By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON — The annual gathering not far from the White House brings together journalists, government officials, politicians and media personalities for what's usually an evening of light-hearted banter and celebrity gawking.

Presidents are made fun of and they poke at themselves, too.

But President Barack Obama's scheduled appearance Saturday night at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner was coming at a somber time, nearly two weeks after the deadly Boston Marathon bombing and 10 days after a devastating fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas.

In 1995, in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing, President Bill Clinton dispensed with the traditional presidential humor to remember victims and praise journalists for their coverage of the explosion.

Coincidentally, this year's dinner entertainer, comedian and late-night TV talk-show host Conan O'Brien, also headlined that 1995 gala.

Obama spent the afternoon on the golf course at Andrews Air Force Base with former U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and two White House aides.

Six journalists, including Associated Press White House Correspondent Julie Pace, were to be awarded prizes for their coverage of the presidency and national issues.

The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza won the Aldo Beckman Award, which recognizes excellence in the coverage of the presidency.

Pace won the Merriman Smith Award for a print journalist for coverage on deadline.

ABC's Terry Moran was the winner of the broadcast Merriman Smith Award for deadline reporting.

Reporters Jim Morris, Chris Hamby and Ronnie Greene of the Center for Public Integrity won the Edgar A. Poe Award for coverage of issues of national significance.

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  • Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, from left, Michael Scherer, White House correspondent for TIME, late-night television host Conan O'Brien and first lady Michelle Obama attend the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton Hotel, Saturday, April 27, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

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    Comedian Conan O'Brien (L) smiles as US President Barack Obama (C) and US first lady Michelle Obama arrive for the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. Obama attended the yearly dinner which is attended by journalists, celebrities and politicians. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama looks to the podium during the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton Hotel, Saturday, April 27, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

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    Comedian Conan O'Brien (L) and US first lady Michelle Obama joke during the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. Obama attended the yearly dinner which is attended by journalists, celebrities and politicians. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Barack Obama, Conan O'Brien, Michelle Obama, Michael Clemente

    Late-night television host Conan O'Brien, from left, first lady Michelle Obama, Michael Clemente, Executive Vice President of Fox News, and President Barack Obama attend the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton Hotel, Saturday, April 27, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

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    Comedian Conan O'Brien listens during the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. Obama attended the yearly dinner which is attended by journalists, celebrities and politicians. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 2013 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Alicia Quarles attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Actress Megan Hilt attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Actress Morena Baccarin attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Musician John Legend attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Model Chrissy Teigen attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

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    Entertainer John Legend arrives at the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington DC, April 27, 2013. AFP Photo/ Chris KLEPONIS (Photo credit should read CHRIS KLEPONIS/AFP/Getty Images)

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Musician Psy attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

  • Steven Spielberg

    Director Steven Spielberg uses his smart phone during the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton Hotel, Saturday, April 27, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Amy Poehler attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Actress Claire Danes attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Julia Louis-Dreyfus attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Actress Kerry Washington attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

  • 2013 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Actress Morena Baccarin attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

  • 2013 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Actress Rebel Wilson and Olympic Gymnist Gabby Douglas attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

  • 2013 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Actress Kate Mara attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

  • 2013 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Actress Kate Mara attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

  • 2013 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Aasif Mandvi and Ty Burrel attend the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

  • 2013 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Al Sharpton and Chris Matthews attend the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Actress Emily Mortimer attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Actress Connie Britton attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Patricia Arquette attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: John Oliver and Kate Oliver attend the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Actor Ryan Kwanten attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Actress Jessica Pare attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Actor Justin Bartha attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Actress Julie Bowen attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: NFL player Victor Cruz (L) and Elaina Watley attend the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

  • 2013 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Ty Burrell attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Actress Olivia Munn attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

  • 2013 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Actress Olivia Munn attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

  • TIME/CNN/PEOPLE/FORTUNE Pre-Dinner Cocktail Reception

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Jeffrey Katzenberg, Time Magazine Managing Editor Rick Stengel and Steven Spielberg attend the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Time, Inc)

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Actress Elizabeth Banks attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

  • 2013 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Actress Elizabeth Banks attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

  • 2013 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Actress Jessica Pare attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

  • 2013 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Aasif Mandvi attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

  • 2013 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Sofia Vergara attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

  • 2013 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Actress Michelle Dockery attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

  • 2013 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Actress Constance Zimmer attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

  • 2013 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Actor Tony Goldwyn attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

  • 2013 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Thomas Roberts attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

  • 2013 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Actor Ed Helms attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

  • 2013 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Korie Robertson and Willie Robertson attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

  • TIME/CNN/PEOPLE/FORTUNE Pre-Dinner Cocktail Reception

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Gerard Butler and Piers Morgan attend the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Time, Inc)

  • 2013 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Matthew Perry attends the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

  • 2013 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Piers Morgan and Gerard Butler attend the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)