TheDC Morning: 2012 — Out with the groans, in with the smirks

Jamie Weinstein Senior Writer
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1.) 2012: Out with the groans, in with the smirks — In 2000, Al Gore bombed one of his presidential debates by groaning every time George W. Bush opened his mouth. The result was that he came across looking like a jackass. No one cared about the substance of his remarks, just his un(vice)presidential demeanor. Thursday night, Joe Biden mimicked Gore’s theatrics, except he replaced groans with smirks. TheDC’s Matt Lewis writes:

“Videos can matter much more than mere words, and one imagines  this one could have a real impact — especially if it makes it onto TV. Could it be that Joe Biden, by smirking and laughing, made the same mistake Al Gore made in 2000 with his audible sighs?”

It may not turn out to be as significant, but it was little different. Joe Biden beclowned himself last night. He would have fit in better at the circus.

2.) Tie goes to the runner — TheDC’s Neil Munro reports that Thursday night’s vice presidential debate didn’t really produce a clear winner:

“Most polls and media talking-heads gave the advantage in the vice presidential debate Thursday night to GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, but also said that Vice President Joe Biden won by reviving Democratic morale following the disastrous Oct. 3 presidential debate. A quick CNN poll of registered voters said 48 percent thought Ryan was the winner, while 44 percent thought Biden claimed the title. Sixty percent of CNN’s respondents said Ryan was presidential, and 53 percent said he was more likable … A CBS poll of 431 ‘uncommitted voters’ gave the title to Biden, with 50 percent saying Biden won, while 31 percent said Ryan won. But Ryan also passed the CBS voters’ basic expectations, with 75 percent of the respondents saying Ryan is knowledgeable, and 48 percent saying he is ‘relatable.’”

But as they say in baseball, the tie goes to the runner. And since the presidential debate last week, it is the Romney-Ryan ticket that has the momentum. That wasn’t reversed Thursday night.

3.) Obama campaign provides incentive for Romney not to release policy details — Obama campaign deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter caused a stir when she said Thursday that the only reason the Benghazi consulate attack that killed four Americans, including American Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, has become a “political topic” is because the Romney-Ryan campaign keeps bringing it up. Amidst condemnation, Cutter initially defiantly said she wouldn’t resign, but later changed her tune and said that under certain conditions she would. TheDC’s Matthew Boyle reports:

“Cutter has changed her tune and is now open to resigning for her remarks about Libya — but she has conditioned her promise of resignation on something from the Romney campaign. ‘I promise to resign as soon as Romney releases his taxes or gives a foreign policy speech with some policy in it,’ she said, according to The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein.”

It is entirely legitimate for voters to ask Romney to release more tax returns and give more policy details. But in one sentence, Cutter gave Romney his best reason yet not to. Cutter remaining as a spokeswoman for Team Obama can only be a positive for Romney.

4.) The Lizard King, part four  If you haven’t purchased the “The Lizard King: The Shocking Inside Account of Obama’s True Intergalactic Ambitions By An Anonymous White House Staffer” yet, you may be the only person in America. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. But the buzz is building. It is the number one political humor ebook in the country, according to the latest Amazon rankings. Members of the Obama administration are shaking in their boots because of it, if not out of fear, than at least because they are reading it outside in the cold. In any case, get in the game. Get. It. Now. Then take Friday off and laugh. You can buy it here.

5.) Poll of the Day: Romney’s lead grows in Florida — Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/Miami Herald poll of likely Florida voters: Mitt Romney 51%, President Obama 44%. A month ago Obama led Romney in the poll 48% to 47%.

6.) Tweet of Yesterday — Jonah Goldberg: I think Biden thinks he had his Lloyd Bentsen “you’re no Jack Kennedy” moment with his “you’re kennedy now?” line. He didn’t.

VIDEO: Brit Hume says Biden looked like “cranky old man, to some extent, debating a polite young man”

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Jamie Weinstein