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Apparently there is a bar near Hofstra called the Dizzy Lizard. They aren’t answering their cell phones. I expected this of Bob. In fact, I thought Bob might accidentally go to Detroit to watch the Yankees. But Jack? Not sure how he’s going to spin this.
Jack pushed open the door of the bar and squinted into the dark until he saw Bob. “Why aren’t you at the Old Ebbitt? I’ve been to half the bars in town looking for you. Are you coming over to Evan’s tonight to watch the debate?”
Bob watched him approach. “The debate? What about the game?”
“We have that covered. Two TVs. Side by side.”
“Can I have the remotes?”
“No. And, Evan said not negotiable.”
Bob nodded thoughtfully.”I guess we know who will win anyway, since it’s all in Spin Doctor.”
Jack dragged a bar stool into position and sat next to Bob. “By the way, I have to hand it to you. You nailed it. Watching with the sound off may be one of your best ideas yet.”
Bob shrugged. “You seem surprised.”
“I thought you were just looking for an excuse to hang out in a bar.”
“Right. Like I need an excuse.”
“Okay, smart guy. What about the VP debate?”
“You tell me. You’re the Spin Doctor, after all.”
“I think we go with the sound off again” Jack waved at the bartender and ordered a Bass Aie.
Bob nodded. “But not because of the visuals. It is possible that listening to this debate, without proper medication, could induce drowsiness.”
“So you don’t think Biden will implode?”
Bob shook his head. “Biden is over rated as an entertainment. He knows how to woo an audience, that’s all. Sometimes he gets caught by another audience that thought he loved them more.”
“What are you talking about? He’s married.”
“Funny. Ha ha. You know what I mean. He can talk to the Economic Club of Chicago and the Brotherhood of Baggage Handlers and they both will think he’s their guy. Then, they see the news and find out he has a multiple personality disorder.”
The bartender slid the bottle of beer in front of Jack, no glass, and another drink in front of Bob.
Bob went on:“No. Think. Tonight the audience is everybody. Tonight he will be buttoned down and buttoned up. No gaffes, no shooting from the lip. Just get out of the debate alive with no headlines. He can’t move the needle so–just don’t blow it.”
Jack blinked at him. “No. I don’t think so. He has absolutely nothing to lose tonight. He’ll swing for the fences. Hold up Big Bird’s lifeless body. He is going to go for the jugular, be the defender of the President. Even if he goes over the line, he’s not going to lose votes. But, he might energize the base. Right now, the air is coming out of the base. Turnout will be everything.”
“So what are you saying? You have too many metaphors. I can’t follow.”
“Abortion. The women have fled the ticket. This is no time for sweet talk. Immigration, another base issue. And then, a blend of economics aimed at black voters.”
Bob’s pinkish eyes widened. “The race card?”
“Not saying they will play it. But they might accidentally drop it on the table then quickly pick it up.”
Bob stirred the ice cubes in his glass with the bar straw.
“What do you think?”
“Does Evan have any Glen Fiddich or should I bring my own?”
Jack pushed his way through the tourists at the Old Ebbitt toward the bar in the back, where he was surprised to see Bob, already at the bar. “I thought M.C. asked you to go to Colorado for the debate. What are you doing here?”
Bob shifted on the barstool. “I’m supposed to watch the debate, right? So I can do that here.”
“No, you are supposed to be there. In person.” Jack slid onto the stool next to him, waived at the bartender and pointed to the Heineken tap.
Bob shook his head. “First of all, the people in the room will have no idea what is going on. They will talk to each other, squint at the stage, strain to hear over the applause that isn’t supposed to happen.” He took a sip of an amber drink in a short glass. “If you want to know what happens, you have to watch TV.”
The bartender placed a napkin in front of Jack and set the beer on it. When he went back to the other end of the bar, Jack went on: “Well you aren’t going to try to watch it here, are you? I mean it isn’t noisy, but you won’t be able to hear a word they say.”
“No. Seriousy. You can come over to Evan’s condo. We are going to get some beer and watch it there.”
“No. Thanks anyway.” Bob waved his empty glass at the bartender, who nodded back. “Besides, you two will probably make a drinking game out of the word “deficit” or “fiscal cliff.” You really can tell what’s going on better with the sound off. It’s visual. It doesn’t matter what they say. It’s how they react.”
“Stop saying that. I’m not kidding. Remember the Lloyd Bentsen-Dan Quayle moment? It wasn’t what he said as much as Quayle’s reaction. And Bush the Elder, when he looked at his watch. Visual. Didn’t say a word.”
“That was ages ago. Don’t you think voters are more sophisticated now? “
“Maybe. But it’s still about what your eyes take in. If you hear the words, it’s hard to concentrate on the visuals.”
“I’m starting to believe you are serious. What about the last election?”
“Easy. The debate was a draw. Amiable old guy versus smooth young guy. Bush the younger won both of his, but not on words. Gore and Kerry struck some voters as condescending. Like they were talking to a group of naughty five year olds. And remember Gore’s sighs? And those Reagan moments they keep playing in a loop? You can tell without the sound that he nailed those lines.”
“I still think M.C. wanted you to go to Colorado.”
“Look, nothing like what happens in Spin Doctor is going to happen in this debate. I’m not going to another time zone. Also, the air is thin. And it’s not like I’m going to find anything out in those spin rooms. I can tell you what they’re going to say before the debate starts.”
“Plus, there is no bar in the auditorium.”
“I very much doubt it.”
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