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WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama poked fun at himself, Bob Woodward and Washington reporters at a dinner that brought together the country’s press and political elites.
Attending the Gridiron Club dinner, Obama made light of a recent back and forth between his administration and Woodward, the veteran Washington Post journalist whose reporting on the Watergate scandal helped bring down Richard Nixon’s presidency. “Can anybody tell me when an administration has ever regretted picking a fight with Bob Woodward?” Obama joked. “What’s the worst that could happen?”
Woodward and White House economic adviser Gene Sperling had a public tussle that played itself out in a leaked email, in which Sperling told the veteran journalist he would regret taking a position on one of Obama’s policies. Woodward suggested the move was an example of White House intimidation. “Who knew Gene could be so intimidating,” Obama joked about Sperling. “Or let me phrase it differently: who knew anybody named Gene could be so intimidating?”
The Gridiron Club and Foundation, founded in 1885, is the oldest and one of the most elite organisations of journalists in Washington.