John Mashek and the President
John Mashek, a longtime political journalist, died earlier this week.
He covered presidential campaigns and conventions spanning four decades and was a panelist on televised presidential and vice presidential debates.
At a presidential debate in 1992, Mr. Mashek was best remembered for asking independent candidate H. Ross Perot about his proposed gasoline price increase, to which the jug-eared candidate responded with self-deprecating wit, "If there's a fairer way, then I'm all ears."
It was a big folksy hit with the audience, but audiences are fickle, and when Perot tried to use it again, it flopped.
In the 1988 debate Mr. Mashek asked then-Vice President George H.W. Bush, who had been suffering from heart problems, about the reservations of many in his party about the "qualifications and credentials" of gaffe-prone Sen. Dan Quayle (R-Ind.) as his running mate: "What do you see in him that others do not?"
Bush replied, "I see a man who is young, and I am putting my confidence in a whole generation of people that are in their 30s and in their 40s."
If you watch it here, it's a mighty uncomfortable moment:
The future president apparently did not take Mr. Mashek's question too personally, or if he did, the passage of time smoothed things over. Mr. Mashek's widow told me the former president called her to express his condolences.
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