Biden took a swing at Trump during the White House Correspondents' Dinner as pro-Palestinian protesters rallied outside.


Washington
CNN

President Joe Biden took jabs at his predecessor and poked fun at his own age at the annual ceremony White House Correspondents' Dinner A sizable group of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered outside the stadium on Saturday, underscoring the problem he faces amid his campaign. Criticism of his handling The war in Gaza.

“Of course, the 2024 election is in full swing, and yes, age is an issue: I'm a grown man running against a 6-year-old,” Biden said, referring to former President Donald Trump, whom he called a “sleeper.” Dada.”

Speaking to a crowd of nearly 3,000 journalists, celebrities and politicians, Biden said, “The only thing we have in common is age. My vice president really supports me.

The president drew a contrast between his re-election campaign, which has ramped up since his State of the Union address last month, and Trump, who has spent less time on his trail. Criminal Investigation in New York Related to alleged payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

“I had a great stretch from the State of the Union, but Donald has had some tough days lately,” Biden said. “You could call it 'stormy' weather.”

Another topic of the evening, Colin Jost On “Saturday Night Live,” he began his set on Trump's legal woes by asking, “Can we agree how refreshing it is to see the president of the United States on an event that doesn't start with bailing out, 'Wake up?'”

Jost mocked the age of both candidates: “I'm not saying either candidate is old, but you know Jimmy Carter is thinking, 'I can win this.'”

02:23 – Source: CNN

Watch Colin Jost roast Joe Biden and Trump

When Biden delivers These texts Earlier, the stakes were high for his last White House Correspondents' Dinner, following a tradition dating back to Calvin Coolidge. His approval rating is flagging, and voters and donors have raised questions about whether he has the mental acuity for the job. This year dinner also came Pro-Palestinian protests have erupted on college campuses across the country.

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There were pro-Palestinian demonstrations Followed Biden around the country months, and Saturday was no different. As journalists and celebrities filed into the Washington Hilton, protesters accused the president of handling the Israel-Hamas war and chanted, “Shame on you!” When insisting on speaking against Journalists killed in Gaza. Since Hamas' October 7 attacks, at least 97 journalists – 92 of them Palestinians – have been killed in the region. Committee to Protect JournalistsA non-profit organization that tracks death tolls.

“It's absolutely disgraceful that people attend this White House correspondents' party when journalists in Gaza call for a boycott. … Every single person there chooses to side with history, profit over freedom,” said Mimi Ziad, a member of the Palestinian Youth Movement, one of the protest's organizers.

While Biden's speech touched on serious notes, including his emphasis on freedom of the press and the dangers to democracy of a second Trump presidency, the president did not mention the war in Gaza.

When Biden delivered remarks announcing the signing Important law Sending $61 billion in aid to Ukraine and $26 billion to Israel and Gaza had a new critic: Jeffrey Katzenberg, co-chairman of Biden's re-election campaign and onetime head of content studio DreamWorks.

Katzenberg has often advised Biden on messaging to donors and voters. This week, he was on hand to see how Biden delivered on scripted material — and helped the 81-year-old president deliver punchlines about him to reporters.

“He's a Hollywood guy,” an executive told CNN. “He's an entertainer.”

Katzenberg led daily strategy sessions with aides at the White House residence this week to tweak Biden's comedy repertoire, developed by longtime speechwriter Vinay Reddy, administration officials said.

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The committee reached consensus a day earlier than in previous years, forcing key aides to dress for the event in the West Wing as their deadlines neared.

The White House has sought to ensure that Jost spreads his views across the political spectrum and shared that concern with Kelly O'Donnell, president of the White House Correspondents' Association and senior White House correspondent for NBC News.

04:28 – Source: CNN

'It's the grace we're all here tonight': Jost delivers touching closing remarks

“Our dinner entertainment is most successful when it targets both parties and the national media,” O'Donnell told CNN. “It's been an ongoing part of our discussions behind the scenes at every step of this year's planning. That's the intent of the WHCA every year.

Biden in recent weeks Grumpy at TrumpMocking his hair, his social media companies' stock prices plummeting, and his Trump-named Bibles, the former president needs to take a breather from the coverage he's getting during his criminal trial.

“I haven't had a chance to watch the court proceedings because I've been involved in the campaign,” Biden told supporters at a campaign reception in New York on Thursday.

While Biden increasingly uses humor to go after Trump, his default rhetorical style usually doesn't look for a punchline.

“He used the expression 'no joke, everybody' more than he told actual jokes,” said a former aide.

When it comes time to deliver a joke speech, writing it is usually a team affair, with jokes submitted from different parts of Biden's orbit. Katzenberg, in particular, urged Biden to include self-deprecating jokes about his age.

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Employees — even those outside the speechwriting team — submit witty ideas, some of which make the speech, some of which are thrown away.

Biden, when he was vice president, sought outside help for his humorous speeches at the annual gridiron dinner and other light-hearted gatherings. Among Biden's returnees is John Max, a prolific writer on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” who has also written anchor material for dozens of Oscar ceremonies. One person who was involved in the process when Biden was vice president recalled the submission by Seth Meyers, head writer on “Saturday Night Live.”

While the dinners tend to be lighthearted affairs, Biden has alternated between funny and serious during earlier speeches, underscoring the event's broader political ramifications.

When Trump was a guest at a 2011 dinner, President Barack Obama mocked the then-reality television star, mocking the baseless and false “birther” conspiracy theory that Trump has been promoting.

“You didn't blame Lil' John or Meatloaf. You fired Gary Busey,” Obama said, joking about Trump's experience in tough situations. “These are the decisions that keep me awake at night.”

Obama said the line was the green light for the raid that would lead to Osama bin Laden's death shortly before attending the party. Many have speculated Obama's treatment of Trump at a 2011 dinner party inspired him to run for president. During Trump's tenure Did not participate dinner.

Asked before the weekend if Biden was looking forward to or dreading the dinner, a senior adviser insisted to CNN that the president enjoys the event because he wants to spend time with reporters.

But the adviser quickly added: “I don't think he would admit it.”

This story and topic have been updated with additional improvements.

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