WASHINGTON – Standing before a roomful of Hollywood celebrities, journalists and politicians, “Saturday Night Live” comedian Seth Meyers quipped that Osama bin Laden was hiding in plain sight by hosting an obscure C-SPAN show that no one ever watched.

One person at the White House correspondents’ dinner who clearly enjoyed the joke was President Obama.

Obama, dressed in a tuxedo, smiled broadly Saturday night, in possession of a closely guarded secret. He knew precisely where bin Laden was living and he had already signed his death warrant, ordering a risky raid that would kill the world’s most wanted terrorist the following day.

All presidents keep secrets, but over a 72-hour span leading to bin Laden’s death, Obama’s capacity to keep a poker face was tested as never before.

He gave a commencement speech in Miami and golfed with aides in Maryland. He comforted victims of deadly storms in Alabama and delivered comedic zingers at the White House correspondents’ dinner in Washington.

Through it all, he got a steady series of private briefings on the military mission. Nothing leaked. Obama announced the successful outcome of the raid with a dramatic flourish late Sunday night, in a nationally televised East Room address that even some veteran White House aides were unaware was coming.

Bin Laden’s killing stands as Obama’s biggest triumph as commander-in-chief, a role he has struggled with. The war in Afghanistan is deeply unpopular,<h3>See more photographs, videos and related <a href=”http://www.pressherald.com/special/binladen”>Osama bin  Laden coverage</a></h3>  while the one in Libya is stalemated. Whatever else happens, though, history will show Obama was the president who felled bin Laden.