On Thursday night, at the Al Smith charity dinner in New York, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were invited to give some “lighthearted” remarks consisting of jokes and a little humor to lessen the seriousness of the campaign. This quadrennial tradition dates back several years and worked well in 2012 when Mitt Romney and Barack Obama delivered some good humor for a good cause.


This time, however, the jokes weren’t selling. According to CNN, the room wasn’t buying it from either candidate:

No one would confuse Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton for happy warriors.

The rivals showed up Thursday night at a fabled staging post on the final stretch of presidential campaigns — the Al Smith charity dinner in New York.

Smith, the former New York governor and 1928 Democratic presidential nominee, was once dubbed the “happy warrior of the political battlefield” by Franklin Roosevelt.

But Trump and Clinton looked anything but happy when they limped off the 2016 campaign trail Thursday night.

They struggled to disguise the anger, bitterness and sheer open dislike that has pulsed through their recriminatory White House race, perhaps not surprisingly since he has threatened to throw her in jail and she says he’s a threat to the republic.

Here’s the full video of each candidate so you can judge for yourself.

Donald Trump took the podium first to deliver his comedic remarks:

Next, Hillary Clinton got her chance at the podium, with similar but perhaps less cutting results:

For a flachkback comparison, here is Romney and Obama in 2012:

Trump had some funny lines, but he went a little too far and lost the audience. Coming literally off a heated debate on Wednesday night into this lighter setting on Thursday night probably didn’t help all that much. Instead of getting the candidates to take a breath from the campaign trail, the campaign simply followed itself into the jokes.

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Nate Ashworth is the Founder and Senior Editor of Election Central. He's been blogging elections and politics for almost a decade. He started covering the 2008 Presidential Election which turned into a full-time political blog in 2012 and 2016.

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