I'm someone who, for vaguely humorous effect, sometimes refers to people as "this one" or "that one." As such, I didn't see much contempt in John McCain's now-infamous use of the latter term in last night's debate. I saw a cranky guy trying to make himself look funny and likeable, and it landed about as well as his hair-plugs line--I suspect people who like him saw a goofy way of engaging in Senatorial finger-pointing, and people who don't like him saw something else. If McCain hadn't already demonstrated a pattern of visible, unsportsmanlike disdain for his opponent, it wouldn't be an issue.

That said, given our recent political history around botched jokes, it's always impressive on a tactical level to see the Democrats manage to gin up a phony outrage over this sort of thing.

One other thing I know: It's time to strike "that one" from my own bit. (I will, however, hold on to my regular "I won't name you as Treasury Secretary" line. It kills at Davos!)

--Michael Schaffer