Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has agreed to be the Republican speaker at the annual Gridiron Dinner next year and will have the chance to get even with President Barack Obama, who poked fun at him at the event this year, The Dallas Morning News reports.
The venerable Gridiron Club, founded in 1885, is a prestigious journalistic organization in D.C. that is comprised of various newspaper and TV news broadcast bureau chiefs. Every year the club throws a white-tie and tails dinner consisting of musical skits spoofing politicians, plus comedic and self-deprecating speeches by the president and representatives from each political party.
Last year Obama made quips at Cruz's expense, saying, "With all these new faces, it’s hard to keep track of who is in, who is out. And I know it’s difficult for you guys as reporters. But I can offer you an easy way of remembering the new team. If Ted Cruz calls somebody a communist, then you know they’re in my cabinet."
Cruz, a member of the Republicans' tea party movement, is well--known for his deft touch as an orator. In his college days, he was a national champion debater at Princeton and showed his comedic skills on a circuit where a speaker's wit is often more important than the content of the speech.
He's also won praise for his Supreme Court arguments, and there's no forgetting that he gave a torturous 21-hour filibuster speech in the Senate, resulting in a 16-day government shutdown in his attempt to prevent the launch of Obama's Affordable Care Act.
The Morning News pointed out that the dinner provides Cruz the "opportunity to soften his edges." But it warned, "Self-promoters bomb at these sorts of events. Self-deprecators find their reputations enhanced."
Cruz, who is a possible presidential candidate in 2016, is the second Texan in two years to serve as a guest speaker. Texas Gov. Rick Perry salvaged his reputation in Washington following his short-lived presidential bid in 2012 by making fun of himself in a hilarious Gridiron speech.
He called it “the three most exhilarating hours of my life,” and pointed out
that even with "the weakest Republican field in history... they kicked my butt."
He added, "But look, I like Mitt Romney as much as one really good-looking man can like another really good-looking man under Texas law."
The Gridiron Dinner, which will be attended by hundreds of political and media luminaries, will be held in Washington on March 15.
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