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Celebrities, journalists join for night of comedy

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Speech at the Correspondents' Dinner
  • Celebrities from journalism, politics and showbiz gather at annual dinner
  • Obama kids Jay Leno about their shared problem -- sinking ratings
  • Both gets in digs at new Arizona immigration law

Washington (CNN) -- President Obama's punch lines targeted a diverse group Saturday -- from teen sensations the Jonas Brothers to comedian Jay Leno, whom he described as the only person with worse ratings than his.

"Jonas Brothers are here tonight," the president said at the annual White House Correspondents' dinner. Daughters "Sasha and Malia are huge fans. But boys, don't get any ideas. Two words: predator drones."

Obama said he was happy to address the crowd before Leno, who headlined the annual event.

"Glad to see the only person whose ratings fell more than mine last year. ... I'm also glad that I'm speaking first," he said.

"We've seen what happens when someone takes the time slot after Leno," the president added, referring to comedian Conan O'Brien leaving NBC after an unsuccessful stint hosting "The Tonight Show."

Video: Jay Leno at Correspondents' Dinner
Video: Stars on hand for Washington dinner

Members of the Obama administration, including Vice President Joe Biden and chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, were not safe from the zingers either.

Former rivals and volatile current issues were also part of the stand-up.

The president noted that Arizona Sen. John McCain did not identify himself as a maverick this year -- a title he frequently touted when he was running for presidency against Obama.

"And we all know what happens in Arizona when you don't have an ID. ... Adios amigos," Obama said.

The president's quip referred to a new immigration law requiring officers in the state to question people about their immigration status if they think they're in the country illegally. Arizona is McCain's home state.

Leno also took a dig at the Arizona law.

"I got stuck behind the Arizona congressional delegation -- luckily all their papers were in order so I didn't have any trouble getting in," the comedian said while describing the event's tight security.

On the president, Leno said he's not as antisocial as some critics accuse him of being.

"He loves to socialize ... health care, car companies, things of that nature," Leno said.

The first White House Correspondents' Association dinner was held in 1920 to boost communication between the press and the president, according to the association's website.

It was open only to men until 1962, when President John F. Kennedy said he would not attend unless women were invited.

Saturday's glitzy event featured various big names, including lawmakers, celebrities and journalists.