Debate notes: The day after the night before
February 22, 2008 | 09:36 AM
There must be some things they didn't tell Wildrose Alliance Leader Paul Hinman in TV debate school, such as don't show up a day early to check out the studio, and don't forget to shake hands with members of the media panel and make nice.
I chalk that up to lack of experience, not any malicious attempt to undermine his opponents. When Hinman showed up at the Global studio, he wanted to know if viewers would be able to see his shoes on TV. "I want to wear my comfortable shoes," he explained. And so he did. Comfy, brown and broken in.
It was in sharp contrast to the spiffy, polished, brown wing tips worn by Ed Stelmach and the basic blacks worn by the other leaders.
Wildrose Alliance Leader Paul Hinman wore his comfy shoes during the debate. (CBC)
Maybe Hinman's cozy attire put him at ease against the glare of the cameras. I wasn't surprised by his performance, having seen him fight for a wee bit of attention any time he could at the legislature.
During commercial breaks, a gaggle of handlers would rush to their "guy," make sure he sipped some water, wiped the sweat off his brow, and told him to get back into the ring for another round.
When the camera wasn't on him, Kevin Taft wiped his nose like he was fighting off a cold. Brian Mason chit-chatted with Ed, and our media panel retooled our lines of questions.
I was pleased we raised the number of topics we did, but am STILL trying to get a straight answer from Ed about his fabricated number of job losses.
Tory Leader Ed Stelmach sported spiffy brown wing tips during the debate.(CBC)
After it was all over, and we — the media panel — capped off the night with a celebratory confab, I stopped in at Gene Zwozdesky's HQ. The big Ed bus was there and their big rally in a small room was just winding up.
From samosas to meatballs, Gene's rainbow coalition delivered where it mattered. Hmm… maybe a pot of bigos around? Thankfully not. It was almost 11 p.m. and not a good time for sauerkraut.
I did bump into Jeremy Chorney though. He's the campaign manager for Tory Fred Horne. While scarfing down a plate of headcheese, he gave his assessment of the night: "Thought Ed did astonishingly well."
"What else could you say? That he sucked?" I responded.
I left the headcheese and meatball crowd and called it a night. The next few days will be interesting.