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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
White House Correspondents Dinner; President Obama Makes Remarks; Joel McHale Takes the Stand
Aired May 3, 2014 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: We were looking for the laughs. We were like --
BEN STEIN, ACTOR: This -- I mean, this is like TMZ. I mean, this show is really most like TMZ. It is like following cool people, well- paid people, people are going shopping on rodeo drive. I mean, that's about how much interest it will be until Mr. Obama begins his speech and he will be very, very funny. He is always very, very funny. I'm sure that Mr. McHale will be very, very funny. But to see them hanging around and slapping each other on the back and that's not funny. It's sad. Sorry.
LEMON: Hey, you know, Ben, why don't you say how you really feel sometimes?
And again he's wondering why he is not invited. Can you ever go too far? We have been talking about that. We talked about Colbert in 2006. A lot of people were not happy with. But you know, Colbert got the last laugh. Look, he is the big guy on the block now. Can you ever go too far, Ben?
STEIN: Well, sure, you can do too far. I mean, there always should be some rule of gentility and some rule of restraint. I know that -- this I know very well. The president is a human being who has a skin. He has feelings. He has sensitivities. I've only known two of them well. They were trying their damnedest to do their best. But they are always trying to do their very best. Their feelings are terribly hurt when you call them names. You may think he is a president and doesn't care. They care a lot when the journalists call them names and there should be some self restraint about it unless it is really merited.
LEMON: All right. I just want to say like I'm sorry if I ever said anything mean. We are all people. We are human. We have skin.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it's true. They have real -- they really are very sensitive. Their families are sensitive. Their families still suffer. I think one of my best friends and people I admire most in the whole world is Julie Eisenhower. I think she is still suffering for what happened because of Watergate. It has been 40 years. So, it is -- these are people. I mean, all these people are people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now Listen. A super skilled name drop by the way. One of my best friends, Eisenhower. STEIN: That's a name you haven't heard from a while, I suspect.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think I follow her on twitter.
LEMON: Is that a name drop or is that like a humble brag?
STEIN: It's not a name drop or a humble brag. But my point is you can't do much damage to a White House correspondent. Because who is out there calling White House correspondent names and saying they screwed up world peace and screwed up the economy and cause (INAUDIBLE)? Nobody. But they say it about the president and the president takes it to bed with him. I knew Lyndon Johnson a little bit too. He really suffered unbelievably when people criticized him as being a killer over the war in Vietnam. He was really, really in pain about a lost.
LEMON: So when they're sitting there.
When they are sitting there in this room then and people are making fun of them over something that may be personal to them are they really laughing inside? They may be laughing on the outside but what is going on the inside?
STEIN: I think they have real feelings. Somebody said to me once about the very famous billionaire financier Michael Milken and criticizes him. What does he care? He is a billionaire. And somebody else said, well, does the king care when someone calls him an idiot? I mean, these people are genuine. I keep saying this over and over again. I've never met a person yet who doesn't have feelings. Maybe Mr. Putin doesn't have feelings. But I think he does too.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That huge barrel chest, it's all feelings in here.
STEIN: Yes. And I would love to see an event where the politicians start roasting the journalists. I would love to see an event --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That would be so horrible and unfunny.
LEMON: But, Ben, the Joel McHale or whoever the comedian usually is they will hit the press sometimes and the president always hits back at the press at these events.
STEIN: That's true. But they don't hit them on the same way, believe me. Nobody is calling the press baby killers. Nobody is calling the press murderers. Nobody is calling the press liars.
LEMON: But they don't do that at this event.
STEIN: You are right. You are totally right. They don't do it at this event. But they do it --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The baby killers are at the after party. STEIN: The president is very well aware that these people are in the room there can make him look like an idiot or they can make him look good and they are scared of the press. The president are scared of the press.
LEMON: They're like are we on television right now? Is this actually happening? And no, we haven't been drinking. Well, I haven't been.
STEIN: I haven't been.
LEMON: Maybe all the sugar in the food we just ate.
STEIN: We didn't have any food here. But look -- it's a fun -- it's a fun -- basically, it's a fun, wonderful event. It's an event that I think is uniquely American. We have a super powerful group of journalists and super powerful group of politicians, industrious (ph), showbiz people, they are all getting together, they are laughing and scratching and they are not really doing any particular harm to anyone. And I think to the extent that they humble the president a little bit and make him realized that these people are, I think it's a good thing. I mean, if they call terrible names, it is a bad thing. But I think in all what they say in that video, in that incredibly not funny video is absolutely right.
