President Joe Biden spoke for roughly 22 minutes on Saturday at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, alternating back and forth between serious points and comedic relief. The annual dinner is intended to be a celebration of the first amendment and the freedom of the American press.

After mentioning his recently announced reelection campaign about nine minutes into his speech, Biden attempted to quell concerns over his old age by cracking a series of jokes aimed at the press.

“I get that age is a completely reasonable issue, it’s in everybody’s mind… By everyone I mean the New York Times,” the president joked, followed by laughter.


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“You might think I don’t like Rupert Murdoch, that’s simply not true. How could I dislike a guy who makes me look like Harry Styles?”

Laughter continued.

“You call me old, I call it being seasoned. You say I’m ancient, I say I’m wise. You say I’m over the hill, Don Lemon would say that’s a man in his prime.”

The crowd then roared with laughter, accompanied by some light groaning.

Lemon was fired as a CNN host last week following accusations of sexism on and off the air. Earlier this year, Lemon received widespread backlash for claiming on air that Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, aged 51, was “past her prime.. When a woman is considered to be in her prime – in her 20s, 30s and maybe her 40s,” he said.

Biden also took time in his speech to make a more serious statement about the importance of freedom of speech and a free press by discussing Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter in Russia who was recently detained and charged with espionage in the country. 

“We’re working everyday to secure his release, looking at tools and opportunities to bring him home,” Biden said.

Applause filled the room.

He ended his speech with a lighthearted reference to the “Dark Brandon” meme, putting on aviator shades while he called up comedian Roy Wood Jr., the dinner’s host, onto the stage.

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