VP Debate Liveblogging

Ken AshfordElection 20082 Comments

8:40 pm:  McCain was on Fox News today, saying the bailout bill — which McCain voted for — is a catastrophic bill which will lead the country into financial ruin.  Now, maybe McCain was having a "senior moment" and meant to say that the thing the bill was meant to fix was catastrophic.  But then, McCain said that Bush should veto the bailout bill.  Again, I don’t think McCain was aware of what he was saying, but I think Biden needs to mention it anyway.

9:00 pm:  I’m watching it on CNN.  They’re the "best political team in the history of ever" or some such nonsense.

9:02 pm:  No opening number.

9:03 pm:  "Hey, can I call you Joe?"  She’s polite.  I want to vote for her.

9:06 pm:  She’s doing fine.  Could have done without the soccor Mom thing in her opening statement.

9:07 pm:  He’s not looking at the camera; she is.  I don’t for whom that is better.

9:10 pm:  Her reference to "Joe SixPack" and "hockey moms" didn’t go over well.

9:15 pm:  She said "I may not answer the questions the way you and the moderator want me to".  Honey, you’re not answering the question AT ALL.  That was a bad round for Palin, avoiding the whole McCain-deregulation charge.

9:16 pm: Biden looks at the camera now.  I liked his retort on McCain’s health care plan, but I think it went over most people’s head.

9:26 pm:  Wow, this is dry!  Both of them!  She’s not being the attack dog.  No pitbull.  She is letting too many attacks and accusations go unanswered.  He’s not.

9:29 pm:  Dammit!  She’s going to talk about energy whether we want to hear it or not!

9:31 pm:  She doesn’t want to argue about the causes of climate change, she just wants to solve it?  Honey, bear.  You have to KNOW the causes in order to solve it.

9:32 pm:  And that’s what Joe said said.

9:33 pm:  There it is… the first smarmy attack.  "The phrase is ‘Drill baby drill’".  The women in the audience poll didn’t like it.

9:38 pm:  Oh, she tolerates gays.  Wait, she is talking about gay couples having to write contracts to get the same rights that heterosexuals get as a matter of law?  No, they’re not on the same page.

9:40 pm:  She’s not polling well on the Iraq question.  Man, is she kissing McCain’s ass.  Doesn’t she understand that she is at the top of the ticket?

9:41 pm:  On Iraq, Biden says "Well, I didn’t hear a plan in that answer". And then he gave the points of the Obama plan.  Biden is killing her on the insta-poll.

9:44 pm: Palin just said that the plan that Obama, Maliki, and President Bush currently supports is “a white flag of surrender.”

9:52 pm:  She’s very prepared with her talking points, but it’s sometimes awkward how she tries to wedge those talking point into the question.

9:53 pm:  Biden is really kicking her butt in this whole foreign policy thing.  She’s got platitudes only.

9:55 pm:  "Past is prologue" is a great response, Joe, but 3/4ths of the country won’t know what that means. 

9:56 pm:  "I haven’t heard any plans yet for change" — that’s the great Biden theme.  He needs to keep hitting that.

9:57 pm:  She blows off the question about nuclear bombs.  She obviously wasn’t prepped on that, so she just said that nuclear usage is bad, and McCain will take care of it.  Then she turned to Afghanistan, but only after pronouncing "nuclear" as "nucular".

It is becoming increasingly clear to me that she’s very well-prepared on the things she became well-prepared on in the past few weeks.  Unfortunately, if there’s a question that’s too far off the mark, she talks about whatever is in the book in front of her.

10:00 pm:  Darfur.  I wonder if that’s in her book.

10:04 pm:  Yup, it’s in her book.  Hey!  As governor, she thumbed her nose as the Sudan.  How cute!General McClellan?  In Afghanistan? [UPDATE:  See below]

10:07 pm:  John McCain knows how to win a war?  How?  From his time being a POW in Hanoi?  In a war we lost?

10:09 pm:  A team of mavericks, and then she winks.  Is she winking at me?  I think she is!  I’m gonna vote for HER!  She LIKES me!

10:13 pm:  She turned her book to the "education" page, and she talked about education.

10:16 pm:  No, honey.  The Constitution is not flexible.  THE VP WORKS IN THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH!  She, like Cheney, failed that question.

10:19 pm:  She’s talking to me like it’s Romper Room.

10:21 pm:  Wow, Biden choked up when referring to his son almost dying.  He was waaaay more genuine on the "I’m a regular person" that she was.  That was a pivotal moment.  He took her strength, without even trying.

10:23 pm: Nice attack by Biden on McCain being a "maverick".  I’m so SICK of hearing that from her in this debate.

10:25 pm:  Here’s the job interview question: "What about you was bad that you changed?"  He answers honestly.  She says in effect "nothing".

10:29 pm:  In a question about bringing about bipartisan cooperation, she answers by making a distinction between conservatives and liberals.  Not sure that was the best answer.

Closing statements.  Her instadial poll is up again.  Except when she attacked the "mainstream media". I think she sounds like she’s in a high school election.  Biden was good.  I liked the "Champ, get up".

Final thoughts: Biden won.  I think he will do better with the undecideds.  He simply knew he stuff; it was clear he didn’t just learn it.

Palin did what she needed to do to shore about the cracking conservative base, who would never have voted for Obama anyway.


General George McClellan, Commander of the Union Army during the Civil War


General David D. McKiernan, commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force and the top US military commander in Afghanistan


Now, you can say "Oh, she just got the name wrong".  Well, yes, but why?

Answer:  Because she just learned it!

LATE UPDATE:  I’m calling it a night, but I like this Palin performance summary from Publius:

Palin, by contrast, didn’t wear very well. Her schtick got old. Like her candidacy more generally, it was a sugar rush that fades quickly. It wasn’t so much that she had any truly trainwreck responses (though there was plenty of gibberish). It was that her mindless memorized cutesy lines and winks began to look like amateur hour in comparison to Biden’s command of facts and policy.