updated 4/1/2007 3:12:56 AM ET 2007-04-01T07:12:56

Vice President Dick Cheney poked fun at his boss’ relationship with the press corps as he spoke to a gathering of Washington journalists Saturday night.

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“The president is really sorry he couldn’t be here tonight, but he had another obligation,” Cheney said. “His book club is meeting.”

President Bush traditionally attends the annual Gridiron Club dinner but was conferring with Brazil’s president at Camp David on Saturday. Instead, Cheney was the night’s final speaker.

He took a few lighthearted jabs at his predecessor, noting that former Vice President Al Gore’s house uses an above-average amount of energy. “Many argue that global warming is manmade,” Cheney said, “and it looks like they found the man.”

GOP White House hopeful Mitt Romney joked about his rivals as well as his own Mormon faith. Noting Rudy Giuliani’s statement that, if elected, he might let his wife attend Cabinet meetings, Romney said, “If I adopt the same policy we’re going to need a heck of a lot more chairs in the Cabinet room.”

Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., the architect of the Democrats’ election victory in the House in November, spoke for the Democrats. He described Romney as a pro-choice governor from Massachusetts who was now running as a pro-life candidate from Michigan.

“Mitt, you’re a little bit confused about this Mormon thing,” Emanuel said. “It’s multiple wives, not multiple lives.”

Founded in 1885, the invitation-only Gridiron Club is the oldest organization for Washington journalists.

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