Gordon Ramsay leads the A-list to Washington as Obama plays comedian-in-chief at White House dinner

Hollywood was left almost deserted of stars over the weekend as a who’s who list of celebrities headed to Washington DC for the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

Desperate Housewives actress Eva Longoria joined power couples Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes and Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher at the annual event, while Gordon Ramsay and his newly made-over wife Tana led the British contingent.

The black-tie gathering of journalists, politicians and celebrities watched Barack Obama serve as comedian-in-chief, delivering what is traditionally a humorous and light-hearted presidential speech.


And he didn’t disappoint his many famous fans.

‘I must confess I really did not want to be here tonight,’ Obama told guests as he took to the podium at the Hilton hotel. ‘But I knew I had to come. That’s one more problem that I inherited from George W. Bush.’

Former vice-president Dick Cheney could not make the dinner, Mr Obama joked, because he was writing his memoir, How To Shoot Friends And Interrogate People – a reference to Mr Cheney’s support of harsh interrogation and his accidental shooting of a hunting companion.Mr Obama noted he and secretary of state Hillary Clinton had once been rivals but he assured the audience ‘these days, we could not be closer’.

‘In fact, the second she got back from Mexico, she pulled me into a hug,’ he said in reference to the threat of a spreading swine flu.

Alluding to his reputation for staying cool and on message, Obama ticked off a series of goals he hoped to achieve.In the next 100 days, he said, he would learn to go off the teleprompter and Vice President Joe Biden, famous for verbal gaffes, ‘will learn to stay on the prompter’.

Obama said he also expected to house-train his new, seven-month-old Portuguese water dog, Bo.

‘The last thing Tim Geithner needs is someone else treating him like a fire hydrant,’ he said, referring to his treasury secretary.
Geithner was forced to pay $34,000 in unpaid back taxes before being confirmed to his job and he has been criticised for his handling of the financial crisis.

‘Finally, I believe that my next 100 days will be so successful that I will be able to complete them in 72 days. And on the 73rd day, I will rest,’ he joshed.

In a dig at the press, Obama said: ‘We look for you for truth – even if it’s always an approximation.’

‘Most of you covered me. All of you voted for me,’ he then told reporters before quipping: ‘Apologies to the Fox table.’

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