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Obama's taste for stand-up

US President Barack Obama displays an appetite for light-hearted jabs at his opponents at annual dinner event.

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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.

Actors George Clooney laughs during US President Barack Obama's speech at the White House Correspondents Association annual dinner in Washington. Click for more photos

Obama has a ball at White House dinner

Actors George Clooney laughs during US President Barack Obama's speech at the White House Correspondents Association annual dinner in Washington. Photo: Reuters

  • Actors George Clooney laughs during US President Barack Obama's speech at the White House Correspondents Association annual dinner in Washington.
  • US First Lady Michelle Obama giggles at the White House Correspondents Association Dinner in Washington.
  • US President Barack Obama speaks during the White House Correspondents Association Dinner in Washington.
  • Director Steven Spielberg attends the White House Correspondents Association Dinner in Washington.
  • Actress Sigourney Weaver speaking to former Republican Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum at the White House Correspondents Association Dinner in Washington.
  • Actress Kate Hudson arrives at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in Washington.
  • Kim Kardashian attends the White House Correspondents Association Dinner in Washington.
  • Late-night comic Jimmy Kimmel headlines the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in Washington.
  • Actress Lindsay Lohan attends the White House Correspondents Association Dinner in Washington.
  • Actress Eva Longoria arrives at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in Washington.
  • Actor Daniel Radcliffe, right, and Dane DeHaan arrive at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in Washington.
  • Actress Charlize Theron arrives at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in Washington.

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.