New York:  Two nights after they clashed at a fierce presidential debate, US President Barack Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney shared the stage again at a high- profile charity dinner here, this time trading light-hearted jabs, poking fun at each other and at the bitter election campaign.

Taking a breather from the grueling and high-stakes presidential campaign, the two men delivered self-deprecating and comic speeches at the Alfred Smith Dinner, which is a charity benefit organised by the Catholic Archdiocese of New York in midtown Manhattan.

The annual event hosts the presidential candidates every four years offering them a lighthearted break just weeks before the bitter race to the White House ends. It is held in the memory of Al Smith, the former Democratic governor of New York and one-time Democratic nominee for President.

Dressed formally in white tie and tuxedos, Obama and Romney poked fun at themselves, at their rivals and joked about their running mates.

"This is the third time that Governor Romney and I have met recently," Obama said, speaking after Romney.

"Some of you may have noticed, I had a lot more energy in our second debate. I felt really well rested after the nice long nap I had in the first debate," he said taking a dig at his lacklustre performance in the first presidential debate in Denver.

Obama again poked fun at his performance in the first debate, which fell on the day of his wedding anniversary.

"There are worse things that can happen to you on your anniversary than forgetting to buy a gift," Obama quipped.

The two presidential candidates will again meet on October 22 for the third and final debate.
"Monday's debate is a little bit different because the topic is foreign policy," Obama said.

"Spoiler alert: We got Bin Laden."

Obama, who got a standing ovation as he appeared on stage, began his speech by asking everyone to "please take their seats. Otherwise Clint Eastwood will yell at them."

He quipped both he and Romney has unusual names. Romney, whose full name is Willard Mitt Romney, goes by his middle name. "I wish I could use my middle name," Obama, whose middle name is Hussein, joked.

The President also poked fun at Romney's overseas trip this summer in which the Republican drew criticism from the British people for questioning London’s preparedness to host the Olympics.

(Agencies)

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