially Chris Matthews, who was almost directly behind the podium.

Romney took a shot several shots at the media including turning and looking directly at Matthews and asking “what other safeguard do we have, besides the press?”

He was not going to let Obama get through the night without a “you didn’t build that” dig either. Romney said:

Your kind hospitality here tonight gives me a chance to convey my deep and long held respect for the Catholic church. I have special admiration for the Apostle St. Peter, to whom it is said, “Upon this rock, I will build my church.” The story is all the more inspiring when you consider that he had so many skeptics and scoffers at the time who were heard to say, “If you’ve got a church, you didn’t build that.”

He also referenced Obama looking around the dining room at the White House, “You have to wonder what he’s thinking. So little time, so much to redistribute.”

He also took aim at Obama’s “Big Bird” ads saying, “And by the way in — in the spirit of Sesame Street, the president’s remarks tonight are brought to you but the letter ‘O’ and the number $16 trillion.”

Romney also joked about himself. Wearing his tuxedo he said, “It’s nice to finally relax and to wear what Ann and I wear around the house.”

The former governor also referenced his abstention from alcohol saying, “You know, with or without all the dignitaries that are here, the Al Smith dinner surely lives up to its billing. Usually when I get invited to gatherings like this, it’s just to be the designated driver.” He even made reference to preparing for the debates by refraining “from alcohol for 65 years before the debate” and then went on to declare ” Of course this isn’t a night for serious politics, and it was especially nice to see President Obama and Cardinal Dolan sharing the dais despite their differences. I’m sure the cardinal has no hard feelings, and we might get an indication of that during dinner to see if the president’s wine turns into water. Or for that matter, whether my water turns into wine.”

Obama also made some comical comments as well. “Earlier today I went shopping at some stores in Midtown,” Obama said. “I understand Gov. Romney went shopping for some stores in Midtown.”

In speaking of the final debate and preparations for it, which will focus on foreign policy, Obama quipped, “Spoiler alert: We got bin Laden.”

Romney was very gracious at the end towards Barack Obama as he said, “We have very fundamental and sound principles that guide both the president and me. He — he and I, of course, both feel the pressures and tensions of a — of a close contest. It would be easy to let a healthy competition give way to the personal or the petty, but fortunately we don’t carry the burden of — of disliking one another.”

“Our president has had some very fine and gracious moments,” he continued. “Don’t tell anyone I said so, but our 44th president has many gifts and a beautiful family that would make any man proud.”

“In our country, you can oppose someone in politics and make a confident case against their policies without any ill will and that’s how it is for me. There’s more to life than politics.”

While the charity dinner has been a long required stop for presidents, I guess in the midst of all that is taking place in America, joking about these issues doesn’t seem to be the appropriate response. I can appreciate what Mitt Romney said that there is more to life than politics, yet when it comes to the campaign, it is as though both candidates want to frame the debate as though our entire lives depend on their politics, doesn’t it? Yeah you can say I’m a bit of a stuffed shirt on this one, but seriously, was the idea to get us laughing to keep from crying over the predicament we find ourselves in as a country?

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