Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The After-Party

I watched the debate on a number of networks (switching back and forth) and recorded a rerun of it from C-Span.

Unlike the other networks, C-Span's cameras stayed with the debate room following the festivities, since its follow-up is not with talking heads but with ordinary folks who call in. The comments range on one end from thoughtful and articulate to the other end, or ranting, raving, and incoherence. This is true of supporters of both major candidates and of other candidates. For the most part, they're pretty entertaining.

Most of the time while these calls were airing, C-Span showed the after-party. It was telling. The cameras watched as the two candidates and their wives worked the room. (This included the moment when the McCains and Obamas were in the same part of the room, and John refused to shake Barack's hand, passing him on to Cindy instead.) All this was aired completely without comment, except for the occasional "we're watching video of the candidates talking with the audience" or something similar. The audience talked, shook hands with the candidates and wives, had their photos taken with them, solicited autographs. After a short time, I noticed that the cameras were trained solely on Barack and Michelle, who were surrounded. Even without sound, the crowd's excitement was palpable.

At first, I thought there was a bit of favoritism going on on C-Span's part, but then realized that the McCains had left (this was later confirmed by the on-air journalist, probably to explain why only the Obamas were being filmed). In the meantime, the audience -- independent/undecided voters, if I recall correctly -- were eating up the attention from the Obamas. This struck me as classy, for one thing, and wise for another. Maybe the cost benefit for spending extra time with those 80 people wasn't that high -- but maybe it was. Each of those people has friends, after all. Add to that all the people still watching at home who saw what I saw: the one man left the hoi polloi behind as soon as possible while the other one ("that one") stayed to mingle.

Yet another example of the wide gulf between the two candidates.

(Wish I could find video, but I can't, and I'm too technologically dumb to create my own.)


kkryno said...

I wish I'd have thought to watch coverage in C-Span. That would definitely have been television worth watching.

I get the feeling that McCain thinks he's already won, so why bother with the fancy foot-work.

No time for the little people, my friends.

You can have lots of money, a trophy wife, but still no class.

Anonymous said...

C-Span has a YouTube channel, with the footage from the debate posted. none of the callers-in can be heard, but all the working-the-room is there. i agree - the crowd seemed electrified, snapping photos and posing with the Obamas.

if you watch, McCain actually taps Obama on the back, waves to someone in the audience, and then refuses to shake his hand. Cindy looked strange walking about with her hands firmly behind her back, following her husband around.

Anonymous said...

d'oh! forgot link:

Bitty said...

Anonymous, thanks. I was hoping to find the full after-debate footage online (that's what I meant when I said I couldn't find it), and I didn't realize that the full debate online video had those 6 minutes of crowd-working. It's only six minutes, but it's an important six minutes. I didn't remember that so much had happened in that short time. What I have recorded goes on for 20 or more minutes. (There might have even been more and C-Span quit filming.) Eventually Brokaw's gone, the McCains are gone, and the people are no longer sitting primly in their bleachers. They're up surrounding the Obamas, and at one point it looks like at least half of them lined up and posed for a group photo with the Obamas.

It's interesting that the online video only shows the first six minutes after the debate ended, and yet the McCains are gone for most of it. As for the handshake diss, I think it could be interpreted two ways. McCain may have tapped Obama's back for the express purpose of saying hey, here's Cindy, and that's why he didn't shake Obama's hand. But when Obama turned around and extended his hand to McCain, he still could have shaken it rather than gesturing not me, her. (I presume the candidates shook hands immediately following the debate. The camera wasn't on them on the video I watched. It was on Brokaw, with their heads in the foreground.)

Cindy seems to be shadowing her husband, one step behind like a "good wife," while Michelle is acting as her own agent.

It is in John McCain's best interest at this point to be polite to That One, because we're all watching to see what kind of statesman he is. Well, not all of us. Some would cheer him for not touching the "terrorist." That reminds me of something I heard on the radio or TV as I was listening while moving around the house yesterday. Someone commented that if Obama is a terrorist, he's the most boring one ever.

Brave Sir Robin said...

the one man left the hoi polloi behind as soon as possible while the other one ("that one") stayed to mingle.

Excellent observation!