Ladies' man in the ballot box

Today was the first televised debate for the United States Senate race between Republican State Senator Tom Kean, Jr. and recently-appointed incumbent Senator Robert Menéndez, a Democrat.

Kean pulled an absolute political masterstroke during the section regarding environmental issues:
I have made my career fighting for environment protection. One of my first jobs was working at the EPA. In fact, it's where I met my wife!
Brilliant. He was able to court voters on substantial as well as sentimental grounds in one quick answer. Kean's ongoing ability to appeal to NJ voters in such a manner will be of significant value to him.

This incident reminds me of the final debate in the 2004 Presidential race. While John Kerry, thanks in no small part to his superior public speaking abilities, arguably defeated Bush on the issues, the President ended up a winner that evening thanks to a lovely personal touch in his final answer:
[People] see a compassionate, strong, great first lady in Laura Bush. I can't tell you how lucky I am. When I met her in the backyard at Joe and Jan O'Neill's in Midland, Texas, it was the classic backyard barbecue. O'Neill said, "Come on over. I think you'll find somebody who might interest you." So I said all right. Bopped over there. There was only four of us there. And not only did she interest me, I guess you would say it was love at first sight.
Granted, a Senate race will not generate the personal attention of a Presidential contest, but still Kean can score major points by reminding voters that he fell in love with the mother of his children while working to defend the Environment.


Daniel Beckelman said...

The thing is Kean still comes off as weak and wobbly with many male voters. He is also behind 3-1 among 18-24 years old (necessary recruits 4 a vital state GOP.)

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I missed both Kean-Menendez debates, but it seems as if Kean isn't doing as well as he should. Menendez is part of the Hudson machine & corrupt as could be. Kean should be all over that. He has got to toughen up and assert his strength as a leader.

George Ajjan said...

Well, anon, he was "all over that" in Round 1, but much less in Round 2. The press didn't seem to like it.