*Who knew John McCain and Barack Obama had jokes? The night after going at each other in the last debate of the torrid presidential campaign, the two men swapped self-deprecating jokes instead of campaign jabs Thursday night at the 63rd annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner.
McCain cracked that he had replaced his team of senior advisers with "Joe the Plumber" while the Obama slyly claimed his own "greatest strength would be my humility."
The Arizona senator also poked fun at his reference to Obama as "that one" in an earlier debate.
"He doesn't mind at all. In fact he even has a pet name for me: George Bush," McCain said.
McCain saluted Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, Obama's bitter rival in the Democratic primary whose level of enthusiasm for Obama's campaign for the November 4 election has been a subject of great media fascination.
"I can't shake the feeling that some people here are pulling for me," McCain said. "I'm delighted to see you here tonight Hillary."
When Obama took the microphone, he said he needed to correct some misconceptions since McCain had been asking "Who is Barack Obama?"
"I was not born in a manger," he said, adding the name Barack, given by his Kenyan father, was Swahili for "that one." He also had an explanation for his middle name, Hussein.
"I got my middle name from somebody who didn't think I would ever run for president," he said.
Obama listed his greatest strength as humility and his greatest weakness: "I'm a little too awesome."
Without naming her, he also made reference to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain's running mate. She has been touted by Republicans for her foreign policy expertise because of Alaska's proximity to Russia.
Obama noted the dinner was held at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel.
"I'm told from the doorstep you can see all the way to The Russian Tea Room," he said.
The 63rd annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, a charity event organized by the Catholic Archdiocese of New York for the benefit of needy children, raised an estimated $4 million.
The event often draws politicians as speakers and, by long tradition, presidential candidates appear as headliners every four years. In this case, the evening of humor came one night after an intense final debate of the presidential campaign.