Three highlights from tonight’s H&C yakfest. First comes the obligatory tableau with the kids aimed at showing what good parents mom and dad are while in fact showing that they’re willing to use their little ones as political props. Too treacly and too cynical — quite a combination. Next comes Jeri cannily turning a question about her role in the campaign into an indictment of Islamist oppression of women. It’s an easy mark and nothing we haven’t heard from Laura Bush but well played and eloquent enough to momentarily draw attention away from how distractingly attractive she is. Finally, Fred gets his chance on a national stage to respond to Dobson’s demagogic jackassery and makes the most of it. Nothing too aggressive — he can’t afford to be — but very cool and effective. The Times says he’s putting people to sleep on the campaign trail but I perked up a bit at his closing line here.

And to his great credit, despite the enormous political pressure on him to abandon federalism and tack right on social issues, he’s sticking to his guns. If only he’d stop making boneheaded mistakes