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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 March 2007, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK
Bush serves up the jokes at meal
Nancy Pelosi and George W Bush
President Bush compared Nancy Pelosi to his mother

US President George W Bush joked about sliding ratings and his post-White House plans as he lampooned himself at an annual press dinner on Wednesday.

"A year ago my approval rating was in the 30s, my nominee for the Supreme Court had just withdrawn, and my vice-president had shot someone.

"Ah, those were the good ol' days," he said, to applause from the audience.

Journalists were also treated to a Karl Rove rap at the meal where presidential self-deprecation is the tradition.

'Hurt' Cheney

Mr Bush began his speech at the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington by thanking the association for providing the food and "Senator Webb for providing security".

A senior aide working for Jim Webb - a Democratic senator from Virginia - was arrested this week as he was caught carrying a loaded handgun into the Capitol building.

I have to admit we really blew the way we let those attorneys go. You know you've botched it when people sympathise with lawyers
President George W Bush
Mr Bush noted that his vice-president, Dick Cheney, was not present at the gala event.

"He's had a rough few weeks. To be honest, his feelings were kind of hurt. He said he was going on vacation to Afghanistan, where people like him," he said, alluding to a recent visit to Afghanistan by Mr Cheney in which he was targeted by a suicide bomber.

Using a deadpan delivery style to good effect, Mr Bush spoke of the controversy surrounding the firing of eight federal prosecutors working at the Department of Justice.

"I have to admit we really blew the way we let those attorneys go," he said. "You know you've botched it when people sympathise with lawyers."

Pop-up book plan

One of the biggest laughs came when the president spoke of plans for his post-White House memoir - he said that former President Bill Clinton had written a 10,000 page-long tome.

"I'm thinking of something really fun and creative for mine," he said. "You know, maybe a pop-up book."

He asked the audience which title they liked best - "How Dubbya Got His Groove Back", "Who Moved My Presidency?" or "Tuesday with Cheney".

Karl Rove dancing
MC Karl Rove shows his moves
Needless to say high profile members of rival political party the Democrats came in for some mockery.

Nodding to Nancy Pelosi, sitting at the head of the top table, Mr Bush said he had wondered how he would get along with the Democratic House Speaker when she took over as the first woman to run the House of Representatives:

"Some say she's bossy, she's opinionated, she's not to be crossed," the president said. "But hey, I get along with my mother."

Looking out across the room packed with journalists and their guests, Mr Bush pointed out that presidential hopeful Barack Obama had chosen not to attend. "Not enough press," the president joked.

Mr Bush's appearance at the black-tie dinner, which is attended by media personalities, celebrities and politicians, continues a tradition begun by President Calvin Coolidge in 1924.

As part of the evening's entertainment, comedians Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood from the US TV show Whose Line is it Anyway got White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove to join in a rap song poking fun at Mr Rove's hobbies: stamp collecting and quail hunting.

Shouting out "I'm MC Rove", Mr Rove danced about the stage and postured like a rap star, much to the delight of the watching press.

Karl Rove doing it rap style

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