Ring a bell?
"Only 10 more minutes of this crap."—President George H. W. Bush on what he was thinking as he checked his wristwatch on camera in the midst of a 1992 presidential debate with Bill Clinton and Ross Perot.The gesture that doomed a president:
It was the telltale sign of a man made uneasy—or, at least, bored—by an audience member's question about how a deep recession had personally affected him. The then president's display of impatience seemed to speak volumes more than his awkward response.
"Of course, you feel it when you're president of the United States; that's why I'm trying to do something about it," Bush said after he'd checked the watch and straightened his suit jacket, "by stimulating the export, vesting more, better education system."
Yet as he stood face to face with voters in the nation's first town-hall-style presidential debate, Bush showed himself to be out of touch with ordinary Americans. And simple gestures "became freighted with deeper meaning," says Ellen Fitzpatrick, professor of history at the University of New Hampshire. [source]
Bush eventually lost the race. And I don't think it bothered him all that much. And his loss certainly didn't bother much of the electorate.
I think he's already started on his next novel. So why bother with debates and voters, even a second term?
As James Carville put it last night:
"It looked like Romney wanted to be there and President Obama didn’t want to be there.”