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Sykes blasts Limbaugh, defends Michelle Obama's right to bare arms

May 10, 2009 | 11:37 am

First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House Correspondents Assn. dinner May 9, 2009

Comedian Wanda Sykes drew appreciative laughs for most of her jokes at last night's White House Correspondents Assn. Dinner.

But when she targeted conservative icon Rush Limbaugh, taunting him for rooting for President Obama to fail, describing him as the 20th (never identified) hijacker, there was an audible intake of breath.

See what you think.

Sykes also had some choice comments about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who wasn't there, and FOX commentator Sean Hannity, who was. She even chided the president for baring his nipples to the cameras, saying, "I know you’re into this transparency thing, but, uh, I don’t need to see your nipples."

The WHCA Dinner will no doubt survive her jibes. This social institution started in 1920. This year, with Obama a rock star to the glitterati, 3,000 top Hollywood celebrities, political powers and media heavyweights crowded the Washington Hilton Hotel to meet the new president.

No one looked more glamorous than First Lady Michelle Obama, who attended in what mrs-o.org, the website that chronicles her fashion, called a fitted fuchsia sheath dress and bejeweled statement necklace.

Taking a cue from the first lady, many women went without sleeves.

Frankly, some who no longer can did anyway. (They know who they are.)

Others who could did. Actresses Mariska Hargitay, Natalie Portman and Eva Longoria Parker, designer Donatella Versace and the aptly-named Trudie Styler (Sting's wife) went bare-armed, and looked stunning.

Some who could chose not to. The 30-year-old Katie Holmes went with her own design -- the Holmes-Yang line -- a demure ivory outfit of matching blazer, top and maxi skirt.

Amid all the bare arms, Sykes defended the first lady for showing hers, in the process taking a....

...dig at other unnamed first ladies who never bared theirs.

"How dare you people give her grief about showing her arms. The country’s broke! Sleeves cost money!" she said. Besides, Sykes said, "she has beautiful arms. Some of the previous first ladies — they needed the sleeves. Some of them needed the ponchos." As some in the audience hooted, the comedian defended herself, saying, "I didn’t name any names!"

Still, she was not above chiding the first lady.

“But you do need to keep your arms to yourself sometimes," she said. "You went over to London, touching the queen. You can’t do that! You’re over there patting the queen on the back like she just slid into home plate. ‘Way to go, Queen!’ ”

The president, meanwhile, was making his own fashion statement. Obama opted not to go black tie for the black-tie event, choosing a business suit. Of course he was wearing an American flag pin, so maybe that was his fashion statement.

For his part of the program, Obama managed to be self-deprecating while still taking a few shots at political foes such as House Minority Leader John Boehner and former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Here are highlights of the president's remarks.



Read highlights of Sykes' routine below.

-- Johanna Neuman

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Photo: First Lady Michelle Obama muscles up at the dinner. Credit: Reuters

Highlights from Wanda Sykes’ stand-up act at Saturday night’s White House Correspondents’ Assn. Dinner:

“People love you [Mr. President] — even the media. You guys have been favorable toward the president. You know, it’s funny to me that they never caught you smoking, but they always catch you with your shirt off.

“Now, I know you’re into this transparency thing, but, uh, I don’t need to see your nipples.

“Is there a beach at Camp David? What the hell?

“You don’t have no nipple portrait of Lincoln.”

***

“This is amazing, the first black president – I know you’re biracial – but the first black president! You’re proud to be able to say that – the first black president. That’s unless you screw up. Then it’s going to be, ‘What’s up with the half-white guy, huh? Who voted for the mulatto, what the hell?’ ”

***

“You just hang out. I think you hang out too much. What was that, you and Joe Biden out getting a hamburger? The two of you can’t hang out together. I mean, whose idea was that, Nancy Pelosi’s: ‘Hey, Why don’t you boys go out and get a bite?’ ”

***

“God forbid that Joe Biden falls into the hands of terrorists. God forbid if it’s ever a hostile situation. We’re done. Oh, they won’t even have to torture him. All they have to do is go, ‘How’s it going, Joe?
” ….

“’What did you do, did you waterboard him? No, I just said, ‘nice weather,’ and he’s still talking. Can’t listen to him anymore, it’s like torture.’ ”

***

“What’s up with all these governors not wanting to take the [bailout] money. Who turns down money? Maybe you should get Oprah to give it away. Oprah would say, “OK, governors, look under your seats!


***

“Gov. Palin, she’s not here tonight, she pulled out at the last minute. Somebody should tell her, that’s not really how you practice abstinence.”

***

“How dare you people give [Michelle Obama] grief about showing her arms. The country’s broke! Sleeves cost money!

“She has beautiful arms. Some of the previous first ladies — they needed the sleeves. Some of them needed the ponchos. [Audience hoots.] I didn’t name any names!

“But you do need to keep your arms to yourself sometimes. You went over to London, touching the queen. You can’t do that! You’re over there patting the queen on the back like she just slid into home plate. ‘Way to go, Queen!’ ”

***

"Mr. President ... you've had your fair share of critics ... Rush Limbaugh, one of your big critics, boy — Rush Limbaugh said he hopes this administration fails. So you’re saying, ‘I hope America fails.’ You’re like, ‘I don’t care about people losing their homes, their jobs or our soldiers in Iraq.’ He just wants our country to fail.

To me, that’s treason. He’s not saying anything differently than Osama bin Laden is saying. You know you might want to look into this, sir, because I think Rush Limbaugh was the 20th hijacker but he was just so strung out on Oxycontin he missed his flight

“Too much?

“You’re laughing inside, I know you’re laughing.

“Rush Limbaugh — I hope the country fails. I hope his kidneys fail, how about that?

“He needs a waterboarding, that’s what he needs.”

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