The President did not awkwardly reach for a bottle of water during his speech. In fact, I don’t remember him drinking at all. John Boehner, however, seemed to be sipping from his glass often. When he wasn’t looking dour, that is. I’ll write more about substance later, but this post is about impressions.
The best description of the Speaker is from Joan Walsh in Salon
But Boehner’s disdain was unrivaled. He also managed not to rise even for a shout-out to “wounded warriors,” or 102-year-old Deseline Victor, who waited seven hours to vote in Miami on Election Day. It was sometimes hilarious to watch him next to Vice President Joe Biden, who looked like a happy Easter Bunny with his white hair, lavender tie, pink-tinted glasses and green Newtown ribbon. Biden seemed to occasionally enjoy standing up, clapping while looking down at Boehner sulking in his chair.
This is what she means.
And then we can move on to Maureen Dowd on Marco Rubio.
The ubiquitous 41-year-old — who’s on the cover of Time as “The Republican Savior” — looked as if he needed some saving himself Tuesday night as he delivered the party’s response to the State of the Union address in English (and Spanish). He seemed parched, shaky and sweaty, rubbing his face and at one point lunging off-camera to grab a bottle of water.
Oh, that water lunge. How it will haunt poor Marco!
John Cassidy writing for the New Yorker, calls him “Water Boy”.
To be fair to Rubio, with a combination of eye contact and vigorous hand gestures, he was doing a decent job with the tough task of delivering a lengthy speech to a camera in an empty room. But then, for some reason—and it must have seemed like an urgent one to him—he decided to reach for a small plastic bottle on a nearby table and take a swig, thereby almost ducking out of the camera shot and sending the Twitterverse into hysterics. “Uh-oh. Water gulp—really bad TV optics,” Larry Sabato, a political science professor at the University of Virginia, tweeted. “SNL, Colbert, Stewart…here they come.” After that diversion, Rubio appeared to realize his error, and he looked a bit shaken. For some reason, the camera closed in on his face, which didn’t improve things. As the Democratic pundit Paul Begala cruelly noted on Twitter, the Senator was sporting a sheen of sweat that inspired memories of Richard Nixon.
Meanwhile, the President looked confident and sometimes very passionate as when he mentioned the need for Congress to vote on gun safety legislation.
The Republicans looked more like their leader.
That is Paul Ryan in the center.
For right now, the President has the upper hand. Neither Marco Rubio nor Rand Paul advanced any ideas beyond those from the last election – which they lost. Plus they presented a bad image all around. Maybe the Republicans are right in saying the President offered nothing new, nothing really that he didn’t talk about during the campaign, but there is a big difference: Barack Obama won based in large measure on those ideas. No wonder they look like four year olds being told they can’t have desert. And poor Marco. Only time will tell if he can overcome his reach for water.
Photographs AP/Charles Dharapak, Bill O’Leary/Post, Melina Mara/Post