the dinner was founded in 1913 by a group of southerners to honor the birthday of general robert e. lee. during his speech, obama joked that if lee were in at the dinner, he'd be "202 years old, and terribly confused."
much was made of the fact that alaska governor sarah palin would be in attendance, and according to chicago tribune columnist clarence page, obama didn't let that opportunity slip:
"Good to see Gov. Palin here. I never expected to see you pallin' around in this crowd. Congratulations on your Golden Globe for '30 Rock'."