The Obamas and Romneys were in town yesterday for the Al Smith Memorial Dinner, but as far as anyone who was sitting in front a TV set was concerned, they were in really in town for the media opps. Michelle Obama's on "Live with Kelly and Michael" right now - you can see her in the "lightning round" if you hurry over to Ch. 7 right now. "For the president, do you prefer boxers or briefs? She: "None of the above.") Last night: President Obama was on "The Daily Show" and yesterday Anne Romney on "The View."
So let's break it down. Who won these outings - and who lost? Settings in both instances were congenial and non-combative. They were effectively TV decompression chambers for the president and the candidate's spouse, especially after the bruising debate at Hofstra. Jon Stewart had about twelve minutes to make some news, and in fact did a bit; asked how to resolve the confusion between State and the White House over the communications screw-up following the attack in Libya - which Stewart said was far from "optimal as far as the American people are concerned" - the president than said that it was "far from optimal" that four Americans were killed in the attacks. He's now been blasted in some corners of the press for what was interpreted as a cavalier answer - of course, it wasn't if taken in context. But unfairly that still remains one of the takeaways from last night.
Then Romney: She replaced her husband on "The View" - he backed out saying the hosts were too "sharp-tongued;" per Ann, what he really meant to say was is they were "too young and sharp..." She then had to wiggle out of her husband's flp on pro-choice - and did it fairly adroitly by backing into the point that what women really want is a "choice" between economic prosperity or failure (obvious a reference to tjhe choice beween candidates.) But she wrapped this outing with a more personal touch - talking about her hatred of campaign commercials in swing states,which is effectively something everyone on the planet can sympathize with. She's good in these sort of TV settings - better than her husband, and so...
... What could have been a bad media day for Mitt - after bailing on the ladies of "The View" - was turned into a net positive, thanks to his TV-savvy wife.
The winner : Ann Romney. Go here to check out her winning performance, and the president below. (And do feel free to disagree...)