So, Ben, what about access after that if you hit the president too hard or maybe he looks out, he goes, Jake Tapper was really laughing really hard at that joke. No more interviews for you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think anybody does that especially with Jake Tapper. Everybody looks Jake Tapper.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But on the hand, if for Hannity or O'Reilly it could be bad news.
STEIN: But I don't think the White House just slams the door on people who laugh at these jokes at the dinners. But on the other end, these correspondents you can't shut the door on them. They are too important to have the door shut on them. There is a wonderful scene in the movie "giant" where James Dean has struck oil and he got incredibly rich and obnoxious. And somebody says we should have killed him before he got to be too rich to kill. Now, the media is too rich to kill. The media is too important to kill.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Great --
LEMON: This is going to be great, right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought that video was from the history channel.
LEMON: Google is like "Giant" and he joked about the -- we were talking about journalists and he mentioned Hannity and O'Reilly. I was talking about real journalists. STEIN: I was also going to say behind closed doors if you are going to interview the president, no matter who you are, when the cameras aren't rolling there has to be some like what's up, you're the president. I'm not going to say anything bad to you. You are going to have me kill.
LEMON: When you sit there --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you sit there --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that -- that's his daughter.
LEMON: People at home are always like Don, why can't you see? They don't realize. Tell them how small these monitors are. The monitor under the camera is not as big as your 65-inch television at home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, there is will.i.am.
LEMON: There is Will.i.am with --
LEMON: As the White House correspondent.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looking good.
LEMON: What we were saying? We were talking about sitting --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is Jake Tapper.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jake Tapper there building a bridge to Governor Christie.
LEMON: Well, he was at -- he was actually -- Governor Christie is Jake Tapper's guest for the evening.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So he really was building a bridge to him.
LEMON: That wasn't really funny at all. You're on the wrong channel for --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you really think that the White House is more important in terms of day-to-day life in America or the press corps is? I mean, I think the press corps in terms of the mood of the country, the press corps is more important than the White House in terms of long term strategy, like what's the event, what is going to be, that's the White House. But in terms of day-to-day mood, that's the media.
LEMON: Right. You're absolutely right. I'm sorry, say again? Richard Sherman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's Richard Sherman there. It's so weird because I caught the end of what my producer was saying. I thought he said the fed chairman. I'm like what? Really?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love this is a picture of the secret service.
LEMON: The secret service. That's not really a selfie. Right? And April Ryan and there is her obviously with the first lady wearing a dress that is similar to Brianna Keilar, right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's very "say yes to the dress" if you are sitting next to the first lady you're like what am I going to talk about.
LEMON: But seriously, when you are sitting there and you are sitting, let's say you are sitting next to the president and you are sitting next to the first lady, you are like what am I going to talk about?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joel McHale and Michelle Obama were sitting next to each other for hours. Their small talk must have got so deep, it like it may ran out probably an hour in and they were just like do you have a dog or --.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have had that experience because I was the speaker at the congressional correspondents dinner in 2000. I sat between Mr. Bush and Laura Bush for about an hour and a half before I spoke. And you do ran out of small talk but I had a hilarious bit of small talk with Mr. Bush about what country he wanted to bomb if he could just choose any country he wanted to bomb. He was very, very funny. I must say. I'll use in the my memoirs. I'm not going to use it now, but he had some very, very funny lines. He's a witty guy.
LEMON: OK. Well, getting back to --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So many -- did Finland make it?
LEMON: Is the first lady of the United States and April Ryan of the American Urban Radio Networks and they are awarding scholarships. The McAlpin scholarship is what they're doing.
So anyway, that is what they are doing right now. Just wanted to update you on that. And so, that's why the first lady is standing there. So they are giving out awards now. These are, you know, awards that many people obviously there are interested in. And they do really great. This is what the dinner is about, really, it is giving awards and supposed to being to help people. And to help people who want to become --
STEIN: Maybe they should sell tickets. Maybe they should sell tickets and they could really raise money for the scholarship fund because there are off a lot of wealthy people would pay a great deal of money to be at this event and then they could raise millions, tens of millions for this scholarship fund.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you buy a ticket?
STEIN: I actually would because then I could be at the cool kids' table again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You would?
STEIN: Well, it depends on how much it costs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I was going to say what about the Bentley? It is like you are giving a mix signals right now.
