NEW YORK CITY — Two days after a heated showdown at their second debate, President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney are headed back to the Big Apple Thursday night — but this time they'll be looking to get the last laugh.
The candidates are set to return to New York to attend the annual Al Smith Dinner, where candidates typically try to show off their skills as stand-up comedians, poking fun at each other and themselves in a makeshift roast.
The president will also be stopping by "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" for an interview set to air later Thursday night.
As usual, the president's visit is expected to cause traffic chaos as his motorcade zigzags through Manhattan at the height of rush hour.
The president is set to arrive at 2 p.m., according to traffic guru Sam "Gridlock" Schwartz, who warned drivers via Twitter to avoid the FDR as the president heads north to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on Park Ave. and East 50th Street, likely freezing traffic in the neighborhood.
At around 5:30 p.m., the president is expected to travel to the west side for the taping of "The Daily Show" using either 50th or 42nd streets, he said, freezing traffic in Midtown during the peak rush hour.
After the taping, the president is expected to return to the Waldorf, freezing traffic north and south of his route along either 42nd or 50th streets, he said.
Both Obama and Romney are scheduled to speak at the 67th Annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial
Foundation dinner about 9 p.m., after which the president is expected to head back Downtown, likely freezing traffic along the FDR as he makes his way to the Wall Street heliport and then over to JFK Airport.
In addition to road closures, NY Waterways warned East River and Hudson ferry riders to expect possible delays and closures at the Wall Street pier from 2:10-3:10 p.m. and 9:30-10:30 p.m., as the president makes his way in and out of Manhattan.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan has been criticized for inviting Obama to the Catholic Al Smith dinner, named in honor of the first Catholic presidential candidate.