Last night's debate had a lot to process - smackdowns, standing ovations, a man on fire, a guy with a trident - so it's only natural that today would be a recovery day on the trail. Mitt Romney is working to downplay expectations here, while Gallup reported his numbers nationally were sinking rapidly. Santorum was late for an event, a pretty crowded one, because he got a flat tire. And Newt Gingrich followed on his performance as the Honey Badger of the cycle last night with a trip to a local hospital where his wife read to sick children while he pointed at dinosaurs.
It was unusually subdued for a campaign event - in fact, it didn't feel like a campaign event at all. Gingrich chatted with hospital staff, talked to the courageous little kids, and stood in the crowd as Callista read from her children's book next to a giant elephant. Fun was had by all, except for most of the people in the room—the vast crowd of bored journalists transcribing and tweeting, some with two phones in their hands at the same time. It looks something like this. I'm directly above the elephant's noggin.
Over across the way, a rally of a more ardent nature was going on, with lines upon lines of fresh-faced College of Charleston coeds and hangers-on eager to see the real show in town today: The Stephen Colbert traveling circus, now featuring the actual Herman Cain. Pointing out that Cain is "a man with a bus with his face on it—Gandhi didn't have that!", Colbert's rally had a ton of excited college kids eager to see the funny guy. Unfortunately for him, it didn't appear Cain himself was in on the joke, and the audience tired quickly of his attempt to talk seriously. "Oh, I know me some pokemon words," Cain said. Colbert: "Gotta catch 'em all." And the college kids laughed.