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Subject: pool #5 // Gridiron remarks

Print pool was ushered into the grand ballroom of the Renaissance Washington Hotel at 10:04 p.m. as the president was beginning his remarks at the 128th annual Gridiron Club and Foundation dinner.


The room is packed with long, rectangular tables, with about 25 guests sitting at each. I count 22 people at the head table, not including POTUS. Bobby Jindal, Amy Klobuchar, Jay Carney are among those at the head table, which is decorated with red roses and the gridiron icon in bright lights behind the podium. As noted earlier, there are about 650 guests.


Please check quotes against transcript, but here are some initial highlights.


At 10:18 p.m. the president is still speaking.


On sequester: “Because of sequester, they cut my tails. My joke writers have been placed on furlough…there is one thing in Washington that didn’t get cut: The length of this dinner. Yet more proof that the sequester makes no sense.”


On the Woodward story: “This whole brouhaha has had me a little surprised…Who knew Gene [Sperling] could be so intimidating? Or let me phrase it differently: Who knew anybody named Gene could be this intimidating?”


Poking fun at Marco Rubio’s water sip: “Of course, as I begin my second term, our country is still facing enormous challenges,” the president said, taking a long sip of water. “That, Marco Rubio, is how you take a sip of water.”


On John Kerry: “Let’s face it Hillary is a tough act to follow…Frankly, though, I think it’s time for him to stop showing up at work in pant suits. It’s a disturbing image. I don’t know where he buys them. He’s a tall guy.”


Other notable attendees in addition to those listed in report #3, include: Baltimore Ravens Coach John Harbaugh,, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, former Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson. Current/former Obama aides include David Plouffe, Daniel Pfeiffer, Jennifer Palmieri, Stephanie Cutter.


More to come.


John Fritze

The Baltimore Sun