The Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner was a few days ago. The traditional charity event is the last time both candidates will probably speak at the same place before the election. They were roasting each other. The jokes get sharpened to bleeding point. I love the idea of this charity bash as a quasi fourth debate. The two candidates are jousting with satirical jabs, able to say things that they may not have been allowed to say in any other context. It is a high and difficult art.
I’d like to see it in Australia (though I fear the laughs would be few and far between). Both US candidates are high caliber performers, both can deliver a line with the right timing. Both were composed. Both probably had good speech writers.
Some would say that Trump crossed the “line” with his pointed barbs, where the jab is a little too sharp, and too thinly disguised. (There’s a certain ratio of joke to message that carries the meme to the most people.) I would say satire is meant to make to make a point, otherwise it’s just stand up comedy.
In terms of the psychology of speeches, for this 15 minutes, Trump is the alpha-male commanding the room.
UPDATE: Definition of alpha male: a billionaire at the most expensive gig in the world, on a first name basis with half the audience, scores laughs by tossing insults at the most powerful media heads and political players in the US.
Watch Clinton’s roast of Trump. She is a master politician. Smooth, with good delivery. Clinton took most of the roasting with admirable grace. It would not have been fun.
Donald Trump had heavy ammunition:
And even tonight, with all of the heated back and forth between my opponent and me at the debate last night, we have proven that we can actually be civil to each other. In fact, just before taking the dais, Hillary accidentally bumped into me, and she very civilly said, “Pardon me.”
And I very politely replied, “Let me talk to you about that after I get into office.”
Has any other Republican candidate played hardball with the media like this?
These events [the Al Smith dinner] gave not only the candidates a chance to be with each other in a very social setting; it also allows the candidates the opportunity to meet the other candidate’s team. I know Hillary met my campaign manager, and I got a chance to meet the people who are working so hard to get her elected. There they are, … the heads of NBC, CNN, CBS, ABC. There is the New York Times right over there, and the Washington Post. They are working overtime.
It was said to be the first time that the charity event drew boo’s.
The NY Times responded by accusing him of making the charity event dour, as if the only point of this event
3 2 weeks before an election was to be a clown:
By then, he had decisively lost the room. Those on the dais with him seemed to almost visibly writhe away from him at points — brows furrowing, smiles turning to grimaces. One man beside Mr. Trump became a viral sensation on social media, his face frozen and eye bulged by a quip gone awry.
Trump pulled no punches and got laughs while discussing the most important issue in politics today — the corruption. The writhing was because it hurt.