October 16, 2008

Obama and McCain at the Al Smith Dinner tonight.

Compare and contrast. (Funny to see them in white tie.)

(Part 2.)

(Part 2.)


Outis said...

It would be more appropriate if they were at the Alfred E. Neuman Dinner.

EDH said...

Funny that you mention the white ties. I noticed that too.

The last time I saw one of those was on Ted Danson, who at the time was also wearing...well, you know.

White Tie, Bad Idea

WestVirginiaRebel said...

If McCain wanted a moment to go out with dignity, humor, and class, this was his moment. What he said about Keith Olbermann is what so many have been thinking, LOL!

blake said...

Is it bad that I'm sick of both of 'em already? I don't know if I can take four years of either.

Rose said...

McCain was both effective AND hilarious - Barack fell a bit flat, I would say. This was his Katie Couric moment.

Joan said...

Barack faltered badly in the middle there, riffing on the economic crisis! What was he thinking? It was totally tasteless to make jokes about people losing their life savings when, you know, people have lost their life savings and are now facing uncertain retirements. Sometimes Obama is just tone deaf. He recovered a bit toward the end of the clip, but he clearly was not in his element.

McCain, on the other hand, was eating it up. He looked like he was having a great time poking fun at himself, Obama, the Clintons, Chris Mathews, Keith Olbermann... all safe targets that no one worried about laughing at.

Titusbackintownok? said...

I watched it multiple times.

They were both in their element.

Mccain was awesome. You could tell he was a home. I loved him all over again tonight and so did most of NYC-I know horrible commies, but he was great.

They love NYC society and I love them for living it.

Titusbackintownok? said...

We all have to admit sucking up to the NYC intelligencia is very important...and for that I am glad and proud to be a New Yorker.

You wont catch that type of humor in Greensboro-they won't get it.

EDH said...

Anyone else notice the level of applause when McCain alluded to his support, "even in this room" -- even before he delivered his "good to see ya" Hillary punch line?

EDH said...

I say that because I think, behind his smile, Obama noticed.

Rose said...

I noticed!

Kansas City said...

I thought they both were good. McCain was better and I was surprised that he could be so funny in setting telling jokes. I thought Obama was real good on the joke about McCain telling him about spending time with Al Smith who has been dead for about 70 years, and also the Shulmer and Yankee Stadium/Columns jokes. But for once, McCain seemed at ease and Obama ill at ease. I don't think humor is Obama's deal and it was tone deaf for him to joke about the stock market.

T said...

That is just McCain being McCain. I've watched him for a long time, and this is just him. It's why I like him very much. I wish he had just done his whole campaign as himself and fired his "handlers" long ago.

I think the country would benefit from having a leader with a wicked sense of humor and great delivery over the next few years.

But, we'll probably get Obama instead.

cokaygne said...

It was fascinating. McCain clearly "won this debate." Based on their joke-telling alone, you'd worry about Obama because he seems humorless. Lucky for him there were reaction shots during McCain's delivery and Obama was shown genuinely laughing at himself.

I've long planned to vote for Obama but would not cry if McCain won - unless he could not complete his presidency, in which case we'd all be in trouble. It was great to see this revelation that Obama does not take seriously all this adulation by the media.

Pogo said...

I can't watch anymore of this stuff, so tell me, did Obama mock the plumber (again), or just people that lost their life savings?

LarsPorsena said...

In show business terms McCain 'killed'. He was laugh-out-load funny.

"Anyone else notice the level of applause when McCain alluded to his support, "even in this room" ..

Yes, it was stunning and obviously stunned BO and for that matter, me too.

Expat(ish) said...

When he did that line about meeting Bill Clinton I thought he was going somewhere very very different with it.

Is this the British heritage part of our political system? I like it.


ElcubanitoKC said...

Obama (PBUH) was not as funny, I'm sorry. You can tell the difference in the laughs.

What does cause Obama (PBUH) to scratch his nose every time he talks about Hillary??

