FNC’s Roger Ailes sits behind Pres. Obama, Gov. Romney and Cardinal Dolan at annual Al Smith dinner.

Pres. Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney set aside their political differences for a few minutes to poke fun at themselves, at each other, and at the media, at the annual Al Smith dinner last night in New York City. But the politicians weren’t the only ones to break bread with their rivals at the event, which this TVNewser attended: media executives and personalities from competing networks mingled over dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria.

The candidates, who sat on either side of Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the New York Catholic Archdiocese, were flanked on the dais by some of the television industry’s most famous faces. Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes sat among two people who have him to thank for their start in TV: on his left, Maria Bartiromo, who Ailes hired at CNBC in 1993, and on his right, one seat away, Chris Matthews, who Ailes hired in 1994 at the network that would become MSNBC. Katie Couric and Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson, Jr. were also seated on the dais.

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews chats with Roger Ailes.

Both candidates took aim at the media in their lighthearted speeches, which all three of the general cable networks broadcast live.

“I particularly want to apologize to Chris Matthews,” Pres. Obama said of his performance in the first Presidential debate. “Four years ago, I gave him a thrill up his leg. This time around, I gave him a stroke.”

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