This is an opportunity for the candidates to relax from the campaign grind - and show another side of themselves. Yet, despite not being a partisan or campaign event, what a candidate says or does at the dinner can have an impact on their campaign.
Here's Mitt Romney's remarks at the dinner...
And here are Barack Obama's remarks at the dinner...
For a non-partisan, non-campaign event, looking at these two videos and the presentations of the two candidates, tell volumes about the state of the race.
Mitt Romney, long derided by the President and his campaign, via $150 million plus in negative advertisements, as stiff, uncaring, and an elitist, offered an extremely funny bit that was self-depreciating, warm, and friendly - in a manner that I've not seen done by a politician since Ronald Reagan. His presentation and timing superbly supported the very funny material that he had - and it was interesting to watch both Katie Couric and Chris Matthews laugh even as they were trying to hard to not laugh.
Barack Obama's presentation, while having some good lines, seemed far more forced in its delivery. Looking at his body language, he also seemed more than a little peeved at Mitt Romney's humorous digs at his expense - as well as peeved that the room was not responding to his laugh lines with the same enthusiasm and enjoyment as they did to Mitt Romney's.
One candidate looked Presidential. One candidate looked relaxed. One candidate looked like they were winning, knew they were winning, and was confident that he could / would win. And one candidate won that room. That candidate was not Barack Obama.
On these pages I often deride MSNBC and its collection of rabid partisan schmucks who occupy much of the programming on that network. It rarely offers what could be called 'hard news' - focusing more on a 'Ministry of Truth' propaganda approach towards 'news'. One moron that I rarely pay any attention towards, simply because he is beyond moronic, is Laurence O'Donnell - their token representative from the rabidly partisan hard left Hollywood liberal collective.
The puerile O'Donnell, however, demonstrates his embracing of 'epic fail' in last night's program as he takes time during his program to challenge one of Mitt Romney's son's to a fist fight -
Really? This is your idea of a cogent and intelligent argument? Hmm, perhaps calling O'Donnell puerile is a little harsh. Does 'effin moron' fit better? Or how about blowhard bully?
I will not be surprised if one day I read in the paper or online how this twit got bitch slapped because his mouth and ego wrote a check that his body couldn't cash. Well, the hard left doesn't mind deficits - in this case a mental one.
One of the things that are making the MSNBC nimrods even more unhinged are the continuing signs of Obama's electoral collapse. Pollster Scott Rasmussen, looking at his data since Tuesday's 2nd Presidential debate, tells us that he is expecting a small Romney bump from the 2nd debate. Not only is Romney trending higher in the post-debate surveys, but Barack Obama's performance is being confirmed as not stopping Romney's momentum or getting the clear and decisive win that he desperately needed.
I've talked about the Romney surge now becoming a 'preference cascade' - where it is not only more sustainable than a 'bounce', but that it gains a momentum where it starts to build upon itself (not unlike what we saw in October 2008 as the Obama surge entered its own 'preference cascade') to the point that the losing candidate loses all ability to stop that tidal surge. This is beginning to appear as taking place now for Mitt Romney - that the race has passed the tipping point.
Mitt Romney is now polling at 50% in Virginia - which confirms the reports that the Obama campaign may be going to shift resources to other states - like the firewall states I mentioned yesterday. Even this might not be enough as RealClearPolitics is also showing, for the first time in the race, that Mitt Romney has a slim lead in today's electoral vote count.
As for the firewall state of Ohio - even this is starting to look tougher for Obama. In 2008, candidate Obama built a strong lead from the early vote - as voter enthusiasm worked in his favor. By party, the Democrats in Ohio voted early 20% more than Republicans - which built a lead that John McCain could not overcome on Election Day. Today, however, the story is far different. Early voting shows that Democrats only are 7% more of the early votes than Republicans - a major difference from 2008. On top of this is that in almost all of the very close polls that are being conducted in Ohio are showing independents favoring Mitt Romney over Obama by between 7 and 10 points.
Unless Barack Obama can meet or exceed the turnout enthusiasm for Democrats in 2008, his ability to make Ohio a firewall is very very much in doubt. No state, even rabid blue California or Illinois, are showing signs of greater Democrat enthusiasm than 2008.
