And the winners are…

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama! The candidates swept the Distracting Sideshow category of last night’s CNN/Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate, winning for their co-starring roles in the short political docu-dramedy Reagan: The Man, The Myth, The Metaphor.

Go ahead and take a minute to applaud them.

The winning act came during one of the debate performance’s many Fight Scenes, when, at Clinton’s behest, the two senators were squabble-spinning Obama’s now-infamous line about the Reagan legacy—infamous largely because, as we noted yesterday, it’s been used out of context. Watch the film clip here, and here’s the script (emphasis ours):

Clinton:
The facts are that he has said in the last week that he really liked the ideas of the Republicans over the last 10 to 15 years, and we can give you the exact quote.
Obama:
What I said—and I will provide you with a quote—what I said was is that Ronald Reagan was a transformative political figure because he was able to get Democrats to vote against their economic interests to form a majority to push through their agenda, an agenda that I objected to.

Cut. And bravo! One line, sure, one documented quote—but two different characters, two different scripts, two different takes. Mr. Kurosawa, if not Dr. King, would be proud.

Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.