Yes, I have to admit that John McCain won. Not the recent debate but the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation dinner during which candidates roast each other in New York. Smith was the groundbreaking, four-time, Irish-American New York governor and the dinner is a fundraiser for Catholic charities.

If you caught McCain's turn at the mic, which several news programs played, followed by Obama's, you saw the good Johh McCain — sharp, witty, and magnanimous. He seemed more comfortable poking good natured fun at himself and Obama than he has in any stage of his disingenuous and sometimes dangerously irresponsible campaign. McCain's roast followed a taping of David Lettermen, during which Letterman asked him tougher questions than Ifyl, Brokaw or Schieffer and McCain seemed relieved to come clean.

McCain joked that he couldn't help but think that some people at the Democrat-heavy event were pulling for him. “Nice to see you here, Hillary,” he said. And then went into a long, very funny monologue about how her husband Bill was hammering him on the campaign trail with such epithets as “hero” and “great American.” His comedic timing throughout was impeccable. In his closing remarks he was very generous to Obama and honored his place in American history.

Seeing McCain like this, freed for moments from the dark forces that have hijacked him and his losing campaign, one is reminded of what once made him a compelling national figure. Something went wrong when Rove and company fed him his nuts in 2000 and I get the feeling he can't wait to be free from them and their muck, even as they misunderstimate (sic) the American people with the tone, direction and tactics of McCain's bid.

Obama was very funny, joking that Barack actually means “that one” in Swahili. He joked that he never new governor (1873 – 1944), but “from what John told they had a great time back before Prohibition…good stories.”

It was a nice breather from the nastiness and a humanizing moment for both candidates. Wish it would carryover as the campaign's resume. Not likely.

LA Weekly