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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Who Are Obama and McCain?

    I’m probably one of the few people you’ll meet who’s voting for a third party candidate. Bob Barr of the Libertarian Party may only have my vote begrudgingly, but he is the man whose platform best matches my own beliefs. There is very little I like about either of the “main party” candidates, Barack Obama and John McCain, and the bits and pieces that I can stomach, aren’t enough to catch my vote.

    However, one thing I can say about both men, is that they can both take and deliver jokes. At New York City’s 63rd annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, McCain and Obama roasted each other in a hilarious event that Comedy Central’s roasters would be jealous of.

    Al Smith, long time New York Governor and political candidate himself, started the annual dinner as a Catholic Church fundraiser and the event has been a political campaign stop for many years. This year, in particular, at such a crucial time point in a crucial election, both candidates made speeches roasting themselves just as often as each other.

    McCain fearlessly went first, setting the tone for the evening, joking about his infatuation with “Joe the plumber” (If you don’t know what this is in reference to, pick up a newspaper) and moving right on to teasing Obama about his inability to distinguish between McCain and G.W. Bush. Other targets of McCain’s jokes were Bill Clinton, various political news pundits and ACORN (again, read the news if you’re ignorant). He went from poking fun at Obama to praising his opponent, particularly for his accomplishments as an African-American whose White House run has served as an inspiration for many others and has rekindled political interest in surprising places. I agree with McCain when he said to Obama, “I can’t wish my opponent luck, but I do wish him well.”

    Obama, in turn, known for his skills as an orator, turns out to be quite the comedian as well and who’s timing was actually a bit better than McCain’s. He joked about not being the second coming of Jesus, but admitted to an identity, for some, no less important: Superman. He joked about his own name, appearance and celebrity status, showing us that political candidates don’t live in a bubble, someone in their campaign, at least, is telling them how the public perceives them.

    This is a comforting fact, even considering I have no plans on voting for either of these men in November. Maybe John McCain isn’t the cold war hero I thought he was a couple of days ago, and maybe Obama isn’t the stereotypical elitist liberal, afterall. Unless something miraculous occurs in the next weeks, we’re going to be living with either of these two men, and not Bob Barr or Cynthia McKinney, as the next president. Knowing that your president can take and dish criticism without going to pieces, and even be amused by it, is heartening. I might not like their policies, but Obama and McCain have won my respect for the people that they are.

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