They were the jokes heard around the world.

And before meeting privately Sunday with his American counterpart, Russian President Vladimir Putin (search) got off some lines of his own about U.S. first lady Laura Bush's (search) recent standup comedy routine at a high-profile Washington dinner.

At the annual White House Correspondents' Association event late last month, Mrs. Bush described her husband as "Mr. Excitement," who is fast asleep at 9 o'clock. The situation, she said, had turned her into a "desperate housewife," just like the characters on the hit ABC television drama.

Mrs. Bush also made fun of her husband's pronunciation of "nuclear" and rattled off jokes about his ranching skills and her mother-in-law.

"Recently, I took a look at the coverage of your meeting with the press corps," Putin said before the meeting, as he sat alongside President Bush in front of an ornate fireplace. "Well, I could see how Laura attacked you sometimes, so at today's dinner we will have a chance to protect you."

To which Bush replied, "She was quite the comedian."