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Risque humor and earnest recognition at White House Correspondents dinner

By
Andrew V. Pestano
President Barack Obama speaks as Luther his translator played by Keegan-Michael Key gestures during the annual White House Correspondent's Association Gala at the Washington Hilton Hotel on April 25, 2015 in Washington, D.C. The dinner is an annual event attended by journalists, politicians and celebrities. Pool Photo by Olivier Douliery/UPI
President Barack Obama speaks as Luther his translator played by Keegan-Michael Key gestures during the annual White House Correspondent's Association Gala at the Washington Hilton Hotel on April 25, 2015 in Washington, D.C. The dinner is an annual event attended by journalists, politicians and celebrities. Pool Photo by Olivier Douliery/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, April 26 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama spoke at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner, giving a monolog full of jokes and subtext.

The dinner, attended by Washington journalists, business leaders, sports stars and celebrities, first began in 1920. Obama, in the "fouth quarter" of his presidency, joked about how he's aged while in office.

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"I look so old John Boehner's already invited Netanyahu to speak at my funeral," he said, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress, invited by Speaker of the House John Boehner to the White House's discontent.

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The president poked fun at his vice president, Joe Biden, known for occasional candid moments. Obama spoke of how close he's gotten with Biden, including during stressful times.

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"We've gotten so close, in some places in Indiana, they won't serve us pizza anymore," Obama said, in reference to Indiana's recent, highly-controversial Religious Freedom and Restoration Act, perceived to be anti-LGBT.

Obama tried out some thinly-veiled colorful language describing his attitude toward his last years as president. Rather than a bucket list, the president said, "well, I have something that rhymes with bucket."

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Obama's speech had a guest appearance by Keegan-Michael Key, of Comedy Central's Key and Peele series. Key was Obama's "anger translator," saying things the president may think but perhaps should not say.

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But not all of Obama's time at the podium was for fun. He took a somber turn to address the dangers of journalism and to honor journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, killed by the Islamic State. He also spoke of Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post journalist who is being detained in Iran, charged with espionage.

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He also honored the work of journalism that "exposes corruption, injustice. Gives voice to the different and the marginalized, the voiceless."

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