The Republican nominee’s aides have packed his debate lunchbox with several zingers, which the Republican nominee has been rehearsing for months. Partisans want him to empty that rhetorical clip to show he’s a fighter, and reverse the momentum of polls that show Romney behind as voters in 34 states are already casting ballots”.
1958: “John F. Kennedy knew who his grandfather was, and also his grandfather’s son. During a speech at the Gridiron Club dinner in March 1958, Kennedy, running for reelection to the Senate, pulled a piece of paper from his suit pocket that he said was a telegram from “my generous daddy.” He read, “Dear Jack: Don’t buy a single vote more than is necessary. I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay for a landslide.” Joseph Kennedy Sr. wielded considerable political power, and critics charged that his son stood to be the beneficiary of his influence.
The joke was no off-the-cuff remark. Ted Sorensen wrote that Kennedy prepared the speech for hours, that “in his eight years in the Senate, no speech assignment worried him longer or more deeply than his role as Democratic jester for the Washington Gridiron Club Dinner in 1958.”
Presidential candidates have often relied on one-liners to make points and deflect attention, but do they work? Michael Phillips-Anderson probes the marriage of politics and humor in “Working the Room”, from the Politics issue of Lapham’s Quarterly.