Tonight is the hotly anticipated Vice Presidential debate. In one corner we have Sarah Palin, who has lowered expectations so much that if she manages to put together at least one complete sentence she'll be declared the winner. In the other there's Joe Biden, some old, white dude who's so boring people don't even bother making up outrageous rumors about him.
Alright guys, the liveblog is live! We'll stick with the newest info at the bottom format from last time. Everything kicks off after the jump.
8:42 - So expectations for Gov. Palin are frighteningly low. It's like one of those sports movies where the ragtag crew of unpolished rough necks some how make it to the state finals and take on the three time defending state champs (uh, even though Palin represents the team that's been in control for 8 years). So maybe some people will be rooting for the underdog. Perhaps have a bit of empathy for her. Who knows?
Except, I watched a bit of her performance in the 2006 Alaska Governor's debate, in which she came off relatively well (enough to end up winning the race). Plus there's the fact she does have a journalism degree. For whatever that's worth, but you think it would make her a teeny bit more media savvy than your average politician. So then, what to make of that disastrous Katie Couric interview? Maybe it's another dumb McCain campaign stunt - pull expectations down so low only to come out running on a full tank during the debate. Or maybe she really is just horrible. At this point I wouldn't be surprised at either.
8:52 - As for Biden, during the primary debates he made some gaffs, and he had some amazing lines, but his performances didn't do anything for his also-ran campaign. He's a solid debater, but not a superstar, and he could make some mistakes.
9:03 - And it begins. Palin comes out: "Nice to meet you, hey can I call you Joe?" Aw, she's America's little political sweet heart. Biden replies in his opening that it's a pleasure to meet her, too. I'm pretty sure his playbook doesn't have many Palin attacks. Let her do damage to herself.
9:05 - Oh jeez, she answers the first question about the economy with an antidote about a kid's soccer game. What type of dog in lipstick are soccer moms?
9:07 - Plus for Biden - He has a million accomplishments he can tick off that actually effect people outside of Alaska.
9:08 - Wow, Palin's explanation of the "fundamentals of this economy are strong" quip was pretty effective.
9:09 - "Hey, Biden you've been in the senate like forever, since before I was born, and I think America needs some one new, and young and sexy like ...John McCain!"
9:12 - MSNBC's bottom of the screen graphic is HUGE. It makes it hard for me to get a proper appraisal of Biden's tie. Oh there it is. Wouldn't wear it myself, but