Via Philip Klein, help me figure something out. The whole point of sending Clinton out there was because he can reach white working-class voters in a way that virtually no one else in the current Democratic Party can, right? Okay, then … why on earth would you schedule him opposite something lots and lots of white working-class voters, especially men, have been looking forward to for months? Wasn’t the painfully obvious smart move here to put Clinton on Tuesday night, when he’d have TV viewers’ undivided attention, and then switch FLOTUS to Wednesday night, since her target audience was women anyway?
In the 10 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. block, roughly 20 million people watched Clinton’s speech on ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox, according to CNN’s release of the Nielsen fast nationals. 4.6 million people watched ABC, 4.5 million watched MSNBC, 4.4 million watched CBS, 4.3 million watched CNN, and just over 3 million watched Fox News.
Paul Ryan’s speech also drew roughly 20 million viewers. The Giants/Cowboys game last night drew 23.9 million, while Michelle Obama’s speech on Tuesday drew … 26.2 million. That’s a lot of undecideds who could have watched Bubba’s substantive pitch for a second term of Hopenchange dreck but instead got stuck with FLOTUS’s “he’s trying really hard and cares a lot” soft sell. I can’t imagine what Democratic schedulers were thinking. They’ve already got the women’s vote locked up; why not give Clinton the bigger spotlight to see what he could do with the rest of the electorate? As it is, anyone who skipped the game so that they could watch him is already likely so committed to one side or the other that they’re not switching their vote based on what he said. Baffling.
By the way, have we had any posts yet on the amount of media slobber after Clinton’s speech? Rick Klein’s prose poem on Twitter is tough to top, but the embarrassing eroticism of the intro to this op-ed might well have done it. As I get older, I find the over-the-top excitement among political junkies for convention speeches harder and harder to understand. It’s Bill Clinton. He got elected president twice and maintains a high favorable rating to this day. He knows how to give a speech. Makes me wonder how much of the reaction was really about Clinton and how much of it was liberals feasting on effective rhetoric after being starved of it for four years. In that case, eat up, guys. It’s breadcrumbs for dinner again tonight. Click the image to watch.
Update: Politico’s Keach Hagey has new numbers from Nielsen. I shouldn’t have underestimated the power of the Bubba:
Bill Clinton beat football in ratings last night, 25.1 million to 23.9 million total viewers, per Nielsen.
— keachhagey (@keachhagey) September 6, 2012
Obviously good news for Democrats but the point above stands. If this is the guy you wanted everyone to watch, why not put him on when everyone could watch? If his numbers were 25 million head to head with the NFL — which are still lower than Michelle Obama’s — what might they have been on Tuesday night without the competition?