Amazing how quickly these gaffes turn up on YouTube, isn’t it? The Times’s account of the incident was, as I said, “excruciating” but the incident itself isn’t nearly that bad. It sounded from the article like there were a few long, awkward moments of silence that prompted him to ask for some appreciation. In fact, he segues pretty quickly into it, almost as if he thought the crowd didn’t realize he was finished speaking and wanted to clue them in.

Still, though. Who the hell asks for applause?

Meanwhile, the Journal is hot on his trail in Iowa. “Thompson took the stage to wild applause. Within minutes, however, the crowd had quieted considerably and only broke into applause a few times during the 20-minute speech. Afterwards, Kevin Patterson, a 36-year-old stock broker from Waterloo, said he’d made up his mind about who he’d likely vote for: ‘Mitt Romney.'”