(Washington) France is in flames against retirement at 64 but Joe Biden, 80, “begs us” to stay four more years: the American president took and replied to humorous spades about his age at dinner on Saturday White House Correspondents’ Gala.

This annual evening, which brings together all of Washington politicians and the media, celebrates in theory the first amendment to the American Constitution defending the freedom of the press. But in practice, we mostly remember the jokes.

Daily Show comedian Roy Wood Jr highlighted the age of Mr. Biden who, a candidate for re-election, could stay in office until he is 86 if he wins. By mentioning the demonstrations in France against the pension reform.

“They rioted because they didn’t want to work until they were 64. Meanwhile, in the United States, we have an 80-year-old man who begs us to work four more years,” he quipped, provoking a broad smile from the head of state, seated a few meters away.

“‘Let me finish the job’ is not a campaign slogan, it’s a plea,” continued the comedian. “Say what you want about our president but when he wakes up from [his] nap, the job is done. »

“Call me old – I call that seasoned,” the president replied. “They say I’m an elder – I say I’m wise. They say I’m not young anymore – Don Lemon would say I’m a man of early youth.”

Don Lemon, a star CNN anchor, was recently fired by the network after he sparked controversy when he said Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, 51, was “no longer young.”

Mr. Biden also reserved a spade for Rupert Murdoch, the 92-year-old media mogul and owner of the conservative Fox News channel.

“You might think I don’t like Rupert Murdoch. It is not true. How could I dislike a man who impersonates me as Harry Styles? joked the American president, referring to the 29-year-old British star.

The appeal of the Correspondents’ Dinner, held in the vast hall of the Washington Hilton, had waned somewhat in recent years, between Donald Trump’s boycott and the pandemic.

But this year the event was sold out, with 2,600 guests, including Mr. Biden and his Vice President Kamala Harris. The presence of the two heads of the executive revives a tradition lost since the presidency of Donald Trump.

Before dinner, Mr. Biden had met the family of American journalist Evan Gershkovich, imprisoned in Russia. “We are working every day to secure his release,” he said.

Among the guests was basketball player Brittney Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and figure in the American LGBT community. Released at the end of 2022 after ten months of detention in Russia, she has sworn to fight for other people wrongfully detained around the world.