If I were President Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina, I wouldn’t be mass emailing today asking for “$5 or more” and urging vigilance during tonight’s VP debate about whether “Congressman Ryan tells the truth — about himself, his record, or his and Mitt Romney’s actual plans for where they’d take our country.”
The Messina email contains a link to a video enumerating Ryan’s “misleading ways,” titled “The 7 habits of highly misleading people.”
If I were Messina — and if I were the Obama people coaching Joe Biden — I’d emphasize the alleged policy lies but steer clear of the personal. At this point, the evidence table is stacked higher with examples of the vice president’s tendency to inflate his credentials.
Why Ryan, in tip-top shape, feels he has to exaggerate his marathon time is a question that can be answered, perhaps, only by those who study the peculiar personality traits of men who decide to run for office.
If someone wants to take that on — it might make a good Ph.D. thesis — he or she should also look at the man who will be sharing the debate stage tonight with Ryan. Biden has inflated not his athletic but his academic performance — his college (University of Delaware) and law school (Syracuse University College of Law) grades, honors and class rank, etc. — not to mention serious charges of plagiarism in 1987 (one of which likely caused him to drop out of that year’s race for the Democratic nomination for president).
On Ryan’s side, his phony marathon numbers can be classified as stupid macho posturing. Biden’s exaggerations, although older — one plagiarism charge goes back to law school — and not repeated recently, are the sort that can cost people, in the private sector at least, their jobs.