“This final presidential debate will focus on Taylor Swift, whose new album Red came out just this morning,” moderator Bob Schieffer explained at the top of last night’s televised show. “Both candidates have been listening to the album all day, and have agreed not to mention Carrie Underwood or anything foreign in their responses.”
In a departure from the format of the first two presidential debates, the candidates were seated at a table with a Swift-branded Papa John’s pizza box between them. Romney wasted no time digging into what he referred to as “a charming, rustic, open-faced panini pie, such as I enjoy all the time with my family.” Meanwhile, in a move that some Democratic commentators fear might alienate grease-loving moderates, Obama brought along his own snack of hummus and rice crackers, classified as a pizza substitute under new USDA guidelines for school lunches.
Over the course of 90 minutes, the candidates offered competing views of Swift, with Obama pointing to her as a proud example of what’s possible with increased arts and language funding for schools and Romney focusing on her current status as “a savvy businesswoman and job creator,” of the sort that he’d have been happy to find in his binders at Bain Capital. They found common ground when conversation turned to the dubstep chorus of “I Knew You Were Trouble,” which both candidates agreed is “wildly infectious.”
The evening’s biggest clash came in response to Schieffer’s question about the album’s best duet, with Obama calling Romney’s choice of “The Last Time” with Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody “woefully shortsighted” and Romney countering that “if you’ll excuse me, that’s malarkey.” Meanwhile, Obama expressed a preference for the Ed Sheeran collab “Everything Has Changed,” which he hypothesized “could be about Conor,” pointing out that Swift’s secret code in the album liner notes spells out HYANNIS PORT.
That last claim got even Schieffer hot under the collar, as the usually taciturn 75-year-old moderator sprung to his feet and wagged an accusatory finger at Obama: “Are you mad, man!? According to Tay’s blog, that song was written before they were even together!”
Insta-polls conducted during the broadcast have Obama and Romney trailing Swift by twelve percent.
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