The Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner is an annual white tie charity fundraiser for Catholic charities, held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York on the third Thursday of October. It is organized by the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation in honor of former New York Governor Al Smith, the first Catholic presidential candidate. The first dinner was in 1945, the year after Al Smith's death. The 2008 dinner raised $3.9 million.
Since 1960 (when Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy were speakers), it has been a stop for the two main presidential candidates during several U.S. election years. In 1976, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter spoke; in 1980, Carter and Ronald Reagan; in 1988, Michael Dukakis and George H.W. Bush; in 2000, Al Gore and George W. Bush; in 2008, John McCain and Barack Obama; and in 2012, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Since 1945, only two presidents have not spoken at the dinner: Harry Truman and Bill Clinton. Candidates have traditionally given humorous speeches poking fun at themselves and their opponents, making the event similar to a roast. It is generally the last event at which the two candidates share a stage before the election.This year the candidates, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, both spoke at the dinner. This will not be their last on-stage shared event, however, as they are scheduled for one final presidential debate on Monday, October 22, just 6 nights after the one held this past Tuesday night.
Although Obama made some humorous remarks, Mitt Romney stole the show.
The following excerpts are of some of the jokes he told.
Romney: A campaign can require a lot of wardrobe changes, ... but it's nice to relax and finally wear what Ann and I wear around the house.
Romney: I was hoping that President Obama would bring Joe Biden along, because he'll laugh at anything. (Cheshire Joe)Full transcript of Romney's remarks available here.
Romney: We were chatting pleasantly this evening as if Tuesday didn't happen.
Romney: Usually when I get invited to gatherings like this, it's just to be the designated driver.
Romney: We're down to the final months of the president's term.
Romney: I have my beautiful wife Ann, he has Bill Clinton.
Romney, referring to St. Peter, says skeptics will say "if you've got a Church, you didn't build that."
Romney says Obama's new campaign slogan is "you're better off than you were four weeks ago."
Romney: The president's remarks tonight are brought to you by the letter O and the number 16 trillion.
Romney says headlines will say "polls show Obama leading from behind."
|Romney, New York's Timothy Cardinal Dolan, and Obama|