ABC's The Note makes our head hurt

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

Deep thoughts from ABC's Rick Klein, under the headline, "Obama's Speech: Longer Despite Fewer Interruptions" [emphasis added]:

It's not the most scientific way to measure a president's popularity. But our producers at ABC tallied up the ovations and found some slippage from year to year.

Last February, in the president's first address to a Joint Session of Congress, he received applause some 65 times, including five standing ovations, over 51 minutes.

Last night, over some 70 minutes, there were 56 interruptions for clapping. But 19 times, at least some members of the House and Senate -- usually Democrats -- rose to their feet.

That's right, Klein wrote an item detailing how Obama included 9 fewer applause lines in his speech last night. For Klein, that's news.

Oh, and you know what else is SOTU news? John McCain's reaction, of course. And specifically John McCain's reaction to the applause lines:

Intriguingly, after the speech last night, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., rolled his eyes at all the interruptions, calling them "juvenile." Americans' attention spans, he said, are less than half as long as the president's speech last night.

He told ABC News that if he had been elected president, he would have asked the House speaker and Senate majority leader to ask members of Congress to sit silently through his State of the Union, and hold their applause to the end.

At ABC News, it's intriguing that the guy who lost in an electoral landslide two Novembers ago, claims that if he were president he'd do things differently. He'd make people hold their applause until the end of the SOTU address, even though members have Congress have been clapping their way through it for, oh, more than half-a-century.

UPDATED: According to CBS polling, 83% of viewers approved of Obama's SOTU proposals. But in its extensive round-up of SOTU reaction articles and columns, in which it linked to more than 36 dozen items, the Note forgot to link to any of the polling results from last night; results which gave Obama high marks for the speech.

Maybe the The Note was too busy interviewing the guy who lost to Obama in 2008.

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