Obama hosts last correspondents dinner as president

President Barack Obama cracks jokes and pokes fun at rivals in his last appearance as US president at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

US President Barack Obama speaks at the 102nd White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in Washington, DC, on April 30, 2016.

Updated May 2, 2016

President Barack Obama cracked jokes and poked fun at rivals on Saturday in his last appearance as US leader at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner, ending his performance with a mic drop and the words "Obama out."

The black-tie event, at which the president, followed by a bona fide comedian, regale journalists and their celebrity guests with insider jokes about government and the media, is an annual inside-the-beltway ritual.

Obama poked fun at himself, the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates and reporters. On a serious note he praised Washington Post former Tehran correspondent Jason Rezaian, released in October after 18 months in an Iranian prison.

US President Barack Obama says "Obama out!" at the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner in Washington, April 30, 2016. (Reuters)

Obama made fun about how he has aged on the job and how in his final year his approval ratings have been rising. "The last time I was this high, I was trying to decide on my major," Obama said, a reference to smoking pot in college.

However billionaire Republican former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who toyed with the idea of entering the presidential race, was at the event.

"Mike, a combative, controversial New York billionaire is leading the GOP primary and it's not you,"Obama told Bloomberg, in a reference to the Repulican frontrunner Donald Trump.

"That has to sting a little bit. Although it is not an entirely unfair comparison between you and The Donald. Mike was a big city mayor. He knows policy in depth, and he is actually worth the amount of money that he says he is."

Trump was the target of some pointed jabs at the 2011 dinner, and said he would not attend this year's event, suggesting that the media would misreport his mood.

Democratic US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and his wife Jane attend the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner in Washington, April 30, 2016. (Reuters)

But Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was present.

"Bernie, you look like a million bucks. Or, to put in terms you will understand, you look like 37,000 donations of $27 each," Obama said, a reference to the flood of small contributions to Sanders' insurgent campaign.

"I am hurt though, Bernie, that you have distanced yourself for me. That's not something that you do to your comrade."

Obama ended his presentation by saying "Obama out" followed by a microphone drop, a celebrity and pop culture way of saying that the performance was so good there is nothing to add.

Hollywood celebrities at the event included actors Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, Kerry Washington, star of the Washington-based TV show "Scandal," Helen Mirren, Bryan Cranston and singer Aretha Franklin.