Obama jokes about approval ratings at WH correspondents dinner
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Last Updated: Sunday, May 02, 2010, 19:23
Washington: With his approval rating hitting an all-time low, US President Barack Obama has joked about it and poked fun at his colleagues at an annual gala dinner with White House correspondents.

Most of Obama's jokes at the black tie dinner were gentler, often directed at himself. He joked about his drop in approval ratings, and in an apparent reference to the conspiracy theory that he was born in Kenya, he noted that his ratings were "still very high in the country of my birth."

Obama was born in Hawaii, but critics known as "birthers" question whether he was born overseas.

"It's been quite a year since I've spoken here last.

Lots of ups, lots of downs, except for my approval ratings, which have just gone down," Obama said at yesterday's White House Correspondents' Association dinner, attended by some 3,000 dinner guests at the Hilton Washington.

"The only person whose ratings fell more than mine last year is here tonight. Great to see you, Jay," he said to comedian Jay Leno.

The latest CBS News Poll, conducted between March 29 and April 1, had found that Obama's overall job approval rating had fallen to an all-time low of 44 per cent, down five points from late March. It was down 24 points since his all- time high last April. Forty-one per cent of those polled said they disapproved of the president's performance.

"But that's politics. It doesn't bother me. Besides, I happen to know that my approval ratings are still very high in the country of my birth," he said jokingly.

Obama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize this year, also said that he was disappointed that he did not win a Nobel for physics.

The media also came in for some teasing that was both cutting and heart-quickening for its target audience.

Referring to his poll numbers, Obama said, "I may not have the star power I once had, but in my defence, neither do all of you." He added that while he had done much to rescue many industries from economic peril, there was nothing he could to for the media. "I'm not a miracle worker."

As he did at the 2009 dinner, Obama did not spare some of his favorite targets like Vice President Joe Biden.

Biden, who drew ridicule for whispering to Obama that the health-care bill signing event was a "big f---ing deal."

The White House Correspondents' annual dinner, Biden told him, was "a big f--ing meal," Obama said.

He also recalled a congressman's account of being accosted by a naked Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, in a shower at the gym, Obama said: "Welcome to my world! ... It's a tense moment."

Obama also spoofed David Axelrod, suggesting that the senior White House adviser had recently done a "salacious" nude photo spread for a Krispy Kreme catalogue.

Michelle Obama presented USD 132,000 in scholarships from the association to 18 students.


First Published: Sunday, May 02, 2010, 19:23

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