Saturday, October 18, 2008

Self-presentation in the presidential race

This week was the 63rd annual Alfred Smith dinner. Both McCain and Obama were there, and, as per tradition, it was a light, funny evening. John McCain, in particular, was hilarious. Here's the clip:

Here's what I don't get. In the debates and speaking, John McCain often comes across as mean and cranky--his personal style in the debates has been commonly critiqued. I thought that's who he was, but it's clear that when he loosens up he's funny, intelligent, and charming. Why doesn't he put this forward in his presidential campaign.

Obama, in contrast, was funny (by not as funny as McCain), but he seemed to be the same person as on the campaign trail.

Maybe it's a republican thing, for I remember thinking the same thing about Bob Dole when he ran against Clinton. After he lost, he did a Visa commercial (and other things) that presented him in an entirely differently light.


Knumb said...

Thanks for posting that... very funny.

Jay Livingston said...

I had the opposite reaction. I thought McCain seemed like he was trying to hard to do a comedian-style delivery, and I didn't find it at all appealing. Obama, as you say, seemed more natural, more like himself.

Both of them were obviously reading jokes that professionals had written, and I thought on balance Obama had the better material.