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White House Correspondents' Dinner pokes fun at presidential race

Hollywood stars, politicians and Carrie Fisher's dog mingled at this year's White House Correspondents' dinner, hosted by Larry Wilmore of "The Nightly Show."

The nearly 3,000 guests at the Washington Hilton ballroom included celebrities ranging from Aretha Franklin to Kendall Jenner to Fisher, who brought her French bulldog, Gary. Absent was Donald Trump, who has been a regular at the event, though his sons and their wives were seen on the red carpet.

Prominent politicians at the event included Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Guests cheered on Jason Rezaian, the Tehran correspondent for The Washington Post who was imprisoned for 18 months in Iran before he was released in January.

The journalist announced the evening's major awards, which went to "CBS This Morning's" Norah O'Donnell of CBS News, winner of the Merriman Smith Award for broadcast journalism, Carol Lee of the Wall Street Journal, Matt Viser of the Boston Globe, Terrence McCoy of The Washington Post and Neela Banerjee, John Cushman Jr., David Hasemyer and Lisa Song of InsideClimate.

A blooper reel of President Barack Obama's snafus showed him calling Matt Lauer "Tim," Kanye West a "jackass" on a hot mic and poked fun at his habit of saying, "Let me be clear."

Obama reveals his "retirement plans"

Obama then took the stage to give his final White House Correspondents' Dinner opening remarks, during which he made a "Game of Thrones" reference. He compared the dinner to the show's infamous Red Wedding after joking that he should lock in the Republicans at the dinner and hold Merrick Garland's confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court.

He also talked about the rise in his rising poll numbers, as photos of Ted Cruz and Donald Trump looking quizzical appeared behind him. "The last time I was this high, I was trying to decide on my major," said the president.

Obama also took on the presidential race and commented on Bernie Sanders' "Feel the Bern" slogan.

"Hillary's slogan has not had the same effect," he said as an illustration of the Clinton logo pushing a giant rock uphill appeared on screen, which said, "Trudge up the Hill." He teased Clinton and said her attempt to connect with young voters made her like an old aunt who joins Facebook.

He also wondered aloud why Trump was a no-show this year, and said that the Republican frontrunner does indeed have foreign policy experience: "He has spent years meeting with leaders from around the world: Miss Sweden, Miss Argentina, Miss Azerbaijan."

The president played a video that showed his future in Washington, after he leaves the Oval Office. The clip imagined Obama as he navigated the DMV, where a woman tells him he must present a birth certificate, and showed the president helping Biden pick sunglasses and watching "Toy Story" with John Boehner.

The night took an edgier turn when Wilmore approached the lectern. He started his speech with a jab at Fox News: "Welcome to Negro Night," he said. "Or as Fox News will report... 'Two thugs disrupt elegant dinner in DC.'"

The punches kept coming. Wilmore, who used to be "Senior Black Correspondent" on "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart, talked about his job hosting "The Nightly Show."

Watch: Obama's last WH Correspondents' Dinner Speech Pt. 2

"I am a black man, who replaced a white man, who pretended to be a TV newscaster," he said. He took a big dig at Brian Williams and said, "Lester Holt and I have a lot in common."

He roasted the president, as well, making fun of Obama's aging in particular.

Watch: Obama's last WH Correspondents' Dinner Speech Pt. 3

"President Obama's hair is so white it's started saying 'All Lives Matter,'" he cracked. "He's breaking stereotypes. Black does crack."

Race was a recurring theme in Wilmore's speech. He said, "Black Lives Matter are here tonight. It's just a joke, white people. Relax."

Wilmore took aim at broadcast networks and publications, and talked about Fox News' preoccupation with Beyonce: "They just renamed 'The Kelly File' 'Becky with the good hair,'" he said, referring to the singer's new album, "Lemonade."

But the host skewered CNN and MSNBC as well, saying about the former, "The finest black journalists are here tonight... and Don Lemon." Lemon grinned and flipped his middle finger at Wilmore. Wilmore targeted MSNBC even more harshly, saying the letters stood for "Missing a Significant Number of Black Correspondents" as the news channel has recently canceled Joy Reid's show and parted ways with Melissa Harris-Perry.

Larry Wilmore performs at WH Correspondents' Dinner Pt. 1

Wilmore made fun of Sanders' age and Clinton's relationship with the black community, but of course, he couldn't close his speech without taking some heavy hits on Trump and Cruz. He talked about the conspiracy theory that Cruz is the Zodiac Killer.

"That's absurd," he said. "Some people actually liked the Zodiac Killer."

Larry Wilmore performs at WH Correspondents' Dinner Pt. 2

He rehashed the national discussion on Trump's hands and said, "I can't understand why everyone treats Donald Trump with kid gloves, and then I realize they're the only gloves that'll fit his stupid little baby hands."

But there was one person Wilmore would not disparage: the First Lady.

"When it's all said and done, after eight years in the White House, we are really going to miss Michelle," he said as he finished his speech.