President Obama did not have an optimal day yesterday, botching first his series of softballs from Jon Stewart and then being trumped by Mitt Romney at the Al Smith dinner. (Read Toby Harden’s take in the Daily Mail for a representative example of shocked reaction to the president’s statement. As Mark Steyn said on my show yesterday, the “not optimal” statement “gets to the heart of his callousness over the Benghazi incident.” The full transcript of my conversation wiuth Mark is here.)
Perhaps his presidency is ending as it has been conducted: With a series of pratfalls so significant and so obvious that all but his hardest core supporters will not be sorry to see him go.
Today’s endless talking about the race will be dominated by the president’s statements on The Daily Show, as well as the obvious question of why, with so many questions to be answered about a terror attack, did the president choose to do so with a comedian. Sure, Stewart is a safe, friendly ally, but a comedy show to discuss an act of terror?
And to make a sweeping statement so obviously not true? Well, “the wheels came off” is a cliche, but cliches can sometimes serve.
As Jen Rubin notes, Romney is nearing the magic 270 electoral votes and has enormous momentum. Yesterday’s shocker from Gallup will probably narrow today, but the jolt it gave to Romney forces everywhere was enormous, as was the Orlando Sentinel endorsement of Romney, which mirrors a move of 2008 Obama supporters to Romney that is underway across the country.
The time for the president to make a case for his second term is long past, and the time to attack Romney and reduce him to an unacceptable alternative even to a failed president is long past and never accomplished to begin with.
Monday’s debate will be just another opportunity for however few undecideds remain to talk themselves into a Romney vote and for the president to display again that uncanny ability to discourage supporters with a display of everything they did not want in 2008 –hyperpartisan smugness, elitist arrogance and the clunky delivery of a candidate who knows his time is done and his campaign in ruins.
Read Charles Krauthammer’s “The Great Gaffe” as a set-up to Monday’s last debate. I hope Bob Schieffer does. monday will be the last time anyone gets to ask the president, while he is president, how such a massacre came to happen on his watch, on that day, and with that cover-up that followed.