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Obama, Romney trade witty barbs at charity dinner


New York, Oct 19 (IANS) Despite two bitter debates and the countdown having begun to next month’s presidential election, President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney showed that American politicians do have a sense of humour when both took a short break from the campaign trail to trade playful jabs at a charity dinner here.

Taking the podium first at the annual Al Smith Dinner Thursday in midtown Manhattan, tuxedo-clad Romney joked about his wealth, saying it was nice to "finally relax and wear what Ann and I wear around the house."

He also quipped that he and the president chatted pleasantly at dinner, "as if Tuesday never happened", a reference to their lively, feisty exchanges during the second presidential debate in Hampstead, New York.

Taking another playful jab at Obama, Romney said both candidates have crucial people on whom they rely. As Romney put it, "I have my beautiful wife, Ann, he’s got Bill Clinton."

When it was his turn, Obama said he was much more lively at Tuesday’s second presidential debate "after the nice long nap I had at the first debate."

As for the next debate on Monday, the president reminded everyone that the topic would be foreign affairs.

"Spoiler alert," Obama quipped. "We got bin Laden."

The white-tie affair raises millions for the Governor Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation and is organized by the Catholic Archdiocese of New York to benefit needy children.

Alfred E. Smith IV, great-grandson of the dinner’s namesake, joked that he was the night’s "referee" when introducing himself as master of ceremonies.

While in Manhattan, Obama also taped an episode of Comedy Central’s "The Daily Show" where host Jon Stewart joked that he was making a scrapbook. He then pulled out a pair of photos of the two presidential debates, according to a CNN report. In one photo, Obama’s wife, Michelle, is looking at the president angrily; in the other photo, she’s smiling.

"Do you know which debate was which?" Stewart asked, poking fun at Obama’s widely panned debate performance at the first debate on Oct 3.

"Cute. Cute Jon," Obama said, smiling.