Obama Zings Trump, Birthers At Correspondents Dinner

It was pretty much a given that birthers and Trump would come up during the President’s speech at the White House Correspondents Dinner:

Hoping to further quash conspiracy theories, President Obama announced Saturday night that he would show his official birth video, in front of an audience of 2,500 journalists, celebrities and hangers-on at the Washington Hilton.

Then a clip of “The Lion King” played on giant screens, showing the young cub Simba being anointed. The crowd roared. The squirmy issues of American society are always played for laughs at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.

“I want to make this clear to the Fox News table: That was a joke,” said the tuxedo-clad president from a rostrum at a head table adorned with tulips and hydrangeas. “That was not my real birth video. That was a children’s cartoon. Call Disney if you don’t believe me. They have the original long-form version.”

The president, ever inscrutable, is officially in reelection mode, having spent the past week on matters serious (touring the tornado-ravaged South) and silly (asserting his place of birth). The question, politically, was what version of himself would Obama choose to display at this weird, sensitive time at this weird, ritzy event? Savvy campaigner, ponderous professor, cutting jokester, arrogant taskmaster?

All of the above. He self-deprecated, referencing his flagging poll numbers and running a medley clip of his own speech flubs, and dinged a host of GOP stalwarts — joking that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) was born in Canada (“Yes, Michele, this is how it starts”), that former governor Tim Pawlenty’s middle name is “Hosni,” and that House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) couldn’t be there because “his budget has no room for laughter.”

Here’s the video of the President’s speech:

And here’s Seth Meyers, who was even tougher on Trump than Obama:

Word is that Trump was not amused, but that’s what you get for going to Nerdprom.

FILED UNDER: US Politics, , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. DC Loser says:

    What the #$@& was The Donald expecting?

  2. Chad S says:

    Ripping Donald Trump: something both sides can agree on.

  3. jwest says:

    Traditionally, the correspondent’s dinner was an event for the press to mildly roast the president and speak truth to power with a little humor. All presidents up until now have honored that format, using self-depreciating jokes to help put forward an image of humility and thick-skinned confidence.

    One other trait that every president has shown is class – the ability to suppress the desire to take cheap shots while remaining above the fray – except for Obama.

    It will certainly be a proud moment for this country when this totally unqualified and classless individual is voted out of presidency.

  4. michael reynolds says:


    Yes, we know: he’s black.

  5. john personna says:

    I could only watch a few minutes, but I thought Seth Meyers was a good choice … though I suppose I switched it off because Weekend Update isn’t supposed to run that long.

    It was meta-funny-sad to watch Donald sit there Sphinx-like as the jokes broke around him.

    It struck me though that Seth was making the rounds and hitting everyone. CSPAN/NBC jokes were good.

  6. Murray says:

    The cuts to The Donald’s face are priceless :o)

  7. jwest says:


    You equate being unqualified and classless with being black?

    You’ll be back to weeping in the fetal position soon if you continue to think like that.

  8. John,

    Speaking of media jabs I think Obama’s NPR jokes were pretty good too

  9. jwest,

    What does being humorless mean because that seems to describe you and The Donald

  10. Scott O. says:

    This will give Trump a real boost in the polls. To the GOP base, he’s not being mocked because he’s an idiot. It’s because the liberals fear him as they do Sarah Palin.

  11. Derrick says:

    You equate being unqualified and classless with being black?

    Let’s see he’s classless, unqualified, a thug and angry which all happen to be…….every stereotype of black men since D.W. Griffin was making movies. You and others aren’t really being very original, even if you think that you are.

  12. jwest says:


    You’ve discovered the flaw I share with a lot of conservatives.

    Why, my sense of humor is so underdeveloped that I even failed to laugh at Wonkette’s treatment of Trig Palin, which no doubt had you and others rolling on the floor. Although I’m an atheist, somehow I feel God just passed me by when he was handing out the ability to “get” sophisticated jokes.

    I’m not a Trump supporter, but what Obama did at that dinner was a continuation of the classless remarks he’s made at every opportunity about a number of people since his inauguration.

  13. michael reynolds says:


    Actually in a follow-up post on the Wonkette/Trig issue, (Dodd did the main post) Doug described it as:

    The needlessly mean-spirited blog post about Trig Palin’s birthday

    And said:

    I have no idea whether this will cause any actual harm to Wonkette’s revenue stream, and I honestly don’t care. I stopped reading that site on a regular basis since shortly after Ana Marie Cox left and the site went from a snarky take on politics and Washington, D.C. to mean-spirited sniping masquerading as humor.

    And here’s me in comments on Dodd’s post:

    This is beyond the pale. What a creep.

  14. jwest says:


    Being a good successful writer, I’m certain you noted a lack of passion and outrage that Doug would have filled the internet with had Wonkette attacked Sasha or Malia in the same fashion.

    Considering he’s dedicated a sizable portion of life to disparaging anything Palin, I don’t believe my assumption of his reaction was far off the mark.

  15. michael reynolds says:


    Actually because I’m a successful writer I can tell you that Doug rarely if ever expresses passion. His style is very restrained, detached.

    I don’t think this means that he doesn’t have passion but either because it appeals to him stylistically, or because of the way he conceives his role as a blogger, he’s not pushing a lot of passion into his writing.

    So your conclusion about him is incorrect.

  16. mattb says:


    Considering he’s dedicated a sizable portion of life to disparaging anything Palin, I don’t believe my assumption of his reaction was far off the mark.

    Ok, between this non-apology and your recent “I’m just doing liberal performance art” streak, you’ve finally truly crossed the lines.

