Open thread: Mostly retired president to goof on Trump at White House Correspondents Dinner

I’ve been writing and re-writing the annual post about how clammy this event is for 10 years, but if you’re as sharp as Iowahawk, you can do it in fewer than 140 characters.

Why bother watching if you’re used to skipping it? For one reason: Obama’s inevitably going to spend a chunk of his stand-up set attacking Trump and then Trump’s going to spend most of the day tomorrow attacking Obama. There’s an entire news cycle in the making here! This won’t be the first time Obama’s used this platform to go after him either. He did a long bit in 2011 goofing on Trump for his Birther fixation, which in hindsight looks like Trump’s way of testing the waters for a presidential campaign aimed at righty populists. Trump was in the audience that night five years ago; such is his ego that some have speculated that Obama’s public mockery of him inspired him to take revenge by trying to win the White House himself. (Trump denies this.) He won’t be there tonight but Obama has every incentive to zero in on him. Reportedly he wants to play a part on the trail for Hillary this year as an attack dog against Trump, which may be part of his own revenge ploy for the Birther stuff. Now that Hillary’s all but clinched the nomination, tonight’s shtick is the unofficial opening of Obama’s surrogate campaign.

The keynote speaker is Larry Wilmore, who’s simply terrible and even more prone to substituting received left-wing wisdom for effective punchlines than most other late-night hosts in the “Daily Show” mold. He’ll get some polite “clapter” but there’s a nonzero chance that as the act goes on he’ll ditch most of his attempts at jokes and just start berating Republicans, Trump especially. That works better for the left when there’s a Republican president sitting right there to absorb the abuse — ask Stephen Colbert — but they’ll be grateful regardless. He’s destined to feature in Trump’s rebuttal tomorrow too.

Oh, and there’s a special appearance set for tonight by … John Boehner. No foolin’.

Ted Cruz isn’t going to have the last word in his feud with former House Speaker John Boehner, as the lawmaker who branded Cruz ‘Lucifer in the flesh’ is set to have some fun before all of political Washington at the White House Correspondents Dinner, has learned…

Boehner did a video taping on Friday, suggesting he may play into some kind of a sketch Saturday night, but would only hint at what might be in store.

‘Before the weekend, there’ll be some news,’ he said cryptically, after taking time to meet a group of young teachers at Jefferson Academy high school in DC.

Nothing would be more Boehner-esque than tag-teaming a joke with Barack Obama about “Mr. Conservative” Ted Cruz being an A-hole. We’ll see what happens. The event starts at 7:30 ET on C-SPAN, although Obama and Wilmore aren’t expected to take the stage until after 9. Exit question: How would President Trump do at the WHCD? He can be very funny riffing off the cuff but I don’t think I’ve ever seen him tell scripted jokes. And he might have problems walking the line between gentle mockery of his opponents and outright insults from the podium. On the other hand, polite society disdains him enough that they may have to scrap this event next year if he’s elected due to a mass boycott by the regular invitees. Which, now that I think about it, is one of the best reasons I’ve heard yet to support him.

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