President Obama’s Remarks at the White House Correspondents Dinner


Tonight, President Obama will be attending the White House Correspondents Dinner for the sixth time during his presidency.

Below are links to the transcripts of his remarks at the first five dinners. I think that they are of interest for several reasons.

First, he does this sort of thing better than any president—if not in history, then in living memory. Commentators focus on how difficult it is for the featured comedians to strike the right balance between being respectful and being true to themselves, between avoiding egregiously cheap shots and being genuinely funny. But the president has an even more difficult task: he has to be funny while remaining presidential. His speechwriters can provide him with terrific material, but he has to be able to deliver it with an almost perfect pitch and tone.

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About martinkich

I am a Professor of English at Wright State University's Lake Campus, where I have been a faculty member for more than 25 years. I have now served multiple terms as the President of the WSU chapter of AAUP, which now includes all full-time instructional faculty, and as the Vice-President of the Ohio Conference of AAUP. I have also served several terms as an at-large member of the Executive Committee of AAUP's Collective Bargaining Congress. In addition to serving as co-editor of the Academe blog, I am also a member of the editorial board of Academe and have been a guest editor for an issue of the magazine on collective bargaining strategies. As co-chair of the Ohio Conference's Communication Committee, I began to do much more overtly political writing during the campaign to repeal Ohio's Senate Bill 5, which would have eliminated the right of faculty to be unionized. I have sustained that activism, and at the risk of stating the obvious, I have very much enjoyed contributing to the Academe Blog and to our chapter blog. I also maintain several other blogs to which I have re-posted, by topic, my posts to the Academe blog, as well as some other items.

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