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That time Obama roasted Donald Trump (and other WHCD zingers)

President Obama and Donald Trump Reuters / Getty

At the White House Correspondents Dinner this Saturday, It's a fair bet the comedy routines from President Obama and comedian Larry Wilmore, this year's host, will take more than a few shots at the 2016 presidential candidates.

With a field like this, how could they resist?

President Obama may poke fun gently at the Democrats, but he's likely to reserve his more cutting jabs for Republicans, if his past routines are any indication. Here's a look at some of the president's best jokes about 2016 candidates from previous White House Correspondents Dinners.

For the highlights from this year's dinner, along with the latest news and analysis on the 2016 election, tune into "Face the Nation" this Sunday. Check your local listings for airtimes.

Obama on Donald Trump

President Obama had some words about Presiden... 01:04

In his 2011 routine, Mr. Obama noted that he'd recently directed the state of Hawaii to release his long-form birth certificate to quell doubts about whether he was really born in America - doubts that had been stoked by Donald Trump, who was then flirting with a 2012 presidential bid.

"No one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than the Donald," President Obama declared. "And that's because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter -- like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac? "

It seemed a relatively harmless jab at Trump's dabbling in conspiracy theories, but then Mr. Obama twisted the knife, skewering Trump as a lightweight with a background in reality television.

"All kidding aside, obviously, we all know about your credentials and breadth of experience," the president told Trump as the audience laughed. "For example -- no, seriously, just recently, in an episode of Celebrity the steakhouse, the men's cooking team cooking did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks. And there was a lot of blame to go around. But you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. And so ultimately, you didn't blame Lil' Jon or Meatloaf. You fired Gary Busey."

"These are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night," the president concluded. "Well handled, sir. Well handled."

The audience roared as Trump sat, stone-faced, enduring the president's mockery. But you have to wonder whether the political insiders and journalists slapping their knees at Trump's expense could have ever predicted the billionaire would now be the clear frontrunner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Who's laughing now?

"That evening of public abasement, rather than sending Mr. Trump away, accelerated his ferocious efforts to gain stature within the political world. And it captured the degree to which Mr. Trump's campaign is driven by a deep yearning sometimes obscured by his bluster and bragging: a desire to be taken seriously," the New York Times reported last month. "That desire has played out over the last several years within a Republican Party that placated and indulged him, and accepted his money and support, seemingly not grasping how fervently determined he was to become a major force in American politics."

Obama on Ted Cruz

The president commented on the 2016 president... 21:25

In his short time on Capitol Hill, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz hasn't exactly endeared himself to his colleagues. Lawmakers, even some fellow Republicans, described him as abrasive, arrogant, and self-serving.

In his routine at last year's WHCD, Mr. Obama took aim at Cruz's denial of the science behind climate change - and his poor reputation in Congress.

"Ted Cruz said that denying the existence of climate change made him like Galileo," the president said. "Now that's not really an apt comparison. Galileo believed the Earth revolves around the sun. Ted Cruz believes the Earth revolves around Ted Cruz."

The president, who has himself been accused of egotism by political opponents, followed up with a self-deprecating joke: "Just as an aside, I want to point out, when a guy who has his face on a Hope poster calls you self-centered, you know you've got a problem. The narcissism index is creeping up a little too high."

Obama on Chris Christie

US President Barack Obama speaks at the annual White House Correspondent's Association Gala at the Washington Hilton hotel May 3, 2014 in Washington, D.C. Pool, Getty Images

When the WHCD arrived in April 2014, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was suffering through the "Bridgegate" scandal, in which of his aides and appointees conspired to create a traffic jam on the highly-trafficked George Washington Bridge to punish a New Jersey mayor who declined to endorse Christie's reelection bid.

"Look, I know, Washington seems more dysfunctional than ever," the president joked in his routine. "Gridlock has gotten so bad in this town you have to wonder: What did we do to piss off Chris Christie so bad?"

Obama on the GOP's 2016 also-rans

The president took aim at a few contenders fo... 08:50

The president's 2015 routine also took shots at several Republicans who would go on to run unsuccessfully in 2016.

"Mike Huckabee recently said people shouldn't join our military until a true conservative is elected president. Think about that. It was so outrageous 47 Ayatollahs wrote us a letter trying to explain to Huckabee how our system works," the president said, jabbing both Huckabee and the 47 GOP senators who sent a letter to Iran's leaders to dissuade them from signing a nuclear agreement.

The president tweaked Jeb Bush for mistakenly identifying himself as Hispanic on a voter registration form in 2009. "Look, I understand. It's an innocent mistake. It reminds me of when I identified myself as American back in 1961," Mr. Obama joked in another reference to the "birther" movement.

Mr. Obama also cracked a joke about former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum's staunch social conservatism: "Rick Santorum announced that he would not attend the same-sex wedding of a friend or loved one, to which gays and lesbians across the country responded, that's not going to be a problem. Don't sweat that one."

Obama on his fellow Democrats

Democratic presidential candidates (L-R): former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders Getty Images, Reuters

The president didn't just target Republicans, though: In his 2015 routine, he also took aim at the Democrats who were then eyeing a run for president.

"As we all know Hillary's private e-mails got her in trouble," Mr. Obama said, referring to Clinton's controversial decision to use a private email server during her time as secretary of state. "Frankly, I thought it was going to be her private Instagram account that was going to cause her bigger problems," he followed up, as a slideshow of doctored images showed Clinton doing a keg stand and drawing on a sleeping friend's face.

"The trail hasn't been easy for my fellow Democrats either...Hillary kicked things off by going completely unrecognized at a Chipotle. Not to be outdone, Martin O'Malley went completely unrecognized as a Martin O'Malley campaign event," the president said of the former Maryland governor, who would go on to run a lifeless bid for the Democratic nomination in 2016.

"Bernie Sanders might run," the president added of the Vermont senator, a stalwart liberal and self-described Democratic socialist. "I like Bernie. Bernie's an interesting guy. Apparently, some folks want to see a pot-smoking socialist in the White House. We could get a third Obama term after all. It could happen."

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