Politics & Media
Oct 02, 2008, 05:03PM

Live-blogging the VP debate

They are on stage, and we are just about ready to go.

9:05—The Economy

Biden: Oversight; focus on homeowners; treat the taxpayers like investers; don't let CEOs benefit. Middle class focus, believes that to be fundamental.

Palin: Soccer moms and fear; politics of fear; echoing call for oversight (does she forget she has no examples...wait here she goes); making up for her bombed Couric interview.

Biden: Plugging his work against violence against women; getting out McCain's "fundamentals" gaffe. Out. Of. Touch.

Palin: Easy talking point: talking about the American workforce. Obama voting 96% of the time with his party. (Simple, well done.) I respect your years in the Senate (ummm) but we need to change the system.

9:09—Subprime...who is to blame?

Palin: Greed boilerplate; "never again" (she's hitting it so far)

Biden: Not even addressing Palin. Hitting McCain for cutting regulation. (He's being steady, low key) Obama being ahead of the game; brings up that flimsy article where McCain wants to treat SS like banking; get that focus on the middle class.

Palin: Liberals raise taxes. Did you know liberal raise taxes? $42,000 deception...

Biden: Not. True. McCain voted same way (!). Using Palin's standard, McCain even worse on raising taxes. Palin not answering questions. (not bad)

Palin: As governor I lowerd taxes (yes, because yourr state was reaping money from the Fed).

9:15—O tax plan class warfare? M taxing health care?

Biden: It's about fairness. (simple, good answer) Back to the middle class. We have a different value set than McCain. They will pay no more than they did under Reagan.

Palin: Taxes aint patriotic. (Easy jab) Health care credit will off set taxes. Get competition across state lines.

Biden: 95% of small businesses make less than $250,000. (HUGE) Picking their health care plan apart. ULTIMATE BRIDGE TO NOWHERE. (!!!!)

Biden: Energy, Education, Health Care—we can't give up these efforts.

Palin: Let's talk energy. Linking Obama with tax breaks for oil companies. As governor, I kicked the shit out of the oil companies. There is nothing I would take off the table given this econonic crisis.


Biden: Oil companies, windfalls, taxes. (this is getting mired)

—Biden is holding strong, very strong. So is Palin, she's not looking too fazed. So far: even keel, Biden with the edge.

Biden: give more power to bankruptcy courts; keep people in their homes.

Palin: East coast politicians not allowing (poor) Alaska to drill for more oil; hyping energy independence

Climate change? What is true? False?

Palin: Hedging on man-driven global warming. Let's not talk about what causes it, let's talk about what changes it (ummm).

Biden: It is clearly man made. If you don't udnerstand what the cause is, you can't come up with a solution. (nice) McCain voting record against alt. energy. 20 times.

Palin: Hungry for oil (yeeesh. this is disgusting).

Biden: Clean coal. (fuck. clean. coal.) Reinforcing McCain's resistance to alt. energy.

9:21—Same sex benefits?

Biden: Absolutely. No distinction, const. or legall, between homo and hetero relationships. (not mentioning marriage...) MARRIAGE.

Palin: Nope (surprise...).  I am tolerant. (Coming out sympathetic to benefits, but no marriage)

Biden: We do not support the redefinition of marriage, but there will be no civil rights difference.


Palin: (boring talking points)

Biden: Connecting Obama, Maliki and Bush on the same general plan; McCain not on the same wavelength. McCain voted against funding for American troops if there's a timeline (Biden is on it) We. Will. End. This. War.

Palin: White flag of surrender??? (jesus...) Here come the talking points. And now we turn to Biden's previous statements.

Biden: Not straying from the point (nice). McCain made the same type of vote against troop funds.

(Biden is owning this debate format, knows when he'll have the last word on a talking point)

9:48—Engagement with enemies

Palin: Democracy will crumble if we talk to these fools.

Biden: What's the real security in Iran? Not the pres... (true, but looks like quibbling) How do make agreeements without sitting down? Bush did it. Biden brings out Spain. (huge)

(um, bathroom break)

(Palin, the room agrees, is being passive aggressive, Biden is more on the ball. I agree.)

Biden: Iraq-style surge will not work in Afg. Needs to be more comprehensive (?). McCain voted against test ban treaties. (Biden is all over it). Perfect segue into Obama's one major piece of legislation (on test bans).

Palin: (Basically vaguely agreeing with Biden) (Biden momentarily disappears. He's back)

10:01—Troops to Darfur

Biden: Americans have a stomach for success (ick). We need to lead NATO. I've been there, it's awful. We should rally the world to act. (solid, not plausible)

Palin: I'm a Washington outsider because I don't understand how poltiicians need to change their voting records (slight paraphrase). But she supports divestment.

Biden: Line drawn at capacity and international involvement.

10:07—Where do you disagree with your running mate?

Biden: I would follow Obama's policies (playing. it. safe.).

(This is a worthless question. Completely worthless.)

 10:13—What does the VP do?

Palin: (Swirling answer. Let me bring up the fact I have a special needs child)

Biden: Point person for leg. initiatives. Actually enumerating what he'd do. Still, vague question.

(Cheney mentioned by Ifill)

Palin: Complete. Non. Answer. There's flexibility.

(Biden's reaction not condescending, somehow...)

Biden: Cheney most dangerous VP in American history. VP is in the executive branch. Actually referencing the Constitution. (Not one mention by Biden)

10:18—Rebut your stereotype

Palin: I'm from the heartland from America with a special needs child (that makes me qualified). We represent an ideal.

Biden: I'm passionate and I'm not going to change. Brings his personal history to the table, don't tell me I can't empathize.

Palin: (completely ignores Biden) Look at his friends!: Giuliani, Lieberman, Romney... (...)

Biden: McCain is not a fucking maverick. Please. (On a roll)

10:24—Can you think of a single issue you changed your view on to accomodate change?

Biden: The ideologies of judges is critical. (Hmmm, kinda random

Palin: I gave in to budgets I didn't completely agree with, but ultimately I haven't diverged.

10:26—How do you change the tone in Washington?

Biden: I have a full record of working across the aisle. I don't question motives I question judgements.

Palin: I have a diverse family, so I'll appoint diverse people.

10:29—Closing statement...

Palin: I know what you, the American people, are going through. (she's rambling, she's losing her rhythm) We fight, we have freedom, fight, you, we fight for you

Biden: Re-establish ourselves.

Thoughts: Biden dominated in the safest possible ways. He knew how to work the debate format. But Palin was no small fry in the sense that she was strong in her voicings. Biden took it, not as much as he should have (and I'll say that as an Obama supporter), but he took it.

  • A draw so far. I wish Biden would get rid of that fake smile, and that Palin would get off the topic of her being mayor of a town with a population of about 52.

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  • Another nice live blogging job, Andrew. I think Biden came off as more informed and knowledgeable, but I did think Sarah Palin did better than I expected. That said, I got real sick of her ticking off her credits whenever she couldn't answer something. And her excuse of "only being in this for five weeks" was pathetic. The one thing that bugs me about both debates are, they're not debates in the true sense of the word, more like Q&A sessions. I don't think this will sway many voters one way or the other. And I think both sides will claim victory.

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  • Good point about the "debate" format, Marty. The relatively fast-paced Q&As kept the debate at a livelier pace than the first presidential debate, but it also squeezed out substance. McCain supporters can rightly claim she held her own, and that's because it wasn't a straight debate, it wasn't nuanced; it was posturing, checkers. She looked like a regular ol' pol, and the question is not what that says about her, but what it says about the rest of them, Dems and Repubs included.

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