Gridiron President Charles J. Lewis of Hearst Newspapers got things rolling by noting Obama's State of the Union address called for more taxes, more infrastructure spending and a new federal pre-kindergarten program.
"It looks to me like the era of big government being over, is now over," Lewis said.
Lewis noted a gathering of reporters may not be the president's favorite venue.
"As we were walking in, I thought I heard [the president] say, 'So many newspaper reporters. So many interviews to turn down,'" Lewis said.
Gridiron Club members performed skits lampooning Republicans and Democrats, with the GOP skewered for losing the presidency and Vice President Joe Biden getting ribbed for his "big effen" role in the White House.
A send-up of rocker Pete Townsend's "Pinball Wizard" took another knock at Obama with these lyrics:
"Who knew when his magic
"First had us all transfixed
"That this politician
"Loves his TelePrompTer, loves a White House ball
"But mighty Obama
"Don't schmooze with us at all."
But Obama showed the 650 political leaders, media executives and reporters gathered for the 128th annual Gridiron Club and Foundation dinner at the Renaissance Hotel he's a good sport, taking up the timely topic of sequestration budget cuts.
"Because of sequester, they cut my tails," the president said. "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."