And he thinks he's Superman? Right. He fell flat. The only truly funny line was the Swahili for "that one"

The Drill SGT said...

Pogo said...
I can't watch anymore of this stuff, so tell me, did Obama mock the plumber (again), or just people that lost their life savings?

He didn't diss the plumber, but he hit the economy over and over.

The Drill SGT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Drill SGT said...

So Titus, in Trooper York's absence, would you interpret the honesty of the crowd for us?

Was the crowd reaction to McCain a reflection of their honest admiration for the man, or

at least his hummor, or

was it pity, that he's going down to defeat?

They did seem to laugh more at his jokes than "That One's"

MadisonMan said...

I think Barack was pretty funny until he joked about McCain's 8 houses. ('tho saying Barack is swahili for 'that one' -- that was good).

Did McCain talk first? I couldn't quite tell.

I noticed that McCain's jokes had longer set-ups, whereas Obama's were more one-linerish.

hdhouse said...

Hey, they were both good. It was nice to see and even better to hear civility and not taking themselves so seriously. I dislike McCain intensely but found him funny and masterful and applauded him for his delivery. Obama was very good as well and will learn this art form over time.

Both get two thumbs up and it was refreshing.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

I really hope we see more of this John McCain in the next two weeks; this McCain seems more human and approachable- some of the most liked traits of Palin.

McCain's lines were delivered with a Groucho Marx precision and timing. Who wrote this for him? Very well crafted and delivered.

Obama may have had some good lines, but his delivery was off. The 'Superman' bit didn't roll well off his tongue; maybe because he believes it an couldn't quite bring himself to depreciate his existence as the Superman?

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

Well hd, are you saying Obama is a little inexperienced and needs more time to be ready to delivered a few words as a public speaker?

How does that stack up with his experience to lead?

ElcubanitoKC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ElcubanitoKC said...

MadisonMan, you must have a more finely tuned sense of humor than most people who have watched the video and those present at the dinner. Congrats.

goesh said...

-much needed relief, both did well

MadisonMan said...

you must have a more finely tuned sense of humor

I have no idea what you are talking about.

Pogo said...

Your "longer set-ups" vs "one-linerish", I think was the reference.

The Drill SGT said...


McCain spoke first.

1. In Obama's speech, 1 min into it, he remarks that Biden couldn't be there or has McCain likes to refer to him, Joe the Senator.

a reference to the McCain speech "Jo the 6 term senator

2. the McCain speech has a section where McCain sets high expectations for the humor that Obama will follow with.

ElcubanitoKC said...

MadisonMan said...
you must have a more finely tuned sense of humor

I have no idea what you are talking about.

7:41 AM


MadisonMan said...
I think Barack was pretty funny until he joked about McCain's 8 houses. ('tho saying Barack is swahili for 'that one' -- that was good).

7:27 AM

MadisonMan said...

Elcubanitokc, pay special attention to the words I think in that sentence.

Contrary to what I tell my kids, my thoughts are not (a) the law or (2) always correct.

mariner said...


"I think Barack was pretty funny until he joked about McCain's 8 houses."

I thought even McCain knew he only has seven houses.

ElcubanitoKC said...

Good one, MM!

ssssde4 said...

Kudos to both. Not a fan of Senator Obama, but was refreshing to see him laughing at himself. Maybe the Kos kids will take note?

And, vintage-authentic McCain -- I'm guessing that's the back of the bus, Straight-Talk-Express McCain most reporter fell in love with before, um, falling out of love.

Original George said...

The ability to tell a joke--and tell it well--is a great indicator of personality and confidence, especially if you can make fun of yourself.

Here's an NPR piece on Presidents and just that...their ability to poke fun at themselves.

Lincoln is said to have been the best joke teller...

"Lincoln told of the preacher that said, during his sermon, that although the Lord was the only perfect man, the Bible never mentioned a perfect woman. A woman in the rear of the congregation called out "I know a perfect woman, and I’ve heard of her every day for the last six years." "Who was she?" asked the surprised minister. "My husband’s first wife," came the reply."

