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23 October 2000

The Daily update: No joke

Synopsis: Hay-yo! Tony Snow wondered why Gore doesn't joke more. Brit Hume showed why he doesn't.

Commentary by Al Gore, Brit Hume
Fox News Sunday, Fox News Channel, 10/22/00

Hay-yo! The FNS panel played some tape of Gore and Bush at the Al Smith Dinner (in New York). Both hopefuls told a bunch of jokes. In his taped segment, Gore said this, to Al Smith IV:

GORE: Al, your great-grandfather was my favorite kind of governor. [Pause] The kind who ran for president and lost.

You could hear a big laugh go up from the crowd. Gore wet his finger and tallied a score. Comedians do that, quite often.

Bush also got off a good one on tape. And Tony Snow had a very good question. "Now why is it, Ceci [Connolly]," he asked, "why don't these guys use more humor on the stump?" Connolly offered her assessment: "There's nervousness that they'll say something that doesn't quite strike the rest of middle America as funny," she opined.

In fact, Connolly seemed to have "the rest of middle America" sitting beside her on the couch. Grouchy, crotchety, mean old Brit Hume quickly showed why the pols don't do humor. Juan Williams cheerfully praised Gore's routine. But grumpy old Brit had to spoil it:

HUME: Hey Juan, how'd you like this?

And Brit made the gesture which Gore had made.

HUME: Did you see that little gesture he made after he told that joke and people laughed, he turns and goes—

Brit made the gesture again. "Gore loves that one," Connolly helpfully said.

HUME: How—I mean, that's annoying! Here's a guy, makes generally funny comments—I know Gore, I've known him for years, he can be a very funny and entertaining and amusing guy to be around. But what that all about? [Makes the gesture] I mean it makes you, it's—it's just another one of those things that he manages to be unattractive while he's being funny.

"Oh, I see," Juan said, puzzled but still polite.

Juan may well have seen something else—he may have seen why our poor harried pols don't do more jokin' around. When pundits are determined to call you a jerk, they can find it in every little gesture. In fact, last month Gore told a silly old joke to the Teamsters about a union lullaby. The press corps pretended he meant it straight. They said it was another vile embellishment. It showed Gore had flaws in his character.

It takes one to know one, we always say. And our celebrity press corps is deeply disturbed. There's nothing—nothing—that doesn't offend them. Why are the candidates playing it straight? Why don't the candidates give us more yuks? It probably ain't "middle America," Brother T. It's that grinch at the end of your panel!