Got to relish the sidesplitting spectacle of millions of Democrats wiping their collective brows after watching the second presidential debate through splayed fingers covering their eyes. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews was so euphorically relieved he nearly broke down and cried. Although, truth be told, he probably cries during Coke commercials. Especially the cute ones with the polar bears.
It became immediately apparent, this time around, President Obama spent the time at debate camp doing more than practicing lanyard weaving. Aides report he devoted three days to prepare for the Hofstra University showdown, as opposed to the couple hours he took off last time. Of course that doesn’t include the 90 minutes of the first debate.
Nobody cares how he did it; the main thing is; Obama got his mojo back. He remojoed. The Major Mojo Mofo no longer runs in Slo-Mo. He was focused, energized and seemed determined to not let the challenger go all Joe Frasier on his butt again.
GOP candidate Mitt Romney stuck to the game plan that worked so well in the Denver debate. Float like a butterfly, sting like a jelly fish. A style he surely perfected storming the sidewalks of Paris’ 16th Arrondissement during his missionary days. Shoot first, evade questions later. Although, in retrospect he just may have drunk too deeply from Joe Biden’s bottomless flask of Red Bull.
He blustered and filibustered and at times seemed almost flustered. Demonstrating the same respect a busy boss might show in the presence of underlings, cautioning the president to “Hold on, I’m talking.” And pushing Jim Lehrer around is one thing, but bullying Candy Crowley, quite another. Mind the gender gap.
Perhaps Romney’s people forgot to update his operating system because America’s prospective CEO also committed some unforced errors. First the binder blunder, where he awkwardly dodged a question about equal pay for women to segue into a story about “binders full of women.” Pretty sure we can trust Bill Clinton to get to the bottom of this. Then again, maybe it’s some sort of super-secret magic Mormon thing.
The biggest snare was the Benghazi tiger trap, where Romney accused the president of not calling the death of our Libyan ambassador a terrorist attack. He should have sensed something was up when the president sweetly encouraged him to “Please proceed, Governor,” but nonetheless walked right onto the straw covering the staked hole.
Candy Crowley, who was in the Rose Garden for the very press conference in question, confirmed Obama’s words. “No, no, he said it.” Romney got so upset, the Secret Service might be wise to move to Defcon 4 for the final mano-a-mano at Lynn University in Boca Raton, which could escalate from more mere malarkey to full body contact.
The Right became positively unglued, calling Ms. Crowley a communist, a terrorist and an assassin. Suffice it to say that if Romney wins, she will be encouraged to accompany Big Bird job hunting. The rich and the righteous are never happy when the “help” talks out of turn.
The irony is, Romney’s self-inflicted wound stemmed from a flagrant violation of the debate rules agreed to by both candidates not to ask each other direct questions. But that’s something we’ve seen time and time again from the 1%. The rules don’t apply to them. The only rule they adhere to is the Golden Rule: he who has the gold makes the rules. Buy this.
Get five-time Emmy nominee Will Durst’s new e-book on the 2012 campaign: “Elect to Laugh!” published by Hyperink. Available at Redroom.com or Amazon. Also his hit one-man show “Elect to Laugh!” every Tuesday at the Marsh. San Francisco. 8 p.m. Only 3, Three, 3 shows left. themarsh.org.