Dick Cheney was not the "entertainment" for the evening, but the famously churlish vice president tapped his funny bone (with the considerable help of talented writers) to deliver a ribald address at the 64th Annual Radio and Television Correspondents Association dinner Wednesday night in Washington.
The honorees at this years RTCA dinner included NBC News Washington correspondent David Gregory, who accepted the Joan Barone Award. And CBS News chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan, who was this year’s David Bloom Award winner.
Cheney was at the dinner in President George W. Bush’s stead, as the president was otherwise occupied hosting a dinner for Pope Benedict XVI. The president apologized, via a taped message, saying he sent the "funniest person I know: Dick Cheney."
Taking the podium in fishing hat and sunglasses, Cheney recalled his breakfast that morning with the pope, explaining to the ballroom of journalists, "I spent the morning with one infallible authority figure and now I get the opportunity to spend the evening with 1,000 of them."
He poked fun at his denials of global warming, saying he has come to terms with the fact that we are "in the midst of a global warming: spring." And promised to do his best to reduce his own carbon footprint by insisting on a "hybrid ambulance" the next time he’s rushed to the hospital.
The vice president’s Machiavellian demeanor was a frequent touchstone. He asked his wife, Lynne, if it bugs her that he’s constantly referred to as Darth Vader. Her reply, said Cheney: "Not at all. It humanizes you."
Of course, Cheney took liberal broadsides at Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
Saying Obama was actually "his cousin," Cheney recalled a conversation during which the vice president implored Obama to pick a running mate. "He said he’ll find a running mate just as soon as he finds a new pastor."
Defending Hillary Clinton’s gaff about having to run and duck for cover amid sniper fire in Bosnia, he said, "She made an honest mistake. She confused the Bosnia trip with the time I took her hunting."
Former Republican Mitt Romney also got the opportunity to reveal a heretofore little seen facet of his famously wooden personality: delivering a Top Ten list of reasons he dropped out of the Republican contest.
"I got tired of the corkscrew landings under sniper fire."
"I’d rather get fat, grow a beard and try for the Nobel Prize."
And the number one reason Romney dropped out of the race: "Flaw in our campaign strategy: As Utah goes, so goes the nation."