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The definition of the word mull.
Mullings by Rich Galen
A Political Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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Post-Debate Spin

Rich Galen

Friday October 15, 2004



  • As soon as the THIRD & FINAL DEBATE was over (actually, about five minutes before the T&FD was over) the kids with the signs hit the floor heralding the arrival of the big-time spinners into the aisles and camera positions in the filing center.

  • There was no sign with the word "MULLINGS" on it as I had been spinning my you-know-what off since about 10:30 in the morning dispensing wisdom, wit, and wisecracks to any reporter who sat still long enough for me to make my way to him or her.

  • When the TV sets went off a well-known national print reporter came up to me and said that Kerry had won rather handily and what did I think of that?
    "How," I asked him, "Could you have possibly come to that conclusion?"

    "Everyone thinks so," he said waving his arm to the sea of reporters which was surging to get the official word on the debate as delivered by Karl Rove or Bob Shrum.

    "'Everyone' as in the entire traveling press corps?"

    "Yes," he said.

    "You're all on drugs. You're all on the same drugs," I said smiling - sort of.

  • Just then a TV crew came up, camera lights a-blazing, and the local TV reporter asked the national print reporter approximately this:
    "Now that President Bush has so clearly won the debate tonight, what effect do you think it will have on the race?"

    "Well," the national print reporter said, just a wee bit flustered, "I don't know that Bush won. I'd say it was a tie." ("Or," as Samuel Johnson once said, "words to a like effect."

  • After the TV crew moved on, I dope-slapped the national print reporter on the arm and said, "I rest my case," smiling - sort of.

  • Pollster (and FOUNDING Mull-Sponsor) Ed Goeas of The Tarrance Group was patiently explaining to another group of reporters why the insta-polls showed Kerry winning the debate but not, apparently, driving votes Kerry's way.

  • Goeas said that someone is called by a survey research firm and they are told that if they watch the debate they will be called again afterward. The person dutifully watches the debate "not as a political consumer, but as a debate coach, scoring hits and misses. It is a completely different experience for that person."

  • Another reporter tracked me down, having read Mullings on her e-mail and asked me how I came to my conclusion about Kerry having lost.

  • I asked her if she agreed with my assessment that, as the challenger, Kerry had to first establish himself as being Presidential and that he had done that in the first two debates.

  • She did.

  • Then I asked her if she agreed that, as the challenger, Kerry had the additional task of proving that Bush must be replaced.

  • She agreed.

  • Then I asked her if - notwithstanding whether she thought Kerry had "won" the debate" - she had seen or heard anything which had, in effect, put a stake in the heart of the Bush Presidency.

  • She had not.

  • "So," I said, as "a political strategist, I'm telling you that the Kerry campaign did not meet the test they needed to meet this night, ergo Bush won."

  • I really used that word, ergo. And I used it correctly. I think.

  • The next morning I had a treat. I had breakfast with former Vice President Dan Quayle. For those of you who might be new this semester, I was Mr. Quayle's press secretary when he was a Congressman and a Senator so we've known each other for about a quarter of a century.

  • Quayle served in the Senate with John Kerry and pointed out that prior to winning New Hampshire Kerry had gained only one non-Kennedy endorsement for the nomination from his colleagues. "It says a lot about a man," Quayle said, "that you can serve in the United States Senate for 20 years and have only one friend."

  • All in all, the trip to Tempe was a good use - a very good use - of Mullings resources. Thank you for helping to provide the resources.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A nice Mullfoto of The Veep and me.

    --END --
    Copyright © 2004 Richard A. Galen


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