Every year the Catholics host the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, a black tie affair where they dine and roast each other.
Although both his state and his country generously honored Alfred E. Smith after his death in 1944, the most unusual and notable memorial to him has been an ongoing series of black-tie dinners. Sponsored by the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation, these annual fêtes were initiated by then-Archbishop (later Cardinal) Francis J. Spellman of the Archdiocese of New York in 1945. Since that time the Foundation has raised millions of dollars for healthcare causes.
Cardinal Spellman, capitalizing on the fact that Governor Smith died in the month of October (the peak of election season), used the dinner to remind later generations of Smith’s extraordinary public career and unique role in political history by securing the participation of the leading political figures of those later generations. Over the years, the dinner has attracted the cream of modern American politics: the list of speakers and attendees reads like a who’s who of the political landscape.
In the early years of the dinner’s existence, this event might have been the only time some of these candidates would share a dais during the entire campaign. By 1960 the Al Smith dinner had truly reached its zenith as “a ritual of American politics,” in the words of Theodore H. White.Many of past dinners have generated front-page news items as a result of the program, i.e. joint appearances of opposing presidential nominees.
This is a glimpse into what the totally buttoned up Mitt Romney is like, relaxed and at ease. He’s pretty humble to make fun of himself and poke Obama in such a good humored manner. I really laughed out loud at this. Enjoy.
Obama enjoyed a few zingers too, keeping with his tradition of having more time allotted to him during the debates by speaking longer than Romney in his address at the dinner as well.
- White tie and jokes: Top ten Obama, Romney zingers from Al Smith dinner (VIDEO) (timesunion.com)
- Best Mitt speech ever (atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com)
- Obama, Romney playfully roast each other at Alfred E. Smith Dinner (washingtonpost.com)
- After a few laughs, Romney, Obama back to the fray (cnsnews.com)
- Video: Romney roasts Obama at the Al Smith Dinner (hotair.com)