STEIN: I would have to trade in the Bentley. But I mean, if they want to really want to raise money, sell tickets for $100,000 each. They could sell them.
LEMON: And by the way, Bentley and Doritos did not pay for any advertisement on the show tonight. We keep that sure.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My two favorite things.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sat next to the first lady for what an hour.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I was nervous.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One-on-one small talk.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They talked about where they got their tips done.
LEMON: I do think in all seriousness, Ben, that's not a bad idea, to sell tickets to this event and you could probably raise a lot of money for some kids who need it or whatever charity you want to give it to.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The second you let the outside in to this event it ruins it. The second it is less exclusive, you would allow a wealthy person to some in, it kills the whole thing. I'm telling you.
LEMON: You think so?
STEIN: What if the tickets are $1 million each.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Even worse. The most obnoxious rich --
LEMON: You don't think there are obnoxious rich people on this audience?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Believe me there are. But they earned, you know, it is like they didn't to but--.
LEMON: I just think it's funny that we are sitting here with Ben Stein. I mean, how many names that Ben either he mentioned in the funny way, this Arianna Huffington y mentioned who was like four or five past former presidents, Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson.
STEIN: Well I'm old.
(LAUGHTER) LEMON: I'm glad you said it. I was trying to be nice.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well then, don't you think that -- my dream host Don Rickles. Speaking of old season. If we want to get deep with this crowd and insult you have to bring in a legend. I'm sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
LEMON: Ben, you're saying, you're old?
STEIN: I think Don Rickles could have been -- Jimmy Kimmel was fantastic. Jimmy Kimmel was I think the funniest guy in the world right now. I don't just say that because I gave him my system. He is a really, really smart guy. They should have him year after year.
LEMON: All right, let me tell you this, Ben Stein. I knew I like you because out of all the guys and out of all the new people who are out there starting their own shows or whatever, I don't -- it's not that I dislike them. Jimmy Kimmel is the best one of them and his show should be number one. He is the funniest. He is very clever. And he's the greatest. And really quick.
What his name? Jimmy Fallon, he is very talented. He does impersonations or whatever. But Jimmy Kimmel, there is something about Kimmel that is carsonesque to me that I just really like him.
STEIN: He's a good friend too. I mean, if you are in trouble you can count on him. I have had various been in times when I have been in trouble and being going crazy. And I have gone actually and when he has said whatever I can do to help you I'll help you. He's a great guy.
LEMON: He is a friend of Howard Stern. And if there is anyone who is a friend of Howard Stern, he s a friend of mine. I love Stern. I listen to him every day.
STEIN: Howard Stern is incredibly funny and incredibly truthful.
LEMON: Do you think they would let Howard Stern do the roasting at this?
STEIN: Too dirty, I think. Too embarrassing. There would be too many tapes of him discussing sex in explicit ways. Although, I don't know, maybe the country is changing. How long before there is marijuana smoking at this dinner?
LEMON: What are you talking about? How long? I know people who are going. There is marijuana smoking going on there.
But here's the thing, though. Howard is on "America's Got Talent" now. Howard knows how to conduct himself on a platform in an appropriate way. He would be funny.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's great.
LEMON: What were you going to say about the pot smoking going on in the room?
STEIN: I was going to say there is a lot of talk about pot smoking for recreational use being legalize in the district of Columbia. So people will be lighting up being dubious at this thing probably within in my lifetime. And why not? I guess because they are not allowed to smoke inside. But I wonder what the smell is like right outside the valet parking right now wherever that is.
LEMON: This coming from a man who is in Los Angeles and I mean when I'm walking down the street in L.A. I smell marijuana. What are you talking ability, Ben Stein?
STEIN: I'm saying I think that's the future. I mean don't like it.
LEMON: Ben, I have to cut you off. A toast to the president. Listen.
STEVEN THOMMA, PRESIDENT, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS ASSOCIATION: The president of the United States of America on one. And finally for me I'd like to introduce the president of the United States by introducing the vice president of the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Selina, what are you doing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought you were the president. Hey, listen, are you going to this snorespondents (ph) dinner tonight?
