Meanwhile, in Winnipeg ... and Laval

Earlier this evening, Colleague Geddes gave us his impressions on how the Conservative campaign reacted to that now-maybe-soon-to-be-infamous-or-possibly-forgotten-by-Saturday Mike Duffy Live segment:

In Winnipeg, the Tory campaign went a little weird with glee over Stéphane Dion’s awkward interview moment. They rolled out a TV to show tape of Duffy’s treatment of the episode to the media on the tour. Stephen Harper came out to do a quick scrum on the subject. And, holy cow, Kory Teneycke even announced that the usual rigid rules with respect to asking the PM questions would be lifted for this very, very special event.

And now, the National Post’s Don Martin has weighed in, as only he can:

Giddy Conservatives delayed their campaign jet’s departure from Winnipeg, declared the encounter worthy of a Saturday Night Live skit without having seen it and hauled out a television so a cluster of reporters could view the puzzled expression on Mr. Dion’s face as he tried to fathom the question.

Aside from the questionable ethics of CTV airing a segment when both Mr. Dion and interviewer Steve Murphy twice agreed to restart the interview to clarify the question, this is a damning insight into how desperate the Conservatives have become in their battle to belittle a Liberal leader they never dreamed could pose a threat to their government. […]

To use his first spontaneous media appearance of the campaign to declare Mr. Dion the most unworthy of the two candidates for prime minister based on a minute of misunderstanding is not the most flattering reaction for the prime minister.

In the end the incident they hoped to use to define Mr. Dion as a confused ditherer may actually provide more telling insight into the character of Stephen Harper.

Finally, Colleague Wherry reports back from the Dion campaign:

And while all of this is happening—as Dion appears only to be raging against the proverbial dying of the proverbial light—messages from the beyond are coming in. People with access to television have seen the clip. And the consensus has turned entirely. Now it is not so much the pivotal, pathetic pratfall of a clumsy candidate who was doomed from the moment he appeared. Now it is a low point in the history of journalism. Cross words and unflattering adjectives are being swapped.

Back on the bus, someone pulls up the clip on a laptop. Those who see tell those who haven’t what they saw. Interpretations vary. There is some debate over who said and heard what and how. More messages from afar. The Prime Minister has reacted. Indeed, the Conservative tour delayed its departure from wherever it was so that he might.

On the bus and then on the plane, the discussion continues—who said what and why and what, whatever the answer to those questions, this means for the fortunes of the two men who seek to lead the country.