Last night, Senators John McCain and Barack Obama attended the 63rd Annual Alfred E. Smith dinner hosted by the Archdiocese of New York. The event, known to show the human side and personalities of the candidates commemorates the death of Alfred E. Smith, the first Catholic to be nominated by a major political party to run for the presidency.
During the dinner, which raised $4 million to assist the poor living within the Archdiocese of New York, the senators sat on either side of New York Cardinal Edward Egan (McCain at his right and Obama at his left) and afterwards joked about themselves, their campaigns, and of course, each other.
During McCain’s 14-minute speech, he poked fun at the often-used Messianic language used to describe his opponent.
"After all, it began so long ago with the heralded arrival of the man known to Oprah Winfrey as 'The One.' Being a friend and colleague of Barack I just called him 'That One'."
He continued, throwing a jab at Obama, “He doesn't mind at all. In fact, he even has a pet name for me: 'George Bush'."
McCain kept the audience laughing as he noted his current status as the “underdog.” However, he remarked, “if you know where to look there are signs of hope, even in the most unexpected of places, even in the room filled with proud Manhattan Democrats. I can't shake that feeling that some people here are pulling for me.” He then added, “I'm delighted to see you here tonight, Hillary."
He also called to attention the voter registration and the media coverage around the country.
"So, you know I have fun with the media. We all know that the press is really an independent, civic-minded and non-partisan group … like ACORN.
"In case you haven't been following my opponent's 'Get Out The Vote' campaign, ACORN is helping to register groups that were previously excluded, overlooked and under-served – second-graders, the deceased, Disney characters."
In his closing words, McCain spoke from the heart to Obama, “"I don't want it getting out of this room, but my opponent is an impressive fellow in many ways." He continued, “I've had a few glimpses of this man at his best and I admire his great skill, energy and determination. It's not for nothing, but he's inspired many folks in his own party and beyond. Senator Obama talks about making history and he's made quite a bit of it already. There was a time when the mere invitation of an African-American citizen to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage and an insult. Today is a world away from the cruelty and prideful bigotry of that time – and good riddance.”
"I can't wish my opponent luck, but I do wish him well."
Obama then took the microphone and joked about his name, explained that though he isn’t “the chosen one,” he felt it was the right time to explain who he is.
"Who is Barack Obama? Contrary to the rumors you may have heard, I was not born in a manger. I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father, Jor-El, to save the planet Earth," he said, alluding to Superman.
"Many of you know I got my name, Barack, from my father," Obama said. "It's actually Swahili for 'That One.'
"And I got my middle name, obviously, from someone who never thought I'd be running for president."
Obama also joked about his elaborate stage at the Democrat’s National Convention. "I was originally told we'd be able to move this outdoors to Yankee Stadium," he said of the dinner.
He then glanced around and said, “Could somebody tell me what happened to the Greek columns that I requested?"
Obama also had words of praise for his rival. He commented that few Americans had served the U.S. with the “honor and distinction” that McCain had while he was in the Navy.