That was not a rerun.
Instead of descending on an escalator in Trump Tower to scare us with stories about drug dealers, murderers and rapists coming over the border from Mexico, Donald Trump gave essentially the same speech he used to launch his campaign, this time from the Oval Office.
The news was just as suspect, the examples just as distorted. Then, Mexico was going to pay for the wall. Now, we will. Then, networks were glad to accommodate candidate Trump who was great for ratings. Now, networks were willing to cede control but wanted assurances that it would last only 10 minutes or so, sought immediate balance from Democrats and knew that fact checkers would ready, a permanent and necessary feature these days.
Before the talk there was widespread debate over whether or not the networks should carry it live, whether it was going to be just another example of Donald Trump lying without real consequence. Now, there are many expressions of regret and the likelihood that the next time he asks, the answer will be no.
That is shortsighted.
The networks need to respect the presidency even if the man occupying the office has done all he can to disgrace the institution. This is the first time he has asked to address the nation in prime time from the Oval Office so at least we have one example of a privilege that he is not abusing. Networks should be receptive to any such requests coming from any president because some day someone other than Donald Trump will occupy that office and she or he should not be tarnished by her or his predecessor.
While we did not learn anything from the speech or rebuttal, we did learn a lot in the hours leading up to it, news that is part of the story that is much more important.
The Russian lawyer who was at the center of the controversial Trump Tower meeting to spread dirt about Hillary Clinton was indicted and the lawyers for Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign chairman, inadvertently revealed that he had shared campaign polling numbers with a highly placed Russian operative.
Collusion? You bet, but we still need to wait for the only news story that counts these days, the report from Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller.
In the meantime here’s another story you might have missed.
Michelle Obama is the woman most admired by Americans according to Gallup, replacing Hillary Clinton who has been atop the ratings for the past 17 years.
This will come as a shock to those who depend on Fox News and the others in the Murdoch empire for their information. But the fact is, the woman who Trump still would like to see locked up has been in the top 10 of that poll 27 times and was the most admired woman 22 times, more than any other man or woman in the history of the poll.
As for the men, Barack Obama is most admired for the 11th straight year, another reminder that we should not define the Oval Office solely by the person who happens to occupy it for the time being.