Sen. Amy Klobuchar addressed the quirkiest story to emerge about her since she announced her presidential candidacy right out of the gate.
“How did everyone like the salad?” the Minnesota Democrat asked the audience, kicking off her remarks Saturday night at the historic annual Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, DC. “I thought it was OK, but it needed just a bit of scalp oil and a pinch of dandruff, would be a little better.”
In a recent New York Times article, Klobuchar was described as once eating a salad with a comb after being stuck on a plane without a fork.
“I have an interesting base strategy,” she said. “George Will wrote a nice column, and the Wall Street Journal, and Politico actually did a big story with Republicans saying nice things about me. (Sens.) Roy Blunt, Pat Roberts, and John Cornyn say I’m reasonable, likable, and nice. And then the New York Times gave the rebuttal.”
She went after another elephant in the room by addressing media reports claiming she often berated her staff.
“So when Jerry called me about tonight, he asked, ‘Do you need a microphone or do you just prefer to yell at everyone?’” she said.
“I said microphone,” Klobuchar deadpanned.
Klobuchar was invited to address the annual white-tie, invitation-only affair hosted by Washington’s journalism establishment, along with her Republican colleague, Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana. A relative newcomer to the Congress, Kennedy’s folksy, quick-witted sound bites have garnered attention.
In a town known for its backbiting politics rather than its humor, Washington provides only a few occasions for politicians to roast their colleagues and themselves. Klobuchar, like many before her, used the unique platform to poke fun at herself and take on her critics.
Traditionally, the President of the United States addresses the group. Last year, President Donald Trump delivered punchlines for nearly 30 minutes by going after his own administration, family members, Democrats and the media. It was Trump’s only appearance in three Gridiron dinners since he became President.
In his place, Trump sent his daughter and White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump. She openly pondered how her father, fresh off a more than two-hour long speech at CPAC earlier in the day, could pass up an opportunity to make fun of journalists.
“When my father asked me just this afternoon to represent him tonight – no, this isn’t a joke – to represent him tonight, I didn’t have time to write any jokes,” she said. “I feared that the funniest thing I could do was read you excerpts from the Green New Deal.”
During the dinner, Klobuchar told jokes about the start of her campaign, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, with whom she had a contentious back-and-forth during his confirmation hearing, and her rivals on both sides of the aisle. Here are some of her other jokes:
On Republicans being cozy with Russia: “There is a big battle over where the Democratic convention will be held,” she started, “It’s between Houston, Miami and Milwaukee. The GOP also has a dilemma — they’re trying to decide between Moscow and Minsk.”
On Kavanaugh: “All I know is, if the election ends up before the Supreme Court. I’m gonna count Brett Kavanaugh as a no.”
On her campaign announcement during a snowstorm: “As you all know, I am now officially running for President of the United States. You probably saw my announcement in my permanent snow globe. And yes, I’m the first candidate whose motorcade was led by a Zamboni.
On her campaign tactics: “In the end, how can I lose? My campaign will combine the short, peppy speeches of Joe Biden, the common touch of Mike Bloomberg, the collegiality of Ted Cruz, and the chipper, upbeat personality of Bernie Sanders.”
CNN’s Paul LeBlanc contributed to this report.