One of the early lies told by President Obama in the aftermath of the terror attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi that killed 4 Americans, was...
“And the suggestion that anybody in my team, whether the secretary of state, our U.N. ambassador, anybody on my team would play politics or mislead when we’ve lost four of our own, governor, is offensive.”Whom should be offended is the American people, because this, play politics or mislead is precisely what President Obama's team (Sec State, US Ambassador to the UN, State Department, White House, and the Campaign) has done.
Confirming this is the knowledge today that the Central Intelligence Agency linked the Benghazi attack to 'militants' in the first 24 hours after the attack - and not on a popular demonstration protesting an obscure You Tube video posted last July which allegedly insults Islam and their prophet, Mohammed.
I guess Barack Obama didn't get that memo as he was busy attending a campaign fundraiser in Las Vegas, and these were among the 52% of the days when he was too busy for his daily National Security / Intelligence brief.
Today's column by Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post drops a well deserved hammer on the President and 'his team' as he details what he calls the President's 'Greatest Gaffe'.
No one misled? His U.N. ambassador went on not one but five morning shows to spin a confection that the sacking of the consulate and the murder of four Americans came from a video-motivated demonstration turned ugly: “People gathered outside the embassy and then it grew very violent and those with extremist ties joined the fray and came with heavy weapons.”My only question for Monday's debate when this litany of failure is discussed is, will Bob Schieffer, the moderator, provide the same unethical and fundamentally false lifeline to Barack Obama that Candy Crowley did last Tuesday?
But there was no gathering. There were no people. There was no fray. It was totally quiet outside the facility until terrorists stormed the compound and killed our ambassador and three others.
The video? A complete irrelevance. It was a coordinated, sophisticated terror attack, encouraged, if anything, by Osama bin Laden’s successor, giving orders from Pakistan to avenge the death of a Libyan jihadist.
Not wishing to admit that we had just been attacked by al-Qaeda affiliates, perhaps answering to the successor of a man on whose grave Obama and the Democrats have been dancing for months, the administration relentlessly advanced the mob/video tale to distract from the truth.
And it wasn’t just his minions who misled the nation. A week after the attack, the president himself, asked by David Letterman about the ambassador’s murder, said it started with a video. False again.
Today in History
1781 - British General Charles Cornwallis surrenders his force of 8,000 British soldiers and seamen to the American Continental Army and French Army bringing the American Revolution to a victorious end. Encircled at Yorktown, and with the Royal Navy unable to break the blockade of or defeat the French Navy at the Battle of Virginia Capes, Cornwallis ordered his second in command to surrender to General George Washington. As the defeated British and Hessian troops marched to the American and French lines, their band played 'World Turned Upside Down'.
1796 - Alexander Hamilton, writing with a 'nom de plume', publishes an editorial in the Gazette of the United States accusing Thomas Jefferson of carrying on an affair with one of his slaves.
1812 - One month after the French Army occupied a burning and deserted Moscow, the starving army begins its hasty and disastrous retreat from Russia. Invading Russia with over half a million troops, fewer than 100,000 French soldiers would survive the invasion and retreat - embattled by Russian Cossacks and General Winter the entire way.
1864 - Union General Philip Sheridan wins a decisive victory over Confederate General Jubal Early in the Battle of Cedar Creek - effectively ending the Confederate offensive military capabilities in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
1935 - The League of Nations response to the Italian invasion of Ethiopia is to levy inconsequential and weak economic sanctions - demonstrating that organization's fecklessness and irrelevance as it abandons Ethiopia to Italian conquest. More serious steps against the aggression of fascist Italy were not taken as many members feared a European conflict rising from taking a stand against fascist aggression.
1985 - The first Blockbuster video sales / rental store opens.
1991 - A major fire breaks out in the hills of Oakland, California which would kill 25 and destroy thousands of homes despite that three times earlier, in 1923, 1970, and 1980, a major fire would devastate the area. The total damage caused by the fire would exceed $1.5 billion.