Obama and McCain trade friendly jabs at the 2008 Al Smith dinner

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   Oct. 18, 2012 at 5:11 PM   |   Comments

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Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Thursday night's big political event, the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner featuring President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, could be a somewhat tense affair.

A hallmark of presidential campaigns, the Al Smith dinner is often called a "de-militarized zone" of the campaign season, when the candidates share a room in a far less contentious atmosphere than the official debates. But Obama and Romney could barely contain their animus toward one another on the debate stage at Hofstra University on Tuesday.

Unlike the current campaign, the 2008 contest was one with a degree of mutual respect between the candidates. Four years ago, Senators John McCain and Barack Obama traded good-natured jokes at one another's expense at the dinner.

During his turn at the podium, McCain ribbed Obama for the unrealistically sky-high expectations surrounding his opponent and his own disorganized campaign. Obama mocked McCain for the age gap between them and birtherism rumors. Both candidates, naturally, took their shots at the press, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and George W. Bush.

And here's a highlight reel for the short on time.

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