(He also tells a gross joke about an exploding dog that must reflect the mayhem of those times.)

Bunch of George Washington jokes, some bawdy, at the end of this page.

MadisonMan said...

Drill, thanks -- I figured JSM spoke before BHO 'cause of how the clips are placed, but I wasn't sure. I really liked McCain's zinger at his supporter Hillary! -- but I thought the stuff about Bill went on too long, but maybe NYCers like that since they live there, sort of, now.

I often wonder at opponents at these type of events: are they genuinely enjoying themselves? Analyzing the opponent to try to learn something? Filing away slights for later? Both seemed to appreciate some of the lines -- I liked the You can see the Russian Tea Room from here line, and the line about Chuck Schumer's loved ones (So true!) -- whereas others caused more of the grimacey smiles.

But pity his eminence sitting between the two of them. And what was that old guy behind Barack as he was speaking putting in his mouth @ 4:05? It looked like a kazoo? A chocolate bar?

Should I be suspicious that both Fox clips are structured so that McCain is shown in both at the start? :)

mariner said...

I thought McCain was hilarious, and Obama was very funny. They both managed to laugh at themselves while skewering each other.

Obama: "I see that [Senator Schumer] has brought some of his loved ones -- those would be the ones with the cameras and the notebooks in the back of the room."

Trevor Jackson said...

Both were really funny. Nice to see that they both can laugh at themselves. Still feels weird, the night after a debate.

Did you know one of the two men used a teleprompter? I'll let you guess which one.

Rich B said...

McCain puts McCain's Brain to shame.

Rich B said...

As far as Obama, he had his moments (i.e., Russian Tea Room joke, John McCain having a good time with Alfred Smith before prohibition) but I am reminded of this quote from Samuel Johnson - "Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all."

SteveR said...

Both were good, McCain was very good. Clearly both are decent men and probably would be great to sit down to dinner with. The process of becoming president does little to edify any human being.

rhhardin said...

I would like to go through and see if either of them rose to Bush's level of insight in 2000, but the jokes are too tedious to bear.

Update: according to the huffpo, McCain used Bush's line. ``I can't wish him success, but I do wish him well.''

So McCain can spot class.

I still don't have the patience to listen through the jokes.

Rich B said...

I thought the line about "Where's Bill? Can't he take a night off from his relentless quest to make the man who defeated his wife president" was just about the best of the night. I thought Hillary was going to piss in her pantsuit.

But then the best humor has a core of truth.

Trooper York said...

I have actually attended this dinner in prior years. It is literally full of fat cats. Old line and old school Catholics with a lot of dough who are contributing to Catholic Charities. Or people who are sucking up to them for jobs and favors. Not working people you would see at the Knights of Columbus dinner. So it is basicly as Republican a crowd as you can get in New York City.

Christy said...

Obama's reaction to the support for McCain in that room full of Elites makes me think he truly believes that only red-necked racists support McCain. Reality is going to hit him hard.

Trooper York said...

It was just a bunch of old white people clinging to their religion. Not Obama's audience at all.

ron st.amant said...

Both speeches were good. Obama added a serious coda which when I watched last night seemed out of place, but watching it again I think it hit the right note given the audience and the idea behind the charity.
McCain had great lines and fabulous timing- I loved his bit at the end about setting the high expectations for Obama.
Obama hit with his early stuff, but the economic stuff was flatter (I would have ditched the AIG stuff, it was too true to be funny).
I loved his line about Bloomberg's third term and Bill Clinton saying "You can do that?!?"
Nice to see them embracing each other and enjoying each other's company, it takes the edge off all the negativity, which is I think why the tradition is popular.

chickenlittle said...

Pogo wrote:

I can't watch anymore of this stuff, so tell me, did Obama mock the plumber (again), or just people that lost their life savings?

He did manage yet another dig at Palin.

Beldar said...

McCain's joke-writer was more original. Neither man did well without a teleprompter, but McCain's sense of comic timing is vastly better. Obama seemed to be reading his jokes for the first time, and often seemed to "get them" about a half-beat after the audience did, as evidenced by his frequent "Huhs!"

martinla said...