No, I'm not going. And I have been there once. It is a bunch of politicians trying to explain politics Hollywood. It's not worth it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly. I mean, who wants to see David Gregory crying in the corner all night do. Hey, do you want to come and pick me -- up? Yellow? Seriously? Yellow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get in the car.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the west wing. It's locked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody looking? Just check for me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
I got to remember that. Oh, yes!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't touch the desk. Don't touch the desk. Come on, let's get out of here and get something to eat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is good. My granddaughters like the sprinkles.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's like the sweetest think you can get in the executive branch.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, guys. What are you doing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nothing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's in your mouth?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Carrots?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He, don't talk --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Haven't you listened to anything I said about healthy eating? Hand it over. Hand it over. You guys, come on, let's move.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Busted.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say that again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It looks good.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just forgot my purse, so --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sure there are raisins in here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a fruit. Plus it's more than they give you at that correspondents' dinner, let me tell you. Plus I work out every day.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Sure you do. I do too.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want to arm wrestle?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't really work out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I didn't think so.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So where are we headed next?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To the real seat of power.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can write any headline we want?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Knock yourself out. Go to it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The headline I'd like to write is Selina Meier sworn in as president but all in good time. Yes, we can all look directly into the camera, Kevin. The point is, you're not supposed to.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, Selina. Hi, Joe. What are you doing here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Getting my tattoo done. You know the difference between a tattoo and the Koch brothers? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're both painful but you can get rid of a tattoo.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. Let's do it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bring it on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bring it on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, girl.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, Jay dog, are you going to this dinner thing tonight?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I've got important things going on here in the capital.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yes, right, thanks.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know what, Joe, I'm going to need to go to the dinner. You see the thing is, I'm not really the VP, but you are. I'm an actress from Hollywood.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So can you give me the ride?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The secret service doesn't let me drive off the property.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That makes no sense.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can get a cab.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got my dress. And this hair. Thanks a million, Joe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good luck.
ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you so much.
Everybody, please have a seat. Have a seat.
Before I get started, can we get the new presidential set up out here?
It's worked before. That's more like it.
It is great to be back. What a year, huh?
I usually start these dinners with a few self deprecating jokes after my stellar 2013 what could I possibly talk about?
I admit it. Last year was rough. Sheesh!
At one point things got so bad, the 47 percent called Mitt Romney to apologize.
Of course, we rolled out Healthcare.gov. That could have gone better.
In 2008, my slogan was "Yes, we can". In 2013 my slogan was "Control, alt, delete."
On the plus side, they did turn the launch of Healthcare.gov into the launch of one the year's biggest movies.
But rather than dwell on the past I would like to pivot to this dinner.
Let's welcome our headliner this evening, Joel McHale.
On "Community", Joel plays a preening, self obsessed narcissist. So, this dinner must be a real change of pace for you.
I want to thank the White House correspondents' association for hosting us here tonight. I am happy to be here even though I am a little jet lagged from my trip to Malaysia, the lengths we have to go to the get CNN coverage these days.
I think they're still searching for their table.
MSNBC is here. They're a little overwhelmed. They've never seen an audience this big before.
But, look, everybody is trying to keep up with this incredibly fast- changing media landscape.
For example, I got a lot of grief on cable news for promoting Obamacare to young people between two ferns. But that's what young people like to watch. And to be fair, I'm not the first young person on television between two potted plants.
Sometimes I do feel disrespected by you reporters. But that's okay. Seattle Seahawk cornerback Richard Sherman is here tonight and he gave -- he gave me some great tips on how to handle it.
Jake Tapper, don't you ever talk about me like that! I'm the best president in the game.
What do you think, Richard? Was that good? A little more feeling next time?
While we're talking sports, just last month a wonderful story -- an American won the Boston Marathon for the first time in 30 years.
Which was inspiring and only fair since a Kenyan has been president for the last six, had to even things out.
We have other athletes here tonight including Olympic snowboarding gold medalist, Jamie Anderson is here. We're proud of her.
Incredibly talented young lady. Michelle and I watched the Olympics, we can't believe what these young folks do. Death defying feats. I haven't seen 180 so fast since Rand Paul disinvited that Nevada rancher from this dinner.
As a general rule, things don't end well if the sentence starts "let me tell you something I know about the Negro."
You don't really need to hear the rest of it.
Just a tip for you. Don't start your sentence that way.
Speaking of Rand Paul, Colorado legalized marijuana this year, an interesting social experiment. I do hope it doesn't lead to a whole lot of paranoid people who think that the federal government is out to get them and listening to their phone calls. That would be a problem.
And speaking of conservative heroes, the Koch brothers bought a table here tonight. But as usual they used a shadowy right wing organization as a front.
