Last night, The Al Smith Dinner was held in New York City. The Al Smith Dinner is one of the biggest events in politics and media in any given presidential election year. The dinner is always scheduled close to the election, and it’s always a forum for presidents and presidential candidates to show their softer, more humorous side. The dinner is given in honor of Al Smith, the first Catholic to run for president (in 1928, I believe), and the dinner raises money for Catholic charities. I’m doing this little history lesson because I really don’t want twenty-million comments of “I hate that Obama is doing this dumb event” or “Romney should be thinking about the economy, blah.” Nearly every president and presidential candidate has done the dinner for the past 60-odd years. It’s a tradition, and it’s for charity, and it’s always bipartisan. So here are Romney and Obama’s speeches – Romney went first:
And here’s Obama’s speech:
Just on a style issue, I like the way Obama tells a joke. I like that he delivers his line, stops, processes, then laughs to himself. It cracks me up when he laughs at his own joke. As for the jokes themselves… Romney surprised me by having some really solid jokes. He made me chuckle several times. But Obama did make me laugh more often throughout his speech, and I thought Obama struck the better tone – more self-effacing, self-deprecating, lighter in total. Romney seemed to treat it more like a comedy roast, and I thought his ham-fisted wink-and-nod to Catholic voters at the end was tacky – like he was basically saying, “I’m the pro-life candidate, remember that Catholics! THINK OF THE POPE.”
Photos courtesy of WENN.