Before this election cycle began John McCain was the left's favorite Republican, not least because of his sense of humor. This is hilarious:

McCain sings Streisand

Trevor Jackson said...

"Neither man did well without a teleprompter"

McCain did have a prompter. The first time one's been used at the Smith dinner.

Howard said...

Both McCain and Obama were very funny at the dinner, although, I thought McCain's presentation was exceptional. So far, all the conclusions by all the pundits are
totally based upon POLLS. Not a single actual vote
has been cast yet. Obama supporters gush at how
well their man has done in the debates, which proves
once again that Obama is a good debater and a good
speaker. It doesn't say anything about his character,
judgement, or what kind of a leader he would be.
I still would rather trust a man who would not sell out
his fellow prisoners, even during 5 years of torture,
than to trust a man who betrayed a 20 year friendship,
for personal ambition. And ... regarding this election,
until people actually vote ... it ain't over till it's over!

Titusbackandforgetmypassword said...

Trooper is right. That event is typically a NYC republican crowd.

They sincerely like Mccain-I believe.

That was probably all the republicans in NYC in that room last night.

Titusbackandforgetmypassword said...

You can bet Peggy Noonan was there front and center.

Titusbackandforgetmypassword said...

I liked Obama's Alfred E Neuman comment about himself.

Rich B said...


I looked for the teleprompter that you claim McCain used and didn't see it. Either it was off to the left and right and McCain didn't use it much if after all or it didn't exist. McCain delivered his best lines looking straight ahead. You can't get that kind of timing from a teleprompter - ask Obama.

Trevor Jackson said...

Rich B, here's my source for the prompter story, fwiw.

"It's never been done before," said one source.

jdeeripper said...

McCain on Letterman

Rich B said...


Given that the Post is a reliable right wing paper how could I disagree? Nevertheless, I didn't see the teleprompter in evidence.

When I first came to NYC in the late 60's, the Post was the left wing paper and the News was the right wing paper. Now the bias has been reversed.

Trevor Jackson said...

LOL. Well, it is Page Six. That is, gossip. Who you gonna believe: your lying eyes or the gossip page?

Casey said...

MadisonMan said "Should I be suspicious that both Fox clips are structured so that McCain is shown in both at the start? :)"

Lordy, please tell me that's BIG ol' smiley there. Really. Because I watched both candidates in full, and it's obvious that McCain spoke first. He even introduced Barry. Quite humorously.

That said, I think they both did very well. Mac seemed a little smoother, but he's been at the game a little longer, and he's a self-admitted "smart-ass." Or a naval aviator, but I repeat myself. Heh. :)

No, really, I think Barry started out a little rougher, but I think that's because this is a kind of public speaking to which he is not accustomed. He blew the timing on a couple of good jokes, but like I just said... :)

I don't recall Mac's best stuff offhand, and am too lazy to check YouTube just now, but I do recall a couple of Barry's best lines. One was the crack about how John McCain told him about Al Smith; probably one of the best "old" jokes since Reagan said he wouldn't hold Mondale's "youth and inexperience" against him.

The next best bit was Barry's crack about never using lipstick on a pig, or a pit-bull. Good enough, he's building the tension; it's funny. Then he says he never put it on himself, and this out-of-left-field bit got everyone laughing. I think Barry stumbled a bit on the segue -maybe he really is a devout Christian, and it bothered him- to Giuliani, but his surprise that a "lipstick-wearing cross-dresser" had trouble winning the GOP nomination was excellent.

I really honestly think he ad-libbed the bit where he turned to McCain and said "that was a really tough primary for you, John!" I also think he cracked McCain up with that; watch Mac carefully right after that remark.

I liked both of them. Maybe we should stage all the debates white-tie; with good food, strong drink, and excellent company.

knowitall said...

Now that the joking is over, can we get back to exposing the liberal illuminati and their plans? This country can not allow the social extremist to take over.