The unshakeable foundation of Barack Obama's rise to political prominence is his gifted ease with the power of words, a power he put to wholly effective use in his books Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope. That gifted ease gave birth to Obama's rousing status as our generation's greatest orator — a distinction that Obama is unsurprisingly quite good at tweaking for the occasional bout of comedic necessity.
At tonight's White House Correspondents' Dinner, the president — with the valuable assistance of 28-year-old speechwriter David Litt — delivered a confident speech with a complex tone of swagger, subtle subversion, and that instinctual wit that only a president of Obama's caliber could deliver with such conviction.
These were Obama's biggest laughs of the night, including a couple lines from surprise guest and renowned anger translator Luther (Keegan-Michael Key).
"[The White House Correspondents' Dinner] is the night when Washington celebrates itself. Somebody's gotta do it."
When asked about a possible bucket list: "Well, I have something that rhymes with bucket list."
"Executive action on immigration? Bucket!"
"The Castro brothers are here tonight!"
"I look so old John Boehner already invited Netanyahu to speak at my funeral."
"Some people still say I'm arrogant, aloof, and condescending. Some people are so dumb."
"Dick Cheney says he thinks I'm the worst president of his lifetime, which is interesting because I think Dick Cheney is the worst president of my lifetime."
On the biblical end of days: "Now that's a legacy."
On his friendship with Biden: "We've gotten so close in some places in Indiana, they won't serve us pizza anymore."
"Usually the only people impersonating journalists on CNN are journalists on CNN."
On Blackish: "Being blackish only makes you popular for so long."
On Ted Cruz comparing himself to Galileo: "Now that's not really an apt comparison. Galileo believed the earth revolved around the sun. Cruz believes that the earth revolves around Ted Cruz."
And two gems from Luther:
"I'm not a scientist but I do know how to count to ten."
To Obama: "You need counseling. I'm out."