Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki would have us believe the campaign is terrified Mitt Romney will destroy President Obama with far funnier jokes during their appearances on Thursday night at the Al Smith dinner, where it is a tradition for people who are not comedians to tell jokes. "I will say Mitt Romney has practiced for longer than any presidential candidate in history for tonight," Psaki said, according to Politico's Byron Tau. "We expect him to be drop on the floor funny. And the president will make his way through." What could Psaki possibly be talking about? Or perhaps joking? Let's look at what's so funny about Mitt Romney:
Romney's comedic mentor. Romney's personal assistant Garrett Jackson tweeted this week that Romney was learning how to be funny from comedian Dennis Miller, who endorsed the Republican. "Dennis Miller rubbing off on Gov. Gov is keeping people laughing with jokes tonight." But Miller endorsed Romney without really endorsing Romney's cutting edge sensibilities. "Isn’t it time we get back to the 'gosh' president?" Miller said in Virginia, referring to one of the candidate's verbal ticks, The Hill's Alicia M. Cohn reports.
Romney's impressive dissertation on the nature of comedy. In a December 28, 2011 interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Ann Romney assured voters that her husband was hilarious. Romney went on to prove this with a long riff on how comedy works:
ROMNEY: I live for laughter. But, you know in debates, you ask the questions, you answer the questions. You don't tell jokes. And - as a matter of fact, my sons are little tired of my jokes. I actually like jokes as well as things that are sort of fun. My sons like spontaneous humor, not joke, but I like it all. Anytime you could laugh -- may I go back? I used to watch Laurel and Hardy, The Three Stooges, you know even Keystone cops... I watched The Honeymooners. I love humor.
The most likely reason: Romney's insult comedy. The most notable Romney jokes during the presidential race have usually involved insulting people:
- "I should tell my story. I'm also unemployed," he told a group of unemployed people in Florida in June 2011, the joke being both that he was begging them to hire him and that he'll never really have to work again.
- "I'm not sure about these cookies. They don't look like you made them. No, no. They came from the local 7-Eleven bakery, or whatever," Romney said of some Pennsylvania voters' homemade cookies in April, the joke being that those voters were too lazy to bake their own cookies and the store cookies were beneath them.
- "I like those fancy raincoats you bought. Really sprung for the big bucks," Romney said to NASCAR fans Daytona International Speedway in February, the joke being that they didn't spring for the big bucks.
- "Now I love being home in this place where Ann and I were raised, where both of us were born... No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised," Romney said August 24, the joke being that the same cannot be said for Obama.
We can't wait to see what he has in store for Obama tonight.