The choice of John Kerry to play Mitt Romney in President Obama’s debate prep is sure to spread Massachusetts jokes around the country. The punch lines may differ, but the words “rich,” “superior,” “stiff,” and “flip-flop” will probably be mentioned, perhaps along with even more piquant terms.
All that aside, Massachusetts may get the last laugh. While Kerry, like many others who’ve lost presidential races, is easily lampooned, he’s actually a great debater, having vanquished Bill Weld in the 1996 Senate-race debates and generally gotten the better of President George W. Bush in their 2004 encounters. And Romney, for all his supposed inability to connect with audiences, routinely dispatched far more colorful and bombastic challengers during the many Republican free-for-alls last winter and spring.
In debates both simulated and real, Obama has his work cut out for him.