John McCain and Barack Obama swapped self-deprecating jokes instead of campaign jabs Thursday night, the Republican saying he had replaced his team of senior advisers with "Joe the Plumber" while the Democrat claimed his own "greatest strength would be my humility."
Said Obama: "Contrary to the rumors you have heard, I was not born in a manger. I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father, Jor-el, to save the planet Earth," a reference to Superman.
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McCain joked that Democrats had already begun attacking Joe the Plumber, the Ohio man whom he referred to in Wednesday night's debate, and claimed "that this honest, hardworking small businessman could not possibly have enough income to face a tax increase under the Obama plan."
"What they don't know is that Joe the Plumber recently signed a very lucrative contract with a wealthy couple to handle all the work on all seven of their houses," McCain said, drawing laughter with the reference to his property holdings.
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The two men spoke at the 63rd annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, a charity event organized by the Catholic Archdiocese of New York for the benefit of needy children. An estimated $4 million was raised.
The event often draws politicians as speakers and, by long tradition, presidential candidates appear as headliners every four years. In this case, the evening of humor came one night after an intense final debate of the presidential campaign.
McCain lampooned Obama's primary opponent, Hillary Rodham Clinton, as well as himself.
Read more about Obama at Al Smith Dinner.
Read more about the Alfred E. Smith dinner.