Zombie John McCain was not so gracious, making an obvious and tasteless play for disgruntled Hillary voters by talking her up while suggesting that "pundits and party elders" stole the nomination away from her ("Obama has disenfranchised you! Vote for me! I love Hillary!"), while speaking to an audience of about 80 white guys.
McCain also took pains (and I mean that literally – he looked pained) to belittle Obama as a green lightweight, and to ridicule him for repeating over and over that a McCain presidency would be a third term for George W. Bush, because he’s totally a maverick who opposes Dubya all the time. Plus it’s not ironic at all for a Republican to accuse someone of repeating an untruth over and over again to make it sound truthy…
Mercifully, MSNBC and CNN cut away from McCain’s soporific droning about how Obama’s policies are "not change we can believe in" (because McCain is the real Change Candidate, just like Dubya was eight years ago) to call it for Obama and talk about what a wonderful historic moment this is. Beautiful.
The other noteworthy event was Hillary’s somewhat enigmatic speech to a huge, enthusiastic crowd, which, while uplifting, was also very inconclusive – it was not actually a concession speech, and all she said about her plans was "no decision tonight." Scuttlebutt on TV is that she wants to meet face-to-face with Obama before charting her next move.
In case I didn’t make it clear enough, the difference in production values between the McCain and Clinton/Obama speeches was just amazing. McCain’s was just a guy on a stage talking to a small group of people, and not a lot of energy on the stage or in the audience. Clinton and Obama were surrounded by energized, well-dressed supporters – and I do mean surrounded, so that when the camera was on them, you could see the people behind them reacting, as opposed to McCain’s sickly green backdrop. And everything, and everyone, just looked great.
And the best line of the night is a throwaway from Cliff’s primary liveblogging:
9:43 – Somewhere at this very moment, Mitt Romney’s hair is combing itself.
It’s funny because it’s true. Now let’s go get McCain.
(h/t Ben Wikler for the great Jeff Toobin clip)