Watching excerpts of John McCain and Barack Obama’s remarks at the 63rd annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner last night made me realize how quickly McCain will be able to rebound from what will undoubtedly be a trouncing in this election. He’s a funny guy. And he can be very charming when he is being self-effacing.
McCain clearly gave the better performance at the dinner. Whether it was due to having a better speechwriter or a more practiced and comicly-timed delivery I’m not sure, but if we were voting on an after-dinner speaker rather than a president, Obama might be in trouble right now. McCain’s years of being on the lecture circuit at just these kinds of events, plus his numerous appearances on the David Letterman and Jay Leno show’s clearly showed last night.
His best line of the night was probably when he deadpanned that despite being amongst a group of Manhattan Democrats he felt that there were some out there who were pulling for him. He then paused a moment to allow some light applause before looking over into the audience with a big smile and saying “Hillary! I’m so glad to see you here tonight!”
I also liked when he kidded himself about calling Obama “That One” during one of the debates, saying that it was just a pet name that he has for him and noted that Obama has a pet name for him too — George Bush.
Obama wasn’t bad, but it was hard to match McCain who seemed to turn on a dime from being a grouchy, angry old man to a debonair and witty dinner host.