“So you don’t think that’s questioning their patriotism when you say that?” — An incredulous George Stephanopoulos of ABC News in an Oct. 18, 2004 interview asking President George W. Bush about his charge that Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry’s plan to withdraw from Iraq was “surrender.”
After President Obama’s sour showing in last week’s debate, he and his team adopted a curious seeming response.
Team Obama said Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, a man Democrats (and Republicans) have long been saying is a stiff, awkward, un-relatable bore, was a slick and artful politician.
Obama’s senior political adviser, David Axelrod, even told CBS News on Sunday that Romney’s performance was “Gantry-esque.” That was a reference to Elmer Gantry, Sinclair Lewis’ con artist evangelist whom Burt Lancaster played in spellbinding fashion in the movie version.
Gantry was a fraud — a hard-drinking womanizer whose fire and brimstone sermons were just a means to con rubes out of their money. He was an undoubtedly evil character.
So Romney, previously jeered as a gaffe-prone, bumbling blueblood who couldn’t connect with voters, suddenly turned into an evil, mesmerizing, tent-revival hustler?