That may have been an unfair dig at a man understandably busy while running for higher office, but at least it was the tactful way to do so.
Edwards? attempt to exploit Cheney?s lesbian daughter was, to put it simply, sleazy. The liberal Democrats at the Manhattan establishment remarked, ?That?s painful.? An extremely informal poll of a half dozen Kerry-Edwards supporters found universal distaste for the moment.
Refusing to dignify Edwards? ghoulish side-show, Cheney proved the bigger man in responding, ?Let me simply thank the senator for the kind words he said about my family and our daughter. I appreciate that very much.? When asked by moderator Gwen Ifill if that was it, the vice-president said, ?That?s it.?
Which pretty much sums up Cheney?s performance: calm, cool, collected?and concise. Whereas Bush, Kerry, and Edwards seemed to wring out every last second allotted, Cheney completed many 30-second responses in less than 10 seconds.
For a man with surprisingly high negative poll numbers?no doubt due to the relentless caricatures of him by the left and the media?it was Cheney?s night to show America who he really is. He delivered.
Did Edwards still charm the media? He seemed to, but these things can change, literally, overnight. Worst case for Bush, the challengers will maintain the momentum until Friday.
Either way, the pressure is on Bush, and he needs to remind Americans why they liked him in the first place?just as Cheney did last night.
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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