A Mighty Wind

Daily Best of the Web   —   Posted on October 17, 2014

The following is an excerpt from OpinionJournal’s “Best of the Web” at WSJ written by the editor, James Taranto.

What Would We Do Without Experts?
“How Bad Will Ebola Get? Experts Are Still Guessing”—headline, NBCNews.com, Oct. 16

Nunn of the Above
The euphonious Alison Lundergan Grimes isn’t alone. “A video tracker for the opposition research firm America Rising asked Democratic Senate candidate Michelle Nunn whether she voted for President Obama in the 2008 and 2012 elections,” reports the Weekly Standard’s Daniel Halper, who has video. “Nunn, who is in a close race to fill the open Georgia Senate seat, refused to answer the direct question.”

Meanwhile, USA Today reports that “polls in a half-dozen states with key Senate races underscore just how much times and political fortunes have changed for the president”:

In five of the six states, the percentage of likely voters who say they voted for Obama in 2012 has dipped from the actual results. . . .

In 2012, Obama carried three of the states surveyed by USA Todayand Suffolk University’s Political Research Center with more than 50% of the vote. But now just 47% of likely voters in Iowa, 46% in Colorado and 48% in Michigan say they voted for him.

Of the six states, only in Kansas did the percentage who remember voting for Obama match the actual election returns, at 38%. His standing slid 5 points in North Carolina and 2 in Arkansas.

Nunn’s Georgia and Grimes’s Kentucky, neither of which Obama carried, weren’t among the states surveyed, but one imagines the results would be similar. Grimes has come in for a good deal of mockery for refusing to say how she voted, and Nunn may too. But maybe their embarrassment shows they’re in touch with the voters.

A Mighty Wind
Everything may seemingly be spinning out of control, but at least the midterm election campaigns are providing some comic relief. One humorous moment occurred at Wednesday night’s debate between Florida’s Republican governor, Rick Scott, and the state’s formerly Republican former governor Charlie Crist, who is Scott’s Democratic challenger.

“The Florida gubernatorial debate got off to a bizarre start when the live broadcast began with neither candidate onstage, and an announcement [that] neither would be participating,” reports Tampa’s WTVT-TV.

“As you can see, the two candidates on this stage invited to participate in this debate are not stepping up,” said moderator Eliott Rodriguez. “Ladies and gentlemen, we have an extremely peculiar situation right now.” Crist walked on, and Rodriguez said: “We have been told Governor Rick Scott will not be participating in this debate”:

Then Rodriguez went on to explain the delay was due to a small fan under Crist’s podium. Crist is known in media circles for always having or requesting a fan during interviews.

According to Rodriguez, the Scott campaign protested the fan ahead of time.

“Governor Crist has asked to have a small fan placed under his podium,” Rodriguez explained. “The rules of the debate that I was shown by the Scott campaign say that there should be no fan. Somehow, there is a fan there, and for that reason ladies and gentlemen, I am being told that Governor Scott will not join us for this debate.”

But Scott relented, and the show went on. Scott campaign manager Melissa Sellers put out a statement this morning, quoted by the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake:

“So, let’s get one thing clear: Rick Scott never refused to take the stage and debate. In fact, our campaign was not notified Charlie had even taken the stage because the last we heard, Crist was in an ‘emergency meeting’ with debate organizers pleading for his precious fan.

“But Charlie Crist can bring his fan, microwave, and toaster to debates—none of that will cover up how sad his record as Governor was compared to the success of Governor Rick Scott.”

The Crist campaign said it had added a handwritten stipulation to the debate rules: “with understanding that the debate hosts will address any temperature issues with a fan if necessary.”

Blake reports the dispute has a “backstory,” which was reported by the Post’s Ben Terris in February:

At the previous stop, Crist bragged to the crowd that his finance director, a former Obama campaign staffer named Jessica Clark, had helped him raise more money (about $5 million in 2½ months) than any Democratic gubernatorial candidate had raised over a similar period.

But now, as we arrive at the hotel, Clark is nowhere to be seen. Crist sent her to Target. While Crist sits patiently in a chair, rubbing anti-glare cream on his face, Clark jumps a curb in her car, carrying a mini tower fan. Crist can’t be seen sweating. “I definitely broke a few laws to get this,” she says, bursting into the room with moments to spare. She puts the fan on the ground beside Crist. But it’s not hitting him quite right. So she kneels on her leaf-print skirt and holds it up, the cool air kissing Crist’s face as it glows in the spotlight.

“Sorry,” he mouths to her.

“Don’t write about this,” she mouths to me.

Observers call the contest a toss-up; the RealClearPolitics poll average gives Crist a slender 1.2-point advantage. We’ll find out on election night who has more fans.

For more “Best of the Web” click here and look for the “Best of the Web Today” link in the middle column below “Today’s Columnists.”