In 1960, Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy, candidates for the U.S. presidency, spoke at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner. The foundation — named for the four-term Governor of New York and candidate for the presidency in 1928, an Irish kid from the Lower East Side — hosts the white-tie dinner as a fundraiser for Catholic Charities. In election years since 1960, candidates have often, but not always, been invited to speak.

This year, McCain went first. He set the bar high — in a meta way, even — but I think he was bested by The One. See what you think:

As a bonus: McCain finally makes it to Letterman’s show. Verdict: More cranky than funny, certainly not as good as his performance at the dinner.