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Obama makes 'em laugh at White House dinner

THE US President poked fun at himself, Congress, the Secret Service, the media and particularly his rival Mitt Romney on Saturday night, mocking his Republican opponent as a fuddy-duddy rich guy who travels with his dog in a cage strapped to the roof of the family car, The New York Times reports.

Delivering the traditionally comic remarks at the annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, Barack Obama seemed to enjoy needling Romney just days after the presidential election contest effectively got under way.

The highlight was a spoof Romney ad showing the former governor at the door of Air Force One with a dog cage on top of the aircraft. Families are off limits, Obama declared. ''Dogs, however, are apparently fair game,'' he said.

Obama pointed out that he was speaking in a cavernous hotel ballroom, or ''what Mitt Romney would call a little fixer-upper''.

He noted that he and Romney both had degrees from Harvard University, but the Republican had two. ''What a snob,'' Obama joked. And he said after his own appearance on Jimmy Fallon's late-night TV show last week, Romney ''asked if he could get some equal time on the Merv Griffin Show'''.

Appearing before the official entertainer of the evening, Jimmy Kimmel, Obama also targeted a couple of other Republican critics. Noting the presence of Newt Gingrich, who is expected to withdraw from the Republican race as early as tomorrow, Obama called out, ''Newt there's still time, man!''.

And he took aim at Sarah Palin, mocking her famous line from the 2008 convention as well as Republican criticism of him for eating dog meat while a boy in Indonesia. ''What's the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull?'' Obama asked. ''A pit bull is delicious.''

Even Michelle Obama looked askance at that one.