How many dick jokes can you fit in a Republican press conference?

DENVER -- The Republican National Committee is once again running daily opposition press conferences here in Denver, as they did in Boston four years ago. They have set aside a small space for the pressers, seating 20, in their “war room” headquarters several blocks from the Pepsi Center. (Not very conveniently located; it’s on the other side of the Platte River from everything else.) The attitude is, at least to start, decidedly less snide and combative than four years ago, when the Bushies covered the walls with snarky John Kerry insults, handed out stacks of phony million-dollar bills with George Soros’s picture on them, passed out photos of Kerry wearing a blue protective suit, and generally reduced the relationship between Presidential candidate and national media to the level of six-year-old telling the new kid at school which girls have coodies.

Not to say the RNC under McCain is above juvenile behavior; this reporter discovered that two volunteers would be picking up “Rock Star” outfits from a local costume shop later in the morning, for street-level Obama mockery. Also, the presser-room anti-Obama signage, illustrating the theme of Barack in Denver as “a mile high and one inch deep” had an free-of-context ‘ 1” ’ right next to Obama’s head, which several of us in the room interpreted as a dick joke – but that might say more about the immaturity of reporters, rather than Republicans.

The actual press conference today was about two former Hillary Clinton supporters, supposedly standing in for millions like them, who intend to vote for John McCain. In case you hadn’t noticed, Republicans, including McCain, think the world of Hillary all of a sudden and can’t stop talking about how great she is – you get the impression that, had she gotten the Democratic nomination, McCain and the GOP would have conceded and endorsed her for the good of the nation. Never mind all the incredibly nasty things they said about her when they thought she would be the nominee. That doesn’t count, it was just politics.

But, what Clinton and Biden said back then, that does count, regardless of what they say now. During the Q&A, I asked the two women very specifically what they think about McCain’s opposition to the Fair Pay Act. They both dodged it; I followed up asking again, specifically, about McCain’s opposition to women having the right to sue their employer if they discover they have been deliberately been paid less because of their gender. They both again dodged; former HP CEO (and rumored outside VP possibility) Carla Fiorina stepped in to say that McCain has a lot of women on his campaign staff, so, well, there you go. Fiorina’s slick, but tomorrow we get Mitt Romney at the GOP opposition press conference. That’s slick.

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