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Washington » Typically straight-laced Sen. Orrin Hatch had the powerhouses of journalism and politics nearly rolling on the floor Saturday night as he spoke at the Gridiron Club dinner, cracking wise at himself, his party and Democrats with sometimes-racy jokes.
"At last year's Gridiron, the Republican speaker was Arnold Schwarzenegger. I'm surprised you'd invite two sex symbols in a row," Hatch quipped during the annual dinner for the exclusive club that featured the Utah Republican, as well as former President Bill Clinton and Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.
"Actually, when you invited me you knew you weren't getting one of Washington's swingers," Hatch said. "My idea of life in the fast lane is using the express checkout to buy my fiber supplements."
Hatch was making his second appearance at the 125-year-old Gridiron Club, which includes 65 of the capital city's top journalists who perform musical skits razzing on politicians and political scandals.
The club welcomed Hatch to the event with a song parody of "The Cover of Rolling Stone" that called him a "Mormon heartthrob."
"He'd love to win a Grammy, show up wearin' jimmies, he's a rebel don't cha know?" the group sang. "Yet the Orrin you would see, ain't the Orrin who would be, on the cover of the Rolling Stone."
Keying on the Gridiron's mantra of "singe but don't burn," Hatch turned to mostly self-deprecating jokes that brought howls of laughter.
"When I went through security [to get to the dinner], I was asked if I had a bomb in my underwear. Modesty, of course kept me from answering truthfully," Hatch said.
"I'm actually at the age where, if a woman tells me I'm hot, it just means my Ben-Gay is working."
But Hatch noted that while everyone sees him as a senator, his wife, Elaine, "knows me as the original stimulus package."
Hatch noted that inviting him, a nondrinking Mormon, to the dinner was probably a smart idea.
"Finances are tight all over, and the Gridiron Club is operating on a reduced budget," Hatch said. "Just think of all the money they're saving on booze by inviting me."
But the senator also took aim at his own party and President Barack Obama, with Hatch noting he thought Obama made an arrogant remark at a recent health care summit when he told Sen. John McCain, R, Ariz., the election was over.
"But I want to come to the president's defense," Hatch said. "I give him a world of credit for not saying that to John in February of 2008."