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Gridiron Club Jokes: Congressional Edition

This dinosaur, seen wandering the Capitol in a 2007, is not the one from the Gridiron Dinner, where no photos are allowed. But you get the idea. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)
This dinosaur, seen wandering the Capitol in a 2007, is not the one from the Gridiron Dinner, where no photos are allowed. But you get the idea. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ted Cruz apparently doesn’t have a problem with being openly mocked. Even when he’s being called a “Flintstone Cowboy” by reporters dressed up like the cartoon characters — with a full-sized pink Dino the Dinosaur — presenting the Texas Republican as straight out of the Stone Age.  

Cruz, the Republican keynote speaker for the exclusive, white-tie Gridiron Dinner on March 8, laughed heartily from the head table as the grizzled journalists danced around on stage to an original tune parodying the Glen Campbell ballad “Rhinestone Cowboy.”  

Among the lyrics in the chorus, courtesy of Todd Gillman of the Dallas Morning News :  

I never lost one vote despisin’
Weasel words like “compromisin’”
Cuz nobody’s gonna get to the right of me.
… And with a load of backward thinkin’
A grand old party buys extinction’
While the name of Cruz goes down in pre-history And that was just the beginning.  

Secretary of State John Kerry greeted Cruz, who had noted earlier in the evening that he was one of just three “no” votes against Kerry’s nomination, saying: “Ted, it’s got to be a great feeling to be in a room full of people who are laughing with you.”  

Kerry noted at the outset that the Gridiron’s unofficial tradition for remarks is: “Singe, don’t burn.” Incidentally, that’s the name of Speaker John A. Boehner’s tanning salon, Kerry quipped to roaring laughter.  

The former Massachusetts senator must be keeping up with the Roll Call app while doing all that traveling. He promised he’d keep his speech brief, because, “You never know when Darrell Issa is going to turn off the mics .”  

Cruz had little trouble making fun of himself, quipping about his talkathon last fall and making light of the fact he’s not GOP leadership’s favorite person these days, or any days. “I’m here officially representing Mitch McConnell,” Cruz deadpanned. “He asked me himself and when Leader McConnell asks for something how can I say no?”  

Mike Allen has more from the speeches here .  

In the can’t-make-it-up category, this HOH guest — scoring a dinner ticket thanks to CQ Roll Call’s two Gridiron members — attempted to chat with former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who ran for president in 2012. I approached the governor, whom I have met and interviewed several times over the years, about my recent appearance on his radio show. As I began to say, “Enjoyed the other morning on XM with you,” Huntsman interrupted to say, “That’s very kind of you. I just can’t see a pathway.” I was confused until I overheard him say the exact same thing to someone who urged him to mount another White House bid. Talk about being on autopilot!  

Several members of Congress attended, including Reps. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., Sander M. Levin, D-Mich., Dan Kildee, D-Mich., John D. Dingell, D-Mich., Donna Edwards, D-Md., John Delaney, D-Md., Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, and Sens. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind. (Former lawmakers were there, too: ex-Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb. and ex-Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich.)

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