The 63rd annual Alfred E. Smith dinner was an historic opportunity for both presidential candidates to relax, have fun, and poke fun of themselves, each other, and to a large degree, Bill Clinton. It was likely the the last time the candidates will publicly meet before the election, and I was honored to be chosen as the official photographer. The event raised more than $4 million for Catholic charities. I got more photos of Obama for the simple reason that he arrived earlier, but everyone seemed in surprisingly good spirits after a long, exhausting campaign. Here is just a small sample of the evening’s events:
Among the luminaries was former Secretary of State Henry Kissenger
Senator Barack Obama meets New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. “How’s your dad?” He asked.
Obama shakes hands with a supporter, wearing the bracelet that was a major subject of the first presidential debate.
Obama speaks with Senator Charles Schumer.
Obama and McCain speak to the Rev. Cardinal Egan. At left are Cindy McCain and Geraldine Ferraro.
Soprano Renee Fleming sings Ave Maria
John McCain had perhaps the funniest moment of the night at the end of his speech, where he set up unrealistically high expectations for Obama. “It will be the funniest 15 minutes of your life … if not, it will bring shame on this event and its hosts.”
McCain’s campaign photographer takes a cell phone shot as he speaks.
Senator Hillary Clinton greets supporters.
Mayor Mike Bloomberg sports a flag pin and a NYC pin.
Comedian Mo Rocca and broadcast journalist Katie Couric smile after the event. Rocca joked that he is making this his Christmas card.