Well, I'm Glad We Cleared That Up

Great moments in headlines: “Barney Frank: Martha Coakley is not Barack Obama in drag.”

Kerry Picket writes:

Congressman Barney Frank (D – MA) joined the Democratic Party faithful in Boston on Sunday to support Martha Coakley’s campaign for U.S. Senate and watch President Barack Obama give a final campaign pitch for the embattled Attorney General’s election.

Mr. Frank told reporters the race was only about personality until recently.:

“To the extent that she wasn’t doing as well as she expected, it was because the issues weren’t a factor in the race,” said Mr. Frank “It was a personality contest. Mr. Brown is not running as a kind of people committed conservative that he is and that he has the right to be. He’s running as a nice guy.”

Mr. Obama took a gamble to campaign in Boston today for Ms. Coakley. Virginia and New Jersey Democratic candidates Deeds and Corzine did not benefit from an Obama presidential visit to their respective states. When asked about how this race could affect Mr. Obama’s own popularity, Mr. Frank said, “The fact that he was doing better than she in a personality contest?–Nothing.  Obama is not Martha Coakley in drag, and what I thought happened was that this became, as I said, a personality contest.”

Mr. Obama can indeed draw crowd in Boston. According to the campaign, 4000 supporters made it inside the Northeastern University Sports complex to see the president. 1500 made it into the main auditorium, while 2500 people watched the event from a feed in an auxiliary space. One thousand individuals were turned away.


And speaking of the bloody obvious — that Coakley isn’t Obama — CNN’s Ed Henry observes her rally today and notes on Twitter, “odd pace of the speech suggests this is first time Coakley has seen a teleprompter.”

In contrast, of course, Obama is an excellent teleprompter reader — but Mary Katharine Ham suggested that he might to program it with some fresh content. Ham adds that The Won hasn’t updated his rhetoric since the summer of 2008, despite the change of the country losing hope as the economy continues its slide under his administration:

President Obama will take his traveling Skillful Oratory Show to Massachusetts today. I’m sure he dislikes the circumstances under which he must travel to the Bay State—state-wide disillusionment and anger with an overreaching Obama agenda combined with a gaffe-prone Democratic candidate, improbably turning Teddy Kennedy’s state into a battleground. But, let’s face it, the stump is where he feels at home, and he’ll likely deliver quite a speech today, full of the jaunty audience interaction, lilting preacher speak, and lofty calls to arms we know so well.

But isn’t it a problem, at this point, that we do know them so well? A year into his presidency, even the AP has begun to pick on the prez’s verbal tics:

All politicians have their verbal tics — say, John McCain’s “my friends” — but few resort to their crutches as often as Obama relies on his “let me be clear” set-up. He deploys it in formal speeches as well as in impromptu remarks, meaning that the White House speechmakers have keyed in on the boss’s security blanket.

It’s not just that the president’s words and phrases are often the same. They are, but that is forgiveable. What’s more problematic is that the message crafted by those words is almost exactly the same as it was in August of 2008. Things have certainly changed since he was elected—the unemployment rate, the nation’s deficit, the American people’s patience with sweeping liberal overhauls, and confidence in the government to make any of it better—but Obama’s stump message has not changed with the times.


Read the whole thing.

Update: “With all the gaffes that she has made, I’m starting to think that Martha Coakley is Joe Biden in drag.”


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