President Barack Obama poked fun at Mitt Romney, the Republican Party but above all himself in his annual satirical speech to the Washington press corps on Saturday night.
Mocking his "hot mic" gaffe that saw private remarks to President Dmitry Medvedev shared with the world, Mr Obama's address to the White House Correspondents' Dinner began as he prepared offstage.
After insulting several high-profile members of the audience, he joked about his much-mocked dependence on a Teleprompter and pondered if he could get away with dying his rapidly-greying hair.
The President then riffed on a subject that has become unexpectedly prominent in his election battle with Mr Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee: their past treatment of dogs.
"I know everybody is predicting a nasty election, and thankfully, we've all agreed that families are off limits," he told a 2,700-strong crowd. "Dogs, however, are apparently fair game".
While Mr Romney has come under fire for strapping his family's Irish Setter Seamus to the roof of their car for a 12-hour trip to Canada, Mr Obama has been ridiculed for eating dog as a child in Indonesia.
In a fake television attack advertisement shown by the president, Mr Romney was trailed as the long-awaited "candidate with the courage to fight for a dog's freedom to feel the wind in his fur".
Under Mr Obama's "European-style dog socialism", meanwhile, "man's best friend has been forced into government-controlled automobiles".
Mr Obama then played with the notorious remark by Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican Vice-Presidential nominee, that the only thing separating a "hockey mom" such as her and a pit bull was "lipstick".
"What's the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull?" Mr Obama asked. "A pit bull is delicious." He added to much laughter that it was best served with "a little soy sauce."
Thanking the evening's high-profile guests – who ranged from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to celebrity Kim Kardashian – Mr Obama paid special tribute to his Republican foes in Congress for taking "a break from their exhausting schedule of not passing any laws to be here".
But as their newly anointed figurehead it was Mr Romney who bore the brunt of much of the teasing. The setting of a vast hotel ballroom was what the multimillionaire former private equity boss might call "a little fixer-upper", the president said.
However "he and I actually have a lot in common," Mr Obama reflected. "We both think of our wives as our better halves, and polls show, to a alarmingly insulting extent, the American people agree".
Mr Obama was just as harsh on himself, joking that if he won a second term he would need to pass his overhaul of the health care system – which is expected to be scrapped by the Supreme Court – again.
He also referenced recent political headaches such as the Secret Service prostitution scandal and a government spending watchdog spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a junket to Las Vegas.
The president's speech was followed by a routine by the comedian Jimmy Kimmel, who ridiculed his shortcomings.
"Remember when the country rallied around you in hopes of a better tomorrow?" asked Kimmel. "That was hilarious".