Obama approaches the topic of health care with a light touch.

"Now, I've heard rumors that a few of you have some concerns about the new health care law," he quips.

Later, he makes a joke about the structure of the federal government:

"We live and do business in the information age, but the last major reorganization of the government happened in the age of black and white TV. There are twelve different agencies that deal with exports. There are at least five different entities that deal with housing policy. Then there's my favorite example: the Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they're in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them in when they're in saltwater. And I hear it gets even more complicated once they're smoked."

The chamber laughs and the applause, for a change, sounds genuine.