Were you surprised?

That sound you hear in the background are a number of people from both sides of the political arena saying, “I told you so.” No, it isn’t about the results of the latest polls or in response to the last debate. It’s about the so-called October surprises to be revealed by Donald Trump and Gloria Allred.

When I first heard that Trump was touting a new announcement that would change the way we looked at the election and the president, I shook my head. I had visions of more controversy about Obama’s birth certificate or the like. While there are still questions, at least in some people’s heads, about whether or not the birth certificates we’ve seen for Obama are real or not — or whether, in fact, he is a natural-born citizen — that’s now a non-issue.

Still, you have to give it to Trump. He is nothing if not a showman and a master of social media. His announcement of an announcement had folks talking about what he might be about to say. Speculation ran from more on the birth certificate to him revealing that he’d found divorce papers drawn up by Mrs. Obama at some time in the past. It’s clear the Donald was amused by this. He even tweeted that all the speculation was wrong and that everyone should just wait and see what he had to say.

Well, he made his so-called announcement at noon eastern standard time today. The thing is, his announcement turned out to be a challenge. In a youtube video, he begins by saying that Barack Obama is the least transparent president this country has ever had, noting that there is very little we actually know about him. So he issues a challenge. If Obama will release his applications and records from all colleges attended (and I assume applied to but not attended) as well as his passport applications and records, the Donald will donate $5 million to a charity, or charities, of the president’s choice.

In true Trump style, the Donald promised to write the check within one hour of the records being made public. Of course, this being the Donald, there are a few strings attached. The first is that Trump has to deem the release to be a full and complete release of requested documents. The second is that it has to occur by 5 pm on Halloween.

So, no announcement. No big surprises and certainly nothing that will change the landscape of the current political scene. Basically, the “yawn” many of the media already wrote it off as.

Color me not surprised.

Of course, if I were Obama, I’d take him up on it and see if he actually wrote the check or if he tried to weasel out of it. Frankly, it would tell us a lot about both men if he did.

Not to be outdone is Gloria Allred of legal fame (or infamy, depending on your point of view).

In the early 1990s, Mitt Romney testified in the divorce/child custody case involving Staples founder Tom Stemberg and his now ex-wife, Maureen. The testimony is currently sealed, probably because minor children were involved. It’s not unusual for divorce findings, especially for the rich and influential, to be sealed. This is especially true if there are children involved.

Fast forward to the here and now. Allred, representing Maureen Stemberg, is there with her client to waive any objections on Stemberg’s part to the unsealing of the record. There was an emergency hearing scheduled for today to decide the motion filed by the Boston Globe to attain Governor Romney’s testimony. The reasoning: we need to know what Romney said in a divorce case twenty years ago because it will help us know who is running for president.

I’m of several thoughts on this. The first is to wonder if this motion had been filed before the Donald started his rumblings about his “announcement” or if this was a means of trying to play smoke and mirrors in case there was something of substance to what Trump had to say. The second is to say, “so what?”. Testimony in a domestic case, where children are involved, that took place that long ago has very little to do with the here and now. We don’t know if the testimony has anything to do with Romney’s position with Bain Capital or if he was testimony about personal observations he made about the family and how the children were impacted.

Color me cynical with regard to both these so-called announcements or “October surprises”. Maybe if other people were involved, I’d be more willing to take their challenges and assertions seriously. But both Trump and Allred have proven to be headline grabbers. They love the spotlight and what do these so-called bombshells provide? Spotlight.

Just as I’d like to see Obama take Trump up on his offer, I’d like to see the testimony unsealed — if it deals with Romney’s position with Bain and not with the family’s personal lives. I respect the fact that Romney, through his attorney, said he’d like to have time to review the entire transcript but that he also asked that the hearing not be delayed more than a day. That, to me, shows that Romney isn’t worried about what this “bombshell” might be.

So, to answer my own question, I wasn’t surprised. Both events have been non-events so far. It’s just more of the same with the public being caught in the middle. Both Trump and Allred need to remember that they best serve the candidates of their choice by not making headlines.

At least that’s my opinion.

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