There’s the Simon Bridges some of the media portray, the one they say won’t make it to the next election as leader let alone ever be Prime Minister.
Then there’s the other one, the one those of us at the National Party’s annual conference saw and heard, the one who looked, and sounded like a Prime Minister in-waiting.
He was warm and witty, informed and intelligent, passionate and polished.
Simon got standing ovations before and after his introductory speech on Saturday, the first helped, a little, by the introduction his wife Natalie gave him.
He got standing ovations before, during and after yesterday’s key note address.
They weren’t orchestrated, they were spontaneous demonstrations of appreciation and support from party members.
Last week, several commentators previewing the conference wrote about disunity and leadership doubts. Neither were evident at the weekend and the only questions about leadership were asking why there were any questions.
The enthusiasm and unity at the conference were due to several factors including the content and delivery of all the speeches, and the demonstration of the work that MPs are doing to prepare for government, the diversity and the unity.
But the most significant factor was that we saw and heard the other Simon, not the media manufactured one but the real one and there was no doubt how popular he was.