Crikey, these Alfred E Smith dinner speeches from McCain and Obama are actually quite funny:
What I like about both McCain’s and Obama’s speeches is that they neutralise some of the most unfair attacks that have gone out in the previous weeks. When you have the spectacle of Obama saying “my middle name was given to me by someone who obviously didn’t think I would run for President”, and the cut to McCain laughing at the ridiculousness of it all, it simply has to take some of the sting out of the initial attack. Likewise with Obama’s reference to “palling around” with senators, his apparent celebrity, and the greek columns.
Meanwhile, other jokes, such as those referring to McCain’s age or some of Sarah Palin’s more desperate comments, only serve to focus the mind back on those issues. Politicians are capable of satire too, and its no less effective. Interestingly, both candidates were funniest when making fun of the Clintons, and McCain’s sequence on Bill Clinton was probably the funniest of the night.
Some might say that the white tie event smacks of elitism. If you are about to lose your home, it might grate to see both presidential candidates having a love-in at the Waldorf Astoria. However, I think in this case that is forgivable, especially since Alfred Smith was hardly an elitist himself, coming from a minority group and working on for those disadvantaged by the Great Depression.