Presidential Gaggle

Hofstra Presidential Debate Pre-Spin Under Way

Democrats and Republicans are already working the media refs. Howard Kurtz is at the scene.

Ladies and gentlemen, the spinning has begun here at Hofstra University.

John Kerry was so wound up before a gaggle of reporters that if he had been this animated in 2004, he might have won.

Kerry carries special status here at the site of the second presidential debate for two reasons. He’s from Massachusetts, where Mitt Romney was governor, and he played Romney in debate prep.

So did the senior senator offer a high-minded foreign policy critique on behalf of Barack Obama?

No, he said this about Romney: “The guy loves elevators.”

To wit, he not only has a car elevator in his California home, but when he was governor, Kerry said, Romney insisted on having a dedicated elevator guarded by state security.

“Is that the substance you want America to focus on?” a reporter asked.

“I think it’s very telling about a governor who claims to be bipartisan,” Kerry said, shifting slightly. By adopting a health insurance mandate, Romney “did what Democrats wanted, and now he’s running away from it nationally.” Kerry called it “the flim-flammest political artistry I’ve ever seen.”

A few feet away, Peter King, the Long Island Republican congressman, was a bit more down to earth in his spin.

Before the first debate, he said, American voters “hadn’t been sold on Mitt Romney and the Obama campaign had done a good job of demonizing him. Once Mitt Romney showed he was normal, he was intelligent, he was rational, and showed leadership that alone would have made the election close. When you include that President Obama was taking the night off, that turned the tide.”

They’re just warming up, folks.