Election Candidate Speeches Serve up the Jokes at the Alfred Smith Memorial Dinner

As the candidates for the US Presidential elections prepare for their final head to head debate you’d imagine that their sparring might be absolute.

But it’s not. Both candidates, President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney profess to have a high opinion of one another…personally.

When it comes to their politics, of course it’s all different. That much was obvious when the duo gave back to back speeches at the 67th Annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York last week.

Their speeches were certainly the highlights of the jovial evening organised in aid of the Roman Catholic church at the Waldorf Astoria hotel. It’s a bit of a tradition for the respective candidates to give speeches in election year at this significant fund-raising event.

Beyond the candidates speeches, the diners, who paid more than $2,500 per head, also heard words from Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the Archbishop of New York. Cardinal Dolan is also no stranger to public speaking following his speech prior to his accession to Cardinal in Rome.

In their speeches the two candidates joked and poked fun at each other in a practised, professional and funny manner. This wasn’t brutal comedy but it was certainly fit for purpose.

Their respective speeches also contained some good self-deprecating humour…the sort of thing that you don’t expect to hear from a candidate, on message with only weeks to go before the all-important election.

The speeches were clearly well-written by good comic writers. And the candidates, reading from scripts, were well-prepared and practised. They paused in all the right places, timed their pauses and waited for the laughs. And they did laugh, genuine laughter.

The election might well become more intense, starting with the final debate today, but these speeches at the Alfred E. Smith dinner showed both of them off very well.


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