“My point is, I can lead. Americans simply aren’t impressed by all the old faces—Clinton, Romney, Bush. People are looking for a fresh, exciting face—you know, like me,” joked McConnell in a closing speech that pulled no punchlines and even tugged at a few heart strings.
Another potshot at Mitt? “Governor Romney was going to run for a third time,” said McConnell. “But he’s already in the Guinness Book of World Records. Between running for president and being a Mormon missionary, Mitt has actually knocked on every door in America.”
McConnell’s speech, described as “charming and touching,” might have even helped reshape his image, often a bit dour, in front of crowd that included billionaire Warren Buffett, former secretary of defense Robert M. Gates, businessman Michael Bloomberg and publishing magnate Rupert Murdoch (all seated at Table 4, by the way). The Washington Post’s owner, Jeff Bezos, wasn’t far away at Table 6.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who also spoke, delivered one of the night’s top funnies. She said that Jeb Bush’s presidential bid proved an old Bush family adage: “No child left behind.”
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