In 1980, as President Jimmy Carter prepared for his debates with GOP challenger Ronald Reagan, Popkin "played" the part of Reagan during the practice sessions. In his To The Point segment, Popkin offers up commentary on Carter and the obscure and mysterious phenomenon of presidential practice debates. It's a great interview that I cannot recommend highly enough. It's only about 10 minutes long and starts at the 40:40 point in the podcast.
I had listened to the Popkin interview before the Wednesday night debate and his insights were spot on. Obama's unease was precisely the sort that Popkin described incumbent presidents falling into for a variety of reasons. The segment was also loaded with great details. This one was my favorite: former Michigan Governor and Dem sweetheart Jennifer Granholm "played" Sarah Palin for Joe Biden while he prepared for the 2008 vice-presidential debate.
You cannot fully appreciate that delicious little tidbit until you dig a sample of Granholm for yourself:
Who is your mama?
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