January 29th, 2012
01:48 PM ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama poked fun at himself Saturday night while delivering a joke-filled monologue at the Alfalfa Club’s annual dinner in Washington. “It is great to be here tonight, because I have about 45 more minutes on the State of the Union that I’d like to deliver tonight,” Obama announced to the crowd of Washington insiders, politicians and business elite.
The exclusive black-tie dinner was closed to press coverage, but the White House released some excerpts of the President's remarks.
The Alfalfa Club, one of Washington’s more unusual social organizations, exists only for the purpose of holding a satire-filled dinner every January. The club consists of approximately 200 members, including past presidents - and possibly future ones.
One dinner tradition is to nominate a future presidential candidate, although none of this year’s Republican hopefuls were reported to be in attendance. President Obama remarked, “It is great to see Jeb Bush, who is accepting a nomination for President tonight. I have to say, though, it's not fair to tease your friends like that.”
This year’s dinner was only the second time Obama has attended as president. He joked about the club’s exclusive reputation. “You've heard it from the pundits: 'Obama is cloistered in the White House.' 'He's aloof.' 'He's in the bubble.' 'He's not connecting.' And that’s why one of my big goals this year was to get out and be among everyday, ordinary Americans - like the men and women of the Alfalfa Club."
Ironically, outside the hotel where the dinner took place, Occupy DC demonstrators were protesting against the elite nature of the event.
Back inside, the president aimed some barbs at his political opponents, teasing Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner. “It is good to see you at the head table. I know how badly Eric Cantor wanted your seat. But, John, I want you to know: I am eager to work with members of Congress to be entertaining tonight. But if Congress is unwilling to cooperate, I will be funny without them.”
Obama has been reported to have a good sense of humor in private settings. Displaying a bit of self-deprecating humor Saturday, he quipped to the crowd, “At least my harshest critics can agree I have a promising future - as an Al Green impersonator."