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Kerry Subs for Obama at Gridiron Dinner: 'If You Like Your Rented Tuxedo, You Can Keep It'

By Barbara Boland | March 10, 2014 | 1:05pm EDT

On Saturday night, Secretary of State John Kerry cracked jokes at the 129th Gridiron Dinner, held at the Renaissance Washington Hotel. Kerry was joined by Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist (D-Fla.)

The dinner, hosted by the oldest journalistic organization in Washington, D.C., is a roast-y fete, where politicians and journalists put on little comedic sketches.

President Obama turned down this opportunity to make fun of himself (although he has attended twice before,) so Kerry appeared in his stead.

Kerry greeted the assembled journalists by telling them "it was so nice to put faces to the metadata."

He also joked that "President Obama asked me to tell you: If you like your rented tuxedo, you can keep it."

"The simple truth is that for a very brief time my family lived on the plains of Calgary. That does not make me a Canadian. Although Elizabeth Warren says that it does make me an Algonquin Indian," Cruz quipped.

Cruz also poked fun at himself, "Canadians are so polite, mild-mannered, modest, unassuming, open-minded. Thank God my family fled that oppressive influence before it could change me."

"I've been thrown out of our Senate lunches, so it's really nice to be invited to dinner," Cruz said.

Crist, originally the Republican governor of Florida, now running as a Democrat, made fun of himself saying, "The Gridiron always pokes fun at candidates from both parties. You could have saved time and just invited me."

Kerry jumped on that bandwagon as well: "Is Charlie Crist still here? I had to check - he's always so quick to leave a party."

House of Cards fans will like this quip from Cruz: "I've been watching the second season of 'House of Cards.' It's very realistic, very lifelike. But I was a little worried when I got a late-night call from Mitch McConnell. He said, 'Uh, Ted, why don't you meet me at the Metro station?'" (This references a scene from the popular Netflix series, where Frank meets a character at the metro station - and then pushes her in front of an oncoming train.)

"Ted and Charlie are tough acts to follow. But no one was harder to follow than Hillary Clinton," Kerry said. "Not since J. Edgar Hoover has a presidential appointee left such high heels to fill."

Every president since Grover Cleveland has spoken at the dinner, which was first held in 1885. This year's dinner had more than 640 guests, according to the Washington Post.

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