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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Obama Chooses Leno Over Gridiron Dinner

Former speech writer for President Bush #41, Mary Kate Cary, writes an opinion piece showing how Barack Obama is ending his own honeymoon with the media.

When I was writing speeches for President Bush #41, we'd start working every Spring on the annual "joke " dinners—the Gridiron Club, the Alfalfa Club, and the White House Correspondents Dinner. Those black- or even white-tie dinners were a Washington ritual, "off the record" despite often being hosted by members of the press, and they required a comedy monologue delivered by the President. But every year, President Bush would let us know that he really didn't want to go. "The American people don't want a stand-up comedian for a president," I remember him saying to me. But he'd go anyway, his world-famous polite side taking over, so as not to snub the hosts.

Yesterday, the same day as President Obama's remarks expressing outrage at the AIG bonuses, the word was that he would not be attending one of this year's "joke" dinners: the most exclusive one of all, the Gridiron Dinner. The women wear ball gowns, the men white tie and tails (ribbons and medals encouraged), and the Marine Corps band accompanies household-name journalists who sing doctored-up versions of show tunes skewering the Washington establishment and the diplomatic corps.

She points out that Obama will be the first president to skip Gridiron Dinner since World War II.

Read the whole piece.

In the political atmosphere surrounding Obama, one could understand his not wanting to get up and tell jokes, but to turn down one forum, which would have no public record just to agree to appear at a forum where millions will be watching him, brings us to the ego of a man that cannot uphold a tradition because there is not enough "attention" on him.

The Christian Science Monitor shows some of the most recent Leno jabs at Obama:

Here are some other recent Leno jabs at the president:

“President Obama got some good news today. It seems so many of his cabinet appointees have been forced to pay their back taxes, he now gets a finder’s fee from the IRS.”

“The economy is in bad shape. In fact, the economy is so bad, even people who don’t like Barack Obama aren’t paying their taxes.”

“President Obama today came out against human cloning, but I think he might be a little hasty here because there should be exceptions. For example, let’s say Obama can find a nominee who has paid his taxes. Clone that guy.”

Guess we will find out of Leno has the where-with-all to actually approach any of those topics with Obama or make jokes about them on Thursday.

Somehow I doubt Leno has enough courage or integrity to do so.

I do have to give them an A+ for their headline. "Obama to appear on Leno - will he bring a teleprompter?"