Brief Note on Second Presidential Debate

I watched about three minutes of the debate. At this point, everyone has said what everyone wants to say. The views are simply getting more and more entrenched.

As a brief note, solely regarding body language, both Romney and Obama look rather uncomfortable. I can't imagine a "town hall meeting" is either one of these men's particular cup of tea. However, Obama is doing a much, much better job looking engaged, interested. He is still using more time.

Truth is, the only politician who has ever looked completely cool wandering around a stage was Dubya--man, that guy wore his suits well. He had that baggy slouch thing going for him. He looked comfortable. Obama and Romney look slick but not particularly comfortable.

It would be far more interesting to watch Biden and Ryan debate again, just because they seemed to enjoy it so much.* But apparently, both parties felt that more debates with the presidential candidates was worth the extra strain. I'm not sure I agree. But when the stakes are high . . .

*After last week's debate, some CNN analysts chided Ryan, in a kidding way, for talking to Biden as if they were contemporaries. One of the analysts said, "Woah, Sunny Boy."

I can't say it bothers me to have a 42-year-old man perceived as a mere youngster, but I think the analysts missed the point: in many ways, Ryan's experience more closely matches Biden's than it does Obama's or Romney's. A number of analysts mentioned Biden's use of the word "malarkey." What they failed to mention was the exchange that preceded the word. Biden used the word "stuff." The moderator said, "What's that?" Ryan laughed and said, "It's Irish." Biden then said, "It means malarkey" at which point Ryan nodded.

Both men come from similar backgrounds with similar service in government. I don't think it ever occurred to Ryan that he was talking "up" or "down" to an older man.

I say that because I think the age gap does occur to Ryan when he discusses Romney. Ryan doesn't display any hero-worship towards Romney--he's not that kind of man--but there is a rather touching regard in his references to Romney. Biden is one of the boys. Romney is less easily categorized.

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