Was Wednesday’s big GOP event a convention or a roast? Judging purely from the night’s speeches, it was often hard to tell. Though Jack Donaghy ex Condoleezza Rice and New Mexico governor Susana Martinez played it straight with poignant, heartfelt addresses, fellow Republicans like Mike Huckabee and especially Tim Pawlenty could easily use their speeches as Last Comic Standing audition material. Don’t believe me? Here’s a sampling of Day 2’s most noteworthy zingers:
Senator John Thune of South Dakota, on the president’s basketball prowess: “President Obama would be easy to defend… because you know he’s always going to go to his left!” Admit it, your dad laughed at that one.
Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, dabbling in self-deprecation: “They say I was on Governor Romney’s shortlist of vice presidential candidates. Apparently, it wasn’t short enough.”
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, taking a swipe at the Democratic National Committee’s Chair: “The only hitch in an otherwise perfect week was the awful noise coming from the hotel room next door to mine. Turns out it was just Debbie Wasserman Schultz practicing her speech for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte next week, bless her heart.” Extra points for that oh-so-Southern bonus dig.
Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, making a good-natured jab at his running mate: “In some ways, [Mitt Romney and I] are different. There are the songs on his iPod, which I’ve heard on the campaign bus — and I’ve heard in many hotel elevators.”
Bonus Ryan, on Romney’s gig running the Salt Lake City Winter Games: “He turned around the Olympics at a time when a great institution was collapsing under the weight of bad management, overspending, and corruption — sounds familiar, doesn’t it?” Glad the congressman found a way to fit in his favorite gag.
And then there’s Tim Pawlenty, whose entire speech reads like it was written by Dennis Miller. A sampling of his left-bashing jokes:
“Hard to say exactly just what [Obama’s] worst mistake has been. There’s so many to choose from: The stimulus. His energy policy. Obamacare. Taxes. Joe Biden.”
“President Obama isn’t as bad as people say — he’s actually worse.”
“The president takes more vacations than the guy on the Bizarre Foods show!” (Psst, Tim: It’s just called Bizarre Foods.)
“I’ll give Barack Obama credit for creating jobs these last four years — for golf caddies.”
“I’ve come to realize that Barack Obama is the tattoo president. Like a big tattoo, it seemed cool when you were young. But later on, that decision doesn’t look so good, and you wonder: what was I thinking? But the worst part is you’re going to have to explain it to your kids.”
And, finally, Pawlenty’s big kicker: “Barack Obama has failed us. But it’s understandable; a lot of people fail at their first job.” Careful, Zingbot — Pawlenty’s hankering for your job!
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