Yeah, it was that bad.
VP DEBATE PREP: HIGH STAKES FOR THE UNDERCARD – M.M. moderated a discussion at the University Club in NYC last night featuring Robert Gibbs, senior Obama campaign advisor, and Karen Hughes, former top Bush administration official. We asked each panelist if they had to advise the opposing party’s VP candidate, what would they say? After much joking, Gibbs suggested Ryan should be Ryan, going into unapologetic detail on his well-formed policy views on government spending and entitlements. Gibbs described Rep. Paul Ryan as the intellectual heart of the party and said he should own that role.
The advice is partly self-serving (Gibbs thinks people will recoil at Ryan’s policies). But it’s also heartfelt: If you try to be someone you aren’t in debates, you generally look phony and fail. Hughes, after rooting for some famous Joe Biden gaffes, also said Biden should be Biden: relatable and genuinely concerned about the plight of, pardon the phrase, the average Joe. If both follow this advice, it should be a very interesting night. … Our other favorite line from last night was Gibbs, asked for his general reaction to the first presidential debate: “Five minutes in, I thought, ‘Oh s**t.’” Gibbs promised a very different Obama in rounds II and III.