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For One Night, Obama And Romney Will Trade Jokes, Not Jabs

Filed by KOSU News in Politics.
October 18, 2012

After sharp words on the debate stage Tuesday and after weeks of tough talk about each other on the campaign trail, President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney face a different kind of challenge tonight:

They have to be funny about each other and about themselves.

As The New York Times says, it should be “a night of laughs amid a bitter run for president.”

Obama and Romney will be the featured speakers at the annual Al Smith Dinner in New York City, an event that raises funds for charities in the Archdiocese of New York. Founded in 1946, the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation is named for the former New York governor who broke a barrier for Catholics when he was the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee in 1928.

The first presidential contenders to speak at the dinner were John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960, the Times says. What’s it like when presidential rivals take a break this late in a campaign to lob jokes instead of jabs?

C-SPAN.org has video of the entire 2008 dinner here. Thanks to the tools that let you make clips, we’ve pulled out some short highlights from the addresses by Sen. John McCain (the 2008 GOP nominee) and Obama.

Also on the funny front: The president is due to tape an appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart this afternoon. It should be broadcast tonight on Comedy Central, at 11 p.m. ET.

For much more coverage of the 2012 campaign, see It’s All Politics. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

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