Hello, FOX News. I'm just kidding. Let's face it, FOX, you'll miss me when I'm gone. It will be harder to convince the American people that Hillary was born in Kenya.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
A lot of us really are concerned about the way big money is influencing our politics. I remember when a Super PAC was just me buying Marlboro 100s instead of regulars.
Of course, now that it's 2014, Washington is obsessed on the midterms. Folks are saying with my sagging poll numbers, my fellow Democrats don't really want me campaigning with them. And I don't think that's true, although I did notice the other day that Sasha needed a speaker at Career Day and she invited Bill Clinton. I was a little hurt by that.
Both sides are doing whatever it takes to win. The ruthless game.
Republicans -- this is a true story. Republicans actually brought in a group of consultants to teach their candidates how to speak to women.
This is true. And I don't know if it will work with women but I understand that America's teenage boys are signing up to run for the Senate in droves.
Anyway, while you guys focus on the horse race, I'm going to do what I do, I'm going to be focused on everyday Americans. Just yesterday, I read a heart breaking letter. You know, I get letters from folks around the country every day. I get 10 that I read.
This one got to me. A Virginia man has been stuck in the same part- time job for years, no respect from his boss, no chance to get ahead.
I really wish Eric Cantor would stop writing me.
You can just pick up the phone, Eric.
And I'm feeling sorry -- believe it or not -- for the speaker of the House as well. These days, the House Republicans actually give John Boehner a harder time than they give me, which means orange really is the new black.
But I have not given up the idea of working with Congress. In fact two weeks ago, Senator Ted Cruz and I we got a bill done together and I have to say the signing ceremony was something special. We have a picture of it, I think.
Look, I know. Washington seems more dysfunctional than ever. Gridlock has gotten so bad in this town you have a to wonder what did we do to piss off Chris Christie so bad?
One issue, for example we haven't been able to agree on is unemployment insurance. Republicans continue to refuse to extend it.
And you know what? I am beginning to think they've got a point. If you want to get paid while not working, you should have to run for Congress, just like everybody else.
Of course there is one thing that keeps Republicans busy, they have tried more than 50 times to repeal Obamacare. Despite that, eight million people signed up for health care in the first open enrollment.
Which does lead one to ask how well does Obamacare have to work before you don't want to repeal it? What if everybody's cholesterol drops to 120? What if your yearly checkup came with tickets to a Clipper's game -- not the old Don Sterling Clippers, the new Oprah Clippers? Would that be good enough? What if it gave Mitch McConnell a pulse? What is it going to take?
Anyway. This year I've promised to use more executive actions to get things done without Congress. My critics call this the imperial presidency.
The truth is I just show up every day at my office and do my job. We have a picture of this, I think.
You would think they'd appreciate a more assertive approach considering that the new conservative darling is none other than Vladimir Putin. Last year, Pat Buchanan said Putin is headed straight for the Nobel Peace Prize.
He said this. I know it sounds crazy. But to be fair they give those to just about anybody these days. So it could happen.
But it's not just Pat. Rudy Giuliani said Putin is what you call a leader. Mike Huckabee and Sean Hannity keep talking about his bare chest, which is kind of weird.
Look it up. They talk about it a lot.
It is strange to think that I have two and a half years left in this office. Everywhere I look, there are reminders that I only hold this job temporarily.
But, it's a long time between now and 2016 and anything can happen. You may have heard the other day, Hillary had to dodge a flying shoe at a press conference.
I love that picture. Regardless of what happens, I've run my last campaign and beginning to think about my legacy. Some of you know Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently announced he is naming a high school after me in Chicago which is extremely humbling.
I was even more flattered to hear Rick Perry, who is here tonight, is doing the same thing in Texas. Take a look.
Thank you, Rick. It means a lot to me.
And I intend to enjoy all the free time that I will have. George W. Bush took up painting after he left office, which inspired me to take up my own artistic side.
I'm sure we've got a shot of this. Maybe not. The joke doesn't work without the slide.
Oh, well. Assume that it was funny.
Does this happen to you, Joel? It does, OK.
On a more serious note -- tonight reminds us that we are really lucky to live in a country where reporters get to give a head of state a hard time on a daily basis. And then once a year give him or her the chance at least to try to return the favor.
But we also know that not every journalist or photographer or crew member is so fortunate because even as we celebrate the free press tonight, our thoughts are with those in places around the globe, like Ukraine and Afghanistan and Syria and Egypt, who risk everything in some cases even give their lives to report the news. And what tonight also reminds us is that the fight for full and fair access goes beyond the chance to ask a question.
