The Obama-Biden Laugh Track Strategy
The Democratic ticket's gaffe factory is working overtime to lighten the national mood.
September 24, 2008 - 1:31 am
With the stock market dropping, oil prices skyrocketing, and taxpayers footing the $1 trillion bill for Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae and investment bank bailouts, the Democratic ticket has adopted a new strategy in recent days to help lighten the mood of voters here in the swing states of the Midwest by getting comedic advice from senior Obama campaign strategist Sandra Bernhard and court jester/U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken.
Joe Biden got this new laugh track strategy started last week here in the battleground state of Ohio during an impromptu rope line debate in Maumee, right outside Toledo. When Biden was asked by a supporter why his ticket was supporting clean coal he responded that he was for it — as long as it was done in China, not the U.S.:
We’re not supporting “clean coal.” Guess what. China’s building two every week. Two dirty coal plants. And it’s polluting the United States. It’s causing people to die. … No coal plants here in America. Build them, if they’re going to build them over there make ‘em clean because they’re killing you.”
Now this “no coal plants here in America” joke is particularly funny because Ohio ranks third nationally in the use of coal and 87 percent of the state’s electricity comes from coal, mostly mined in Ohio. And Ohioans have few other energy resources available beyond coal. In the event of an Obama-Biden win on November 4th, the joke will be on Buckeye State families already feeling the pinch at the gas pump to find their electricity costs skyrocket while Chinese families laugh at their distress.
Adding to the hilarity is that the Obama campaign website promises that they will push for clean coal — the same technology that Biden wants limited to China. And as Politico observes, Biden was praising the virtues of coal technologies to an audience of coal mine workers in Castlewood, VA, just a few days ago. At least no one can accuse Obama-Biden of letting their act get old.
But the Democratic duo keeps them coming faster than Abbott and Costello.
Take for instance Barack Obama’s “who’s on first” gag with Matt Lauer during an interview that aired Tuesday morning. After criticizing John McCain for coming out against the AIG bailout last week, Lauer asked about his own vice presidential candidate taking the exact same position not three minutes after McCain made his remarks. The laughable result was Barack Obama spinning faster than a frog in a blender, saying that running mate Biden — a 36-year Senate veteran — needed to consult with the straight man first before stating his opinions.
Joe Biden is definitely the Robin Williams of this campaign cycle, showing off his improv chops to Katie Couric while riding the campaign bus through the Ohio countryside last Thursday. In what is sure to become a stand-up classic, Biden called the Obama campaign ad mocking John McCain’s computer skills “terrible,” but then came out a few hours later and said that he had never seen the attack ad. Apparently Biden hasn’t heard of these things called “computers” to see what his own campaign is putting out.
He then followed that one up with a gut-busting one-liner about how Franklin D. Roosevelt handled the Great Stock Market Crash of 1929 by going on TV to tell his fellow Americans how it happened. The unspoken punch line is, of course, that FDR wasn’t even president in 1929, and he didn’t make his first TV appearance until a decade later in 1939.
And no doubt they are rolling in the aisles back home in Scranton, PA, over his recent sight gag, asking Missouri State Senator Chuck Graham to get up out of his wheelchair.
The Barack Obama and Joe Biden ticket certainly makes for great family entertainment, but they are beginning to learn that it’s hard to keep an audience, as Obama found out earlier this week in Green Bay, WI, where 4,000 less people showed up than a McCain-Palin rally there just a few days before. Unfortunately for the Democratic duo, many Americans are already in on the joke.