What McCain Doesn’t Understand About Getting the Job

I know a little something about looking for a job. I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few years doing it. And one of the things you’re always told by employment professionals about interviews is to let them know you want the job.

It’s no different when the job you’re trying to get is President of the United States. It’s on a bigger scale, but it’s the same principle. As important as it is to tell the voters that you have the skills, experience, talent, and temperament to do the job, campaign speeches and debate talking points are not enough.

Wonkette has an 11-minute clip (click on “Presidential Candidates Post-Debate Activity”) from a C-Span video that recorded the post-debate interaction between the candidates and their wives, and the audience. Except for all but about one minute and 30 seconds of that interaction, only one of the two presidential candidates was there:

Here is that remarkable video from last night, just after the debate. The news channels quickly cut to their commentators and spin rooms and such, but the C-SPAN cameras stayed as long as there was a candidate in the room. Here’s what to watch for: 00:00:13 — Cindy McCain walks out to greet her husband, and follows him awkwardly around the room for 25 seconds, until 00:00:39, when McCain finally acknowledges her presence with a quick, one-armed hug and a split-second glance at the side of her head.
00:01:19 — McCain may have patted Obama’s back here. Impossible to tell what exactly he is doing with his left arm. But if it was a pat on the back, however patronizing, it somewhat negates the handshake snub. Somewhat. But not really.
00:01:20 — The snub. Obama reaches out to shake McCain’s hand. McCain makes a weird face and points to Cindy McCain. Nonplussed, Obama smiles and takes her hand, says some pleasantries, and returns to the voters in the audience.
00:01:34 — McCain glances at Cindy, nods towards the exit door, and gives a spastic little bug-eyed wave goodbye to … the exit door he’s approaching?
00:01:35 — That’s it, the McCains are gone.
00:01:36 through 00:11:11 — For the next 10 minutes, Barack and Michelle talk to people, [pose] for pictures, make jokes, have apparently serious conversations with people, sign autographs, shake hands, and otherwise engage with literally everybody in the room, a hundred people or more.

At 00:05:06, a woman slips under Barack’s arm and hugs him. He hugs her back, and she actually dances back to her seat, which makes a bunch of people laugh.

At 00:09:26, Barack starts talking to (we think!) the guy who asked the first question of the debate, the one about everybody losing all their retirement savings in the economic collapse. And he keeps talking to him, and keeps talking to him, and listening to him, for more than a minute.

At 00:10:42, a black guy in glasses and a gray sportscoat asks to have his picture taken with Obama, who motions up to the seats just out of view of the camera, and seems to say he was headed up there, but he’ll come back. At 00:11:15, he comes back to the guy and happily poses for the picture.

And that’s where this C-SPAN clip ends. The live video feed last night went on for another twenty minutes, because that’s how long the Obamas stayed in the little theater, working the room, their “body language” betraying no exhaustion or wish to get out of there and have a beer and relax.

The debate may have been a bore, but what happened afterward was extremely telling.

No shit. Note to McCain and his increasingly desperate supporters: Yammering on about ’60s radicals who 40 years later live in Obama’s neighborhood, yelling about Obama’s supposed Maoist and Stalinist beliefs, telling voters that Obama “is not one of us,” and endlessly repeating lies about how he’s going to raise taxes on the middle class, is not going to impress anyone who isn’t already a die-hard right-winger. At this point, probably nothing will do that, but maybe next time you’ll back a candidate who doesn’t act like he can’t wait to escape from the people whose votes he is asking for.

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