As Steve mentioned, decades ago an African-American who wanted to cover his or her president might be barred from journalism school, burdened by Jim Crow and once in Washington, banned from press conferences. But after years of effort, black editors and publishers began meeting with FDR's press secretary, Steve Early. Then they met with the president himself who declared that a black reporter would get a credential.
And even when Harry McAlpin made history as the first African-American to attend a presidential news conference, he wasn't always welcomed by the other reporters. He was welcomed by the president, who told him, "I'm glad to see you McAlpin. I'm very happy to have you here."
Now, that sentiment might have worn off once Harry asked him a question or two. And Harry's battles continued, but he made history. And we're so proud of Sherman and his family for being here tonight and the White House Correspondents Association for creating the scholarship in Harry's name.
For over 100 years even as the White House Correspondents' Association has told the story of America's progress, you lived it, too, gradually allowing equal access to women, minorities, and gays, and American's with disabilities -- and yes, radio and television and Internet reporters as well. And through it all, you helped make sure that even as societies change, our fundamental commitment to the interaction between those who govern and those who ask questions doesn't change. And as Jay will attest, it's a legacy you carry on enthusiastically every single day.
And because this is the 100th anniversary of the correspondents' association, I actually recorded an additional brief video thanking all of you for your hard work.
Can we run the video?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Congratulations --
(END VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: What's going on? I was told this would work. Does anyone know how to fix this?
Oh, thank you. You got it?
KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, FORMER HHS SECRETARY: I got this. I see it all the time. There. That should work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Congratulations to the White House Correspondents' Association. Here's to 100 more terrific years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. And God bless America.
And thank you, Kathleen Sebelius.
LEMON: Now that was funny.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was good stuff.
LEMON: He killed. Ben Stein, are you there?
STEIN: I'm sorry, with the greatest possible respect the only funny part was when he said assume that was funny when the power point didn't work. I didn't think any of the rest was funny.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to agree to disagree on that.
LEMON: That is funny. Orange is the new black if you start your speak with the Negro. Here's Joel McHale.
JOEL MCHALE, COMEDIAN: Everybody, here we go.
I am the last person standing between you and your after party. So -- in just an hour and 15 minutes, you'll be walking out of here, all right? I'm going to break Jay Leno's record tonight. Strap in. Here we go.
Good evening Mr. President, or as Paul Ryan refers to you, yet an inner city minority relying on the federal government to feed and house your family.
I'm a big fan of President Obama. I think he's one of the all-time great presidents. Definitely in the top 50. Please explain that to Jessica Simpson. You're right. That was low. All right. How about the president's performance tonight, everyone? It is -- amazing that you can still bring it with fresh, hilarious material and my -- my favorite bit of yours is when you said you would close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. That was classic. That was hilarious. Hilarious. Still going.
I'd like to take a moment to recognize the first lady. Mrs. Obama, you have been very kind to me and my family especially when you showed us how to tear a phone book in half with your bare hands. That was incredible. I would also like to thank the White House correspondents' association for having me and for not being able to book Jimmy Fallon. That's true.
All right, look, I know it's been a long night but I promise that tonight will be both amusing and over quickly just like Chris Christie presidential bid. I got a lot of these tonight. So buckle up, governor Christie. Excuse me. Extender buckle up. No. I deserve that. I agree on that one. You're right on.
Now, allow me to tell you a little about myself. My name is Joel McHale. I'm on an NBC show called "Community." That's exactly what I thought. I also host a show called "the soup" which is on the E! Network. Thank you.
To Republicans in attendance, E! is the channel that you are deeply closeted gay son likes to watch. For the Democrats it's the channel your openly gay son likes to watch.
He is also home to the Kardashians, who believe it or not, are on that channel. And I know that they are Republicans, because they are always trying to screw black people.
Yes. Now just the men. It's an honor to be here tonight at the Washington Hilton. I'm tingling with excitement or maybe that's just the bedbugs. I hope you all enjoyed your dinner. The fillet tonight was grass-fed beef freshly dragged off the Clivne Bundy ranch.
The steaks are very tasty once you pull off the tiny white hood. See? You Clive and Bundy. OK, I get it. All right. Great. Let it be known for the record be show.
