When Tony Abbott wondered out loud this week if Kevin Rudd ever shut up, he was not without cause.
Rudd's press conferences, which have always been on the loquacious side, are displaying the worrying sign of stretching on beyond the 30-minute mark. In trying to dominate the nightly news bulletins, the Prime Minister is talking for longer than the news itself.
Rudd is also becoming increasingly fluent in his use of ''daglish'' - and it is not just the ''folks'' and ''I've got to zips''. He is frequently referring to his home town as ''Bris'' (despite the fact it also means ''male circumcision ceremony''). Boat people have become ''folks on boats'', battlers have become ''the little guy'', innocent babies are ''bubs'' and Andrew Forrest is ''the old Twiggster''.
If this election were a referendum on daggy dad jokes, we would not even need to vote to work out the winner.
The long-lingering, waffling Rudd press conferences are a sign that all is not tickety-boo in the Labor camp. The Kevin who used to give teasing doorstops and appear on the ABC's 7.30 delivering zingers when he was chasing Julia Gillard has been decidedly AWOL of late.
One assumes that it is easier to be a popular challenger than the actual buck-stopping Prime Minister.
Indeed, while much of the debate post-mortem focused on the ''shut up'' moment (and whether it was bang on the money or rude to say these words in the presence of the Prime Minister), it was not the only revealing episode at the Broncos Leagues Club.
Another came in the responses to a question from human services student Kelly, who wanted to know what Abbott would do to public services.
Abbott danced around the question with the sort of ease and lack of definite information you might expect from a Fred Astaire-issued press release.
Then, after talking up Labor's achievements in the hospital sphere and again (erroneously) claiming the Coalition has $70 billion worth of cuts up its sleeve, Rudd turned to his opponent and said: ''I think we need to have a few answers, because you're way ahead in the polls, you're likely to be elected Prime Minister if there was an election today and I think people have a right to know where the cuts are going to fall.''
What appeared suspiciously like a moment of unguarded frustration barely registered in the debate, which moved on to more wrangling over who you can trust to build build build the future future future!
Which is funny, because it is rarer than 5th century hen's teeth for a politician to openly admit that they are being flogged.
Politicians will talk up their underdog status but they always downplay the significance of polls. No matter how awesome/gruesome they are.
When Rudd announced the election on August 4, he noted that had the election been held that weekend, Abbott would have won - but that was just hypothetical underdogging.
We are now at the end of campaign week three and the final result is getting less and less hypothetical by the day.
The weirdness of Rudd's ''you're way ahead'' comment was also underscored come Friday, when yet another round of polls landed with a thud, predicting defeat for Labor at almost every turn.
Here the Prime Minister was once again in classic downplay mode. He appeared on television to announce he was a ''fighter'' and that the ''half-time hooter'' had only just hooted.
He then continued to pop up in a furious series of interviews and picture opportunities, with one underlying message - that the proverbial rotund singing lady is nowhere in sight.
With polls suggesting that even Rudd's own seat may be lost, there is a grave danger that people will see the election as a done deal and switch off.
But as Rudd assured people that everything was totes OK, he continued to cop flak over a make-up artist's Facebook post in which she alleged the Prime Minister had treated her ''badly'' before the Broncos forum (thus immediately cancelling out about a week's worth of baby smooching pictures).
Despite the fact the woman later removed the post and said she regretted it, Rudd was forced to explain he had been ''in the zone'' before the debate. He explained he had smiled at the woman but had not exchanged words, which in turn prompted a debate about whether it was acceptable to greet someone with only a smile (as Malcolm Turnbull obligingly noted: ''I always say hello'').
So in the end, the man who is criticised for never shutting up ended the week with a hounding for being too quiet. When you're not winning, you really can't win.
Judith Ireland is a Fairfax Media journalist.