Spirit of St. Louis – Pick Your Charity, Pick Your Car

While candidates’ jokes bombed, Cardinal Dolan drew positive response

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There’s high praise for native St. Louisan Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan, who’s getting credit for keeping the peace between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at a Catholic charity dinner in Manhattan on Thursday night.

The two presidential candidates told jokes about each other at the Alfred Smith Dinner that often drew more groans than laughs. Dolan sat right between them during the dinner and seemed to smooth the repeated awkward moments.

Having the candidates attend the event to lampooning themselves and each other is a longstanding tradition. Both Trump and Clinton seemed to go too far, this time.

The man St. Louis remembers as a priest and auxiliary bishop got the warmest ovation of the night. For the most part, he kept Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump smiling, even when no one else seemed to be: when the candidates—and their jokes—were bombing.

“People look at the Statue of Liberty and they see a proud symbol of our history as a nation of immigrants, a beacon of hope around the world,” Clinton said. “Donald looks at the Statue of Liberty and sees a 4; maybe a 5 if she loses the torch and tablet and changes her hair.”

The crowned groaned.

“Hillary believes it’s vital to deceive the people by having one public policy and totally different privacy in private,” Trump quipped. “For example here she is tonight in public, pretending not to hate Catholics.”

That one brought groans, even boos.

“If Donald does win, it will be awkward at the annual President’s Day photo when all the former presidents gather at the White House and not just with Bill (Clinton),” Clinton said. “How is Barack (President Obama) going to get past the Muslim ban?”

That joke bombed, too; as did this one from Trump:

“Everyone knows Hillary’s belief that it takes a village, which only makes sense after all in places like Haiti, where she’s taken a number of them,” Trump said. He was one of the few people in attendance who even smiled at the joke.

Behind the scenes, the candidates showed a kindness to each other rarely seen in public, even praying together, Dolan said.

The archbishop couldn’t pass up a barb of his own, however.

“Pardon my congestion and cough,” said Dolan. “I’m afraid I’m coming down with a cold, which is completely understandable given the fact that for the last two hours I’ve had a seat between our two candidates in what’s probably the iciest place on the planet. Where is global warming when you need it?!”

That brought big laughs from the crowd, as well as Trump and Clinton.

The candidates did get some laughs from the crowd and even laughed at the other's less offensive jokes but people will remember the lines that really bombed. They may also remember the guy from St. Louis who shrugged off those awkward moments, led the candidates in prayer, and even had them shake hands in the end.