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October 19th, 2012
08:33 AM ET

Democratic Analyst Richard Socarides & Editor-in-Chief of RedState.Com Erick Erickson on the candidates playing comedians at Alfred E. Smith Charity Dinner

Just for one night, President Obama and Mitt Romney celebrated their differences with humor instead of contempt. The candidates were all smiles at the Alfred E. Smith Charity Dinner in New York last night, aiming only to win applause and laughter and not a key demographic. Democratic Analyst and Fmr. Senior Adviser to President Clinton Richard Socarides and Editor-in-Chief of RedState.Com Erick Erickson joins Zoraida Sambolin on “Early Start” this morning with their take on the light and civil exchange.

Socarides says “it’s fair to say that they are putting that on.” “This is deadly serious moment in this campaign, and while they can be funny because it makes them look good,” Socarides says, “they’re not that happy with each other right now.”

Erickson says the event is still worth it. “I think people like to see that the politicians do get out during the day,” and then “go do a worthwhile cause at night and poke fun not just at each other, but they also poke fun at themselves.”

October 19th, 2012
08:13 AM ET

CNN Political Director Mark Preston weighs in on the candidates' cracking jokes on each other at Alfred E. Smith Charity Dinner

One night only, the 2012 candidates trade punch lines instead of insults. The competition is merely for who gets the most laughs, not the most votes. President Obama and Governor Romney were ready to compete just for that at the Alfred E. Smith Charity Dinner in New York last night. CNN Political Director Mark Preston is live from Washington with more.

While the candidates have been running an intense campaign, the atmosphere was lighthearted last night. “Mitt Romney and Barack Obama clearly don’t really like each other personally, and they certainly don’t like each other’s policies,” Preston says. “They they took this opportunity not only to take pokes at themselves, they took pokes at each other, but they also wrapped up political messages in their jokes.”