Washington: US President Barack Obama has poked fun on himself about his young "Muslim Socialist" background and even copied his popular wife Michelle's new hairstyle to boost his image in his second innings at the White House.
     
Obama stepped to the podium at the 2013 White House Correspondents' Dinner as DJ Khaled's "All I Do Is Win" played as an introduction and told the audience, "Rush Limbaugh warned you about this -- second term, baby."
     
Obama said his advisers were "a little worried about the new rap entrance music," and suggested that he kick off his speech with jokes at his own expense to "take himself down a peg." But, the president responded, "after 4½ years, how many pegs are there left?"
     
"These days I look in the mirror and have to admit, I'm not the strapping young Muslim Socialist that I used to be," Obama, 51, who attended the gala for the fifth time yesterday, said in one of his self-deprecating jokes, mocking that belief among a radical conservative fringe of Americans.
    
And after referring to first lady Michelle's enduring popularity, he said his own team had advised an image change and presented a montage of shots featuring him with a fringe similar to his 49-year-old wife wore on inauguration day on January 20.
    
There were shrieks of laughter from the star-studded audience - who included actors Kevin Spacey, Julia Louis- Dreyfus and Claire Danes and South Korean singer Psy as he delivered his punchlines.
    
The Beltway gala, also known as the "nerd prom," sees Washington's newsmakers stroll a red carpet that's also filled with press and stars from across entertainment.
    
While he was airing out his frustrations, Obama acknowledged the political bickering in Congress.
    
"It's simple: we need to make progress on some important issues," he said. "Take the sequester: Republicans fell in love with this thing. And now they can't stop talking about how much they hate it -- it's like we're trapped in a Taylor Swift album."
     
Obama also offered some advice to Republicans focusing on outreach to minority voters following their defeat last year in the race for the White House.

(Agencies)

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