“We’re checking the paw prints..”

Here’s one for all the Obama-philes out there – you know who you are. Coyote Blue-Jay links to the transcript, and the delivery’s not bad either. Yes, that is Hillary. You can, if you must, also watch The Messiah Barack Obama roasting John McCain at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation DinnerPart1 and Part2. Enjoy.


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  • Rory

    Thank you, Pete, that was wonderfully entertaining. I don’t know who scripted McCain’s speech but he did deliver it with great aplomb, but then he is of that generation of U.S. servicemen who were constantly exposed to the technique of the old master, Bob Hope, more than a scintilla of whose style of delivery I detected here. If only McCain could have summoned up just a smidgin of the same insousiance in the third debate he might be running closer today.

    I have to say that there was more than a hint of graciousness in defeat also detectable in the speech and I suspect that if McCain were a bookmaker he would tonight be following Paddy Power’s example.

    Are you able to follow up with Obama’s reply or should we trust to our own search on YouTube?

    As an aside – Al Smith, the greatest President the USA never had, thanks to the craven capitulation of the Democratic Party power brokers to the Ku Klux Klan.

  • Rory

    Oh, sorry, I see now that you have indeed linked Obama’s response. Thank you.

  • Rory

    ;Apologies for my repetitive hogging of the first three responses, Pete, but having just watched Obama’s response I like to comment while the impression is still fresh. And that impression bears out my earlier instinct following upon the viewing of McCain’s speech which is that Obama is clearly seen as the man with his foot in the White House.

    Although his speech was much less entertaining than McCain’s and delivered much more stiltingly it is because of this rather than despite; and that is because it is he who is to be next President who can less afford to be less than sober both in content and delivery especially before an audience of the great power-brokers of the land. This dinner shows that Obama is now officially seen to be a shoe-in.

    But John McCain was gracious and it was that very graciousness that signalled his acceptance that all hope is lost.

  • Dewi

    Great than they can do that ain’t it. Try that where I come from and we’d have fisticuffs…let alone where you come from…

  • Pete Baker

    “Although his speech was much less entertaining than McCain’s and delivered much more stiltingly it is because of this rather than despite; and that is because it is he who is to be next President who can less afford to be less than sober both in content and delivery especially before an audience of the great power-brokers of the land.”

    Well, Rory, that’s certainly an interesting theory..

    You do know this was the 63rd Annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner?

    While commendatory references to Smith and his actions were once common, by chance or by design, many of the addresses at later dinners have taken on a lighter tone. Indeed, the occasion has evolved into something of an opportunity for speakers – particularly ones whose mien is typically quite serious – to show, through quips and slightly irreverent humor, that they can poke fun at a political issue, an opponent, or themselves. In 1988, Michael S. Dukakis solemnly declared, “I’ve… been told that I lack passion. But that doesn’t affect me one way or the other. Some people say I am arrogant, but I know better than that.” In the days before Saturday Night Live, the Al Smith dinner served as a kind of “proving ground for the candidate as entertainer,” as one reporter described it.

  • Greenflag

    Thanks for that Pete .

    McCain won this one on the comedy lines and Obama made his debut with some aplomb . All round a bit of light relief probably sorely needed by both candidates .

    Old joke c. 1958

    Question :’What do Poland and the United States have in common ‘ ?

    Answer : ‘In neither country can you buy anything for zlotys ‘

    Future joke c. 2018

    Question : ‘ What do Poland and the United States have in common ‘

    Answer : ‘ In neither country can you buy anything for a dollar ‘

  • Rory

    Yes, Pete, thank you, I am well aware of the tradition of the dinner and of its renowned test of a politician’s ability, to hold a polished veneer that has become its mark but that does not take away from my reading of the invited speakers at this year’s dinner.

    I am however unaware of the subject of the customary toast (something vague perhaps like, “Gentlemen, the United States”) but I have no doubt that Senator McCain has reached the pinnacle of his political ambition and, as far as the Presidency goes, it is he who is toast.

