More on the Mondale/Coleman debate: Our faithful reader Kirk Kolbo pointed out to me last night that Jodi Wilgoren is one of the New York Times reporters whose page-one “editorials” have made the paper a laughingstock among conservatives. Her account of the debate, “For Minnesota, a late debate in altered race,” runs in this morning’s paper.
Viewers of the debate could not help noting that Norm unfailingly referred to Mondale as “Mr. Vice President.” Mondale returned the favor by calling him “Norman” throughout the debate. Wilgoren’s story includes Mondale’s explanation why he did so: “That’s his first name.” We don’t think so.
We think Mondale called him “Norman” instead of “Norm” or “Mayor Coleman” or “Mr. Mayor” because his adviser David Lillehaug told him to. (We think David told him to call Norm “Norman” because David thought it was a clever way for Mondale to diminish Norm. But don’t Americans instinctively root for David versus Goliath?) David’s the same adviser Mondale used to coach him in his debates with Ronald Reagan in 1984, and he has been Mondale’s primary adviser in this race since the day after Senator Wellstone’s death. We can only hope that the upshot of David’s advice in 2002 will be roughly comparable to what it was in 1984.
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