The Last Spin Room: Davis Gets Angry, Axelrod Gets Sarcastic

hofstraweb The Last Spin Room: Davis Gets Angry, Axelrod Gets SarcasticThe evening of Oct. 15 marked not only the final debate of the long presidential campaign, but also the last installment of the now time-honored tradition of the post-debate spin room.

Last night, as reporters bounced dutifully between the little clusters around the yellow square signs identifying backers of McCain and the blue rectangular banners above the heads of Obama supporters, they’d heard practically everything the two camps had said before. But some remarks were notable nonetheless, if only for their sheer spinniness.

Some highlights follow.

Here’s Obama campaign manager, David Plouffe, a talking campaign memo, on where the campaign goes from here:

"We want to hold down all of the Kerry states. The first thing we have to do is lock them down.”

He also said the campaign was considering redirecting resources to such long-shot traditionally Republican states as West Virginia and Kentucky. “We’re playing a lot of offense.”

Senator Chuck Schumer said John McCain’s strategy was out of touch.

“The days of an Ayers issue mattering are over.”

He said he was “amazed” that McCain stayed with that line of attack even though “the polls show it is a loser.”

And he mocked McCain’s “Joe the plumber” debate theme.

“The Ronald Reagan era is over,” he said, adding that McCain was “missing the boat. As admirable as Joe the plumber might be.”

Schumer also said that from the beginning, he thought McCain would make a lousy candidate.

“He is not an empathetic person and he does not have a personality people gravitate towards.”

Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota said he “respectfully disagreed with Senator Schumer."

“It’s going to be remembered as the Joe the plumber debate,” he said, asserting that Barack Obama “wants to cap the Amerian dream and to keep Joe the plumber from his American dream.”

“The debate was a good debate,” he added. “McCain won.”

Obama adviser and former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle had an alternate take:

“Barack Obama was at his best and looked presidential. John McCain looked angry.”

McCain campaign manager Rick Davis, anxiously tapping a rolled-up document on his leg, called Obama slippery.

“The American people see through it. He wasn’t definitive on anything.”

When pressed by reporters as to why the candidates on the McCain ticket were bothering making appearances in traditionally Republican states like North Carolina, Davis finally relented and said, “There’s no question that we’re going to a battleground that they created in that state.”

Then he tried to refocus on the debate.

“We went right at Barack Obama,” he said, adding, “We pressed him, and every time he retreated, and that is a metaphor for this night.”

He refused to rule out continuing to make William Ayers a focal point in the race: “We’re going to talk about things that make the contrast.”

A few feet away, and surrounded by a much bigger circle of reporters, Obama’s chief strategist, David Axelrod, responded to Davis’ assertion that it was a good idea for the McCain campaign to keep attacking Obama. “I have to agree with him,” he said.

Then he referred to a New York Times poll that showed about two-thirds of those surveyed found McCain’s attacks counterproductive. “His goal seemed to be tonight to persuade the other one third.”

Article continues below
More from Politics
STAR OF DAVID OR 'PLAIN STAR'?   If you thought "CP Time" was impolitic, on July 2 Donald Trump posted a picture on Twitter of a Star of David on top of a pile of cash next to Hillary Clinton's face. You'd think after the aforementioned crime stats incident (or after engaging a user called "@WhiteGenocideTM," or blasting out a quote from Benito Mussolini, or...) Trump would have learned to wait a full 15 seconds before hitting the "Tweet" button. But not only was the gaffe itself bad, the attempts at damage control made the BP oil spill response look a virtuoso performance.  About two hours after the image went up on Trump's account, somebody took it down and replaced it with a similar picture that swapped the hexagram with a circle (bearing the same legend "Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!"!). Believe it or not, it actually got worse from there. As reports arose that the first image had originated on a white supremacist message board, Trump insisted that the shape was a "sheriff's star," or "plain star," not a Star of David. And he continued to sulk about the coverage online and in public for days afterward, even when the media was clearly ready to move on. This refusal to just let some bad press go would haunt him later on.
Donald Trump More Or Less Says He’ll Keep On Tweeting as President