  • Rory

    Anyhoo, I’m off to bed to read some, so in the spirit of Greenflag I will leave you with this:

    Quasimodo walks into a bar.

    “Large Scotch, please.”

    “Bells ok?”

    “Mind your own fuckin’ business!”

  • Steve


    McCain won on content and presentation

    Obama won the who can take a joke about themselves award

  • Rory


    I tend to like to keep my contributions on this site short and snappy and leave the longer expositions to those who favour that method. I do however think on reflection that my response to your reply to my impression of the debate tended towards the snappish rather than the snappy, for which I apologise and plead the lateness of the hour of posting.

    It was right and indeed important that you drew attention to the tradition of the Alfred E Smith Lectures which has been the over riding influence upon the style if not the content of the speeches delivered by the invited speakers and that that should be borne in mind when making any attempt to analyse and draw conclusions from the speeches in any given year but more particularly in the year of a Presidential election.

    I must say nevertheless that after reflection and reviewing of the clips I remain convinced as to the conclusions I drew last evening and am prepared to risk egg on my face by reinforcing that view.

    Whatever happens I remain grateful for your fine effort in making the clips so readily available.

  • Pete Baker

    No apology necessary, Rory.

  • Dewi

    Watched them both again tonight – wonderful stuff – doesn’t it show the best of America? Such a contrasting country – so cruel but so inspiring.
    McCain is a good guy – his conduct over the last fortnight a real example – this ain’t over.
    (Thanks Pete btw – we take u 4 granted)

  • willis

    Barack did get in at least one funny.

    “I do love the Waldorf Astoria. I hear that from the doorstep you can see all the way to the Russian Tearoom.”

  • willis

    Just a question for those more familiar with US politics than me.

    The Alfred E Smith Dinner is a charity affair and invitations are influenced by the Catholic Hierarchy in New York.

    Neither Bill Clinton nor John Kerry got invitations to previous dinners because of their abortion stance.


    So how come Barack got invited?

    Again, I am only asking and I may have got some facts wrong.

  • Thanks for the You Tube links. Very entertaining.

    My remark is that while Yanks don’t do sarcasm or irony very well, self-deprecation is expected. These “roasts” are part of the culture.

    At another, I remember Al Gore being brought onstage via a two-wheel delivery cart (one you’d use to shift boxes), confirming his wooden image.

    On a serious note, I’m surprised the McCain team didn’t try to inject more humour in his own campaign, a la Ronald Reagan. It would go down well with Middle America, and also serve the purpose of back-handed attack on Obama’s perceived elitism.

    I predict Obama will win, not because everyone else is saying so, but I’m confident (finally) that he’ll win my home state of Ohio. The economic situation eroded any hope of McCain winning over these households.

  • 6countyprod

    Yank in Ulster: The economic situation eroded any hope of McCain winning over these households

    Hi there. What a shame that McCain is suffering from a situation that he tried to prevent, but was hindered from doing so by Democrats.

  • willis

    “As recently as September of last year he said that subprime loans had been, quote, “a good idea.” Well, Senator Obama, that “good idea” has now plunged this country into the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.”

    No John, No 6CoP, No Anne Coulter

    If you still think this you should not be President.

    It is not the sub-primes that are the problem, it is the way they were wrapped up and turned into AAA rated investments.

    Why do you think Banks will not lend to each other?

    Because they cannot trust the credit ratings.

    Dear God I understand this and I am only a bystander.

  • 6countyprod

    One important lesson about Obama comes across loud and clear in relation to the plumber episode: dare question Obama, and he and his media friends will do everything they can to destroy your life. But old Joe’s a lot tougher than they reckoned on. He refuses to be intimidated. More power to him.

  • 6countyprod

    The other Joe, Biden, that is, has just put forward the perfect argument as to why Obama should not be president.

    Kennedy’s perceived weakness resulted in the Berlin Wall and the Cuban missile crisis. Biden reckons America’s enemies will create a crisis to test Obama. He knows Putin will have Obama for breakfast. Why invite disaster?