Obama and Romney swap jokes at Al Smith dinner

US President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney have made a series of lighthearted jabs at themselves and each other at a charity fundraiser in New York.

At a benefit organised by the Catholic Archdiocese of New York Mr Obama mocked his first debate performance while Mr Romney poked fun at his own wealth.

The Alfred F Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner - a traditional fixture on the presidential campaign calendar - was Mr Romney's only public event on Thursday after several campaign stops in Virginia the day before.

On stage, Mr Romney gently mocked his own Mormon faith, saying he had prepared for the presidential debates by "not drinking alcohol for 65 years".

Resplendent in formal white tie, Mr Romney - known for his business fortune - said that after a long campaign it was "nice finally to relax and wear what Ann and I wear around the house".

And in a reference to the need to raise a laugh from among the attendees, he reminded the audience of the vice-president's mirth-filled approach to his debate with Paul Ryan a week ago: "I was hoping the president would bring Joe Biden along because he'll laugh at anything."

Mr Obama used the occasion to reference the first debate between the two men, an encounter he was widely judged to have lost.

"I had more energy in second debate," the president said. "I was well-rested after the nice long nap I had in first debate."

Mr Obama also noted he had been criticised for being too popular abroad at the beginning of his term. "I'm impressed with how well Governor Romney has avoided that problem," he said, in a nod to a summer overseas trip that drew criticism.

-  BBC.co.uk


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