    Honestly, I don’t think your a racist. If I take what you’ve said about yourself and your motivations seriously — which you’ve asked me to do. Since you’re clearly smart enough to read the racist discourse in all this stuff (if I do as you ask and take your intelligence seriously). then it’s clear your race baiting to “win.”

    In creating this “assumed” liberal character you’re playing here, you’ve become everything that you hate. Worse, is that its cynical and immoral to the point of almost crossing over into banally evil. I can think of nothing less conservative.

    So here is a proposition for you. A wager that will make you have to take a fixed stand for once.

    I want to place a bet on the outcome of the 2011 election. Simple bet: I believe that Obama will beat whoever runs against him in 2011(*). Clearly you think that isn’t possible (either because he’s black — oops, I mean unqualified — or because the country is going so into the crapper that there’s no way he can win**). So put your money where your mouth is…

    And I’m willing to lay one of the following things on it:

    1. A packaged good of some sort
    2. A cash payment (from $100 to $300***)
    3. (My personal choice) a monetary donation to the winner’s charity/religious institution of choice (again $100 – $300).

    or you can suggest something equivalent.

    We can arrange to do this in a way that keeps you anonymous. And guarantees that the loser will pay.

    So let me know if you have the guts/conviction to actually hold a position for once.

    Fine print:

    * – You don’t have to predict who will beat Obama, just that someone will beat him. If for any reasons Obama is not the final candidate standing on the Democratic side, this bet is null and void. This is simply whether someone will beat Obama on election day via the electoral college.

    ** – You don’t even have to admit that Obama deserved to win (because you won’t).

    *** – I have to set a $300 limit as my current financial situation doesn’t allow me to go any higher. Taking your posts seriously, it sounds like this shouldn’t be an issue for you given your current levels of success. Sums outside of the $300 range will not be considered.

  17. jwest says:


    You’re on. Commit these comments to a secure archive and let me know how the bet will be settled after the election. I’ll trust whatever arrangements you want to do.

  18. mattb says:

    Sounds good JWest.

    What would you like to be at stake?

  19. mattb says:

    God, and I jsut realized that I wrote 2011… Obviously I meant 2012 aka the Presidential Election… god I cannot wait for this semester to be over.

  20. PJ says:

    mattb, wrong year. Now, I doubt that any honest people would try to weasel out of losing the bet because of the year being wrong, but it’s jwest you’re betting against, so you probably should update the terms and have him recommit…

  21. jwest says:


    The $300 will be fine. Also, no need to get the lawyers involved, I knew what you meant on the date.

  22. mattb says:

    Jwest: Noting the change — I am betting you that Obama, provided he is the Candidate who stands, will win the 2012 Presidential Election — all I need to know what you consider a “Secure Archive” (A protected PDF good enough? We can have three people hold “copies” — you, me, and a neutral 3rd party) and the stake that you’d like to agree to.

  23. jwest says:


    I just meant you should save the comment on your computer. All the particulars are fine.

    Like I said, you decide how you want to do the transaction, either before or after the election, and I’ll go along with it.

  24. Southern Hoosier says:

    Cool another birther/nonbirther story. Lets keep this dead horse moving.

  25. Southern Hoosier says:

    @jwest And you were worried about me ruining the birther/nonbirther stories with logic.

  26. An Interested Party says:

    One other trait that every president has shown is class…

    Oh yes, Bush’s slideshow showing him looking all over the place for WMD was just so very classy…

    Cool another birther/nonbirther story. Lets keep this dead horse moving.

    Actually, it is a story about the White House Correspondents Dinner…considering Trump’s ham-handed use of the birther issue and the fact that he was there, of course it was going to be a topic of humor…

  27. reid says:

    Oh yes, Bush’s slideshow showing him looking all over the place for WMD was just so very classy…

    I like that massage he gave Angela Merkel. Really, Bush probably had the least class of any president in modern times. (Maybe LBJ or Nixon were worse, but we’re getting before my time there.)

  28. An Interested Party says:

    Just remember, we have all the cards

  29. mattb says:

    Done and done JWest. We have a bet.

    And to confirm:
    You (jWest) are betting that someone will beat Obama in the 2012 Presidential Election. I (mattb) am betting that Obama will be re-elected.
    Stake: $300 to be paid directly to the winner (plus most likely some level of bragging rights)
    Only provision: Bet is null and void if Obama is not the candidate on the ballot.

    I’m turning the page into a PDF and giving you a link to it too (or rather posting it here in a little while).

    We’ll come back to it on Nov 7th, 2012…

  30. anjin-san says:

    Gee, maybe Obama is a thug after all. He bitch slapped Trump pretty good…

  31. michael reynolds says:


    So clearly you had inside information.

  32. jwest says:

    Here’s Protein Wisdom’s Darleen Click making my point with video:


  33. An Interested Party says:

    Here’s another point made with a video…

  34. mattb says:

    So clearly you had inside information.

    Yeah, I’ve been pulling the strings for years…

    Oh and Jwest, on that blog you posted:

    Spot the pattern: Obama slams members of SCOTUS in a State of the Union address where they can do nothing but sit there and take it. He did the same thing to Paul Ryan and now here. Obama only lashes out at people in public when they can’t answer back. In addition, he likes to take his revenge in private.

    Remind me when any of those people, most especially Trump, have ever made any of their disparaging comments to Obama’s face?

    Part of the thing is that doesn’t happen too much in this media-mediated world.

  35. An Interested Party says:

    Well,mattb, it will be interesting to see if this latest news helps your odds of winning your bet…