Tonight's show is being broadcast on c-span. C-span is -- yes. Sc- span is like one of those paranormal activity movies. I is just grainy shots of empty rooms interrupted by shots of people you are pretty sure died a few years ago. And stay tuned after the correspondents' dinner for an all new episode of c-span's hit show, so you think you can remain conscious.
This is the 100th year of the White House correspondents' association. Yes, 100 years ago, CNN was only searching for the Wright brothers plane. It's true. And the correspondents' dinner itself is a tradition dating back to 1920. Back then, this event was only for men. It's true. And there is a plaque in the lobby commemorating this as the location of the first ever total sausage fest. #totalsausagefest. But that's all changed. Now America is a land of diversity, only here would you find a black president, a soon to be Hispanic majority and all 19 nationalities contained within Arianna Huffington's accent. That was low.
It's a genuine thrill to be here in Washington, D.C., the city that started the whole crack smoking mayor craze. You guys were the first. I hope he's not here tonight.
People say that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is a clumsy mess but he can't help it. He's a big guy. He's like a bull in a crack pipe shop. Between Rob Ford, Justin Bieber and Ted Cruz, you want to tell Canada, hey, hey, relax. We already have a Florida.
Ted Cruz proposed a government shutdown to protest the affordable care act and everyone else in Congress decided to go along with it just to get time away from Ted Cruz. The tea party is anti-socialism and anti-immigration. So it makes sense their hero is a Cuban from Canada. Poignant. That one was poignant.
The vice president isn't here tonight, not for security reasons. He just thought this event was being held at the Dulles Airport Applebee's. Yes, right now Joe is elbow deep in jalapeno poppers and talking to a construction cone he thinks is John Boehner. Also true.
It's crazy to think that Joe Biden is only one heartbeat away from no one taking him seriously as president. Sorry for that one. Biden will likely be running for president in 2016 saying, and I quote, there's no obvious reason not to.
He talks about his motivation for a presidential run as if he's deciding to finish a meatball hoagie. Hey, it's there, isn't it? Look, all I'm saying is if the bread is toasty and the cheese is warm, I'm going to finish that thing.
Jill, bring me my hoagie one, no, not that one, the fancy one.
Hillary Clinton has a lot going for her as a candidate. She has experience. She's a natural leader an and as our first female president, we could pay her 30 percent less. That's a savings this country could use. Who's with me?
Hillary's daughter Chelsea is pregnant which means in nine months we will officially have a squall to "bad grandpa." it also raises the question, when the baby is born, do you give bill Clinton a cigar? You guys sound like you are on a roller coaster right now.
There's a heated race on the Republican side they are all battling to see who will win over the GOP base and more importantly who gets to apply turtle wax to Sheldon Adelson's rascal scooter. Jeb Bush is thinking about running. Another Bush might be in the White House.
Is it already time for our every ten years surprise party for Iraq? As it stands right now, the Republican presidential nominee will either be Jeb Bush, rand Paul or a bag of flour with Ronald Reagan's face drawn on it. Bag of flour! All right, people are asking will Donald Trump run again? And the answer is, does that thing on his head crap in the woods? I actually don't know. I don't know. I don't know if that thing on his head has a digestive system. So speaking of digestive systems, Chris Christie is here. He's actually here. Tonight. Wow. Sir, you are a glutton for punishment. So here we go.
Chris Christie, his administration cancelled the train tunnel to Manhattan. They are closing the flasky Sky way, and they blocked the George Washington bridge. Finally, a politician willing to stand up to America's commuters.
Governor, do you want bridge jokes or size jokes? Because I got bunch of both. I could go half and half. I know you like a combo platter. No. I get that. I'm sorry for that joke, Governor Christie. I didn't know I was going to tell it but I take full responsibility for it. Whoever wrote it will be fired but the buck stops here. So I will be a man and own up to just as soon as I get to the bottom of how it happened. Because I was unaware it happens until just now.
I'm appointing a blue ribbon commission of me to investigate the joke I just told and if I find any wrong doing on my part, aw I assure you I will be dealt with. I just looked into it and as it turns out I'm not responsible for it. Justice has been served. He's going to kill me.
Mr. President, you're no stranger to criticism. Ted Nugent called you a sub-human mongrel and it is comments like that which really make me question, whether can we take the guy who wrote wang dang sweet puntang (ph) seriously anymore?
Your approval rating has slipped and even worse you only have two stars on yelp. Mitch McConnell said his number one priority was to get the president out of office. So Mitch, congrats on being just two years away from realizing your goal. You did it! Kind of.
Mr. President, your harshest critics have compared you to Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler and even Satan. And I just have to say those comparisons are outrageous. You look way older than those guys. Just because -- look, Morgan Freeman has played a president a few times. That doesn't mean you have to look exactly like him, all right?
But you are healthy which is great every year. The White House doctor checks the president for Polyps and George Clooney's head.
Yes. It's good that White House press secretary and boy detective Jay Carney is here. it is big night for Jay. I haven't seen him this nervous since the president told him, look, just go out there and tell them the Web site's broken. They'll understand. That actually probably was a monument.
Mr. President, you have to admit and you already have the launch of healthcare.gov was a disaster. It was so bad. It was bad, But I don't have an analogy because the Web site is now the thing people use to describe other bad things. They say stuff like, I shouldn't have eaten that sushi. I was up all night healthcare.goving. Boy, that latest Johnny Depp movie really healthcare.gov to the box office. Look at my new rug the dogs healthcare.goved on it. You can't get healthcare.gov out of shag. But thanks to Obamacare, millions of newly insure young Americans can visit a doctor's office and see what a print magazine actually looks like. That's awesome.
Now over eight million people have signed up for Obamacare which sounds impressive until you realize that Ashley did tail has 12 million twitter followers. So it's pretty good.
There's a lot going on in the world right now. There's a madman who has had plastic surgery running around annexing small countries in eastern Europe and all I keep thinking is what the hell is Bruce Jenner doing in Crimea? Do they even get that show there?
Sir, I do think you are making a big mistake with Putin. You have to show a guy like that that you are just as crazy as he is. He invades Crimea, you invade Cancun. Russian takes back the Ukraine, America takes back Texas, something to think about.
Julia Pierson, the new director of the secret service is here tonight. Yes. Under her leadership secret service agents no longer consort with prostitutes thanks to their new too drunk to make it to the brothel program. I'm sure she loves that. The director of national intelligence, James Clapper is here. Finally I can put a face to the mysterious voice clearing its throat on the other end of the phone. It was weird.
And you know, to prepare for tonight I've been watching a lot of cable news. I am a big fan of that lesbian on MSNBC, Chris Hayes. He's great. Yes, yes, I agree. MSNBC is a confusing place. I mean, Al Sharpton is their skinny guy.
And CNN is desperately searching for something they have been missing for months, their dignity. Totally. That was just that table.
At this point, CNN is like the radio shack in a sad strip mall. You don't know how it stayed in business this long. You don't know anyone that shops there and they just fired Piers Morgan. Thank you.
FOX News is the highest rated network in cable news. Yes. I can't believe your table is pushed out that far. And it's all thanks to their key demographic the corpses of old people who tuned in to FOX News and haven't yet been discovered.
Former "Inside Edition" host, Bill O'Reilly is not here. He did host that. Bill has another book coming out soon. So he is making his ghost writers work around the clock.
Bill O'Reilly, Megan Kelly and Sean Hannity are the mount Rushmore of keeping old people angry. This event brings together Washington and Hollywood. The relationship between Washington and Hollywood has been a long and fruitful one.
You give us tax credits for film and television production and in return, we bring much needed jobs to hard-working American cities like Vancouver, Toronto and Vancouver again.
Hollywood helps America by projecting a heroic image to the rest of the world. We just released another movie about captain America or as he is known in China, captain who owes us $1.1 trillion.
There are a lot of celebrities here tonight. They're the ones who don't look like ghouls. Look around. The cast of "Veep" is here. That's a series about what would happen if a Seinfeld star actually landed on another good show. I like to do a benchmark as The folks from "duck dynasty" had a very challenging year.
The grandfather on the show made homophobic and racist comments. But people are overlooking another issue. He really hates ducks.
"House of Cards" has had a huge impact on Washington. What a great show. I haven't seen a southern senator give a tour de force appearance like that since Lindsey Graham played blank Dubois (ph)in "streetcar named desire." And Lindsey, if you are here now, you can drop character anytime, man.
And I'm not going to spoil the shocking twist on "House of Cards." We just know that it was surprising that Nancy Pelosi's face almost change expression. Did you like that one, Nancy? I can't tell.
All right, I'd like to congratulate (INAUDIBLE) who is here tonight on his Oscar. And to the Republican senator who asked to introduced to quote "that hot chick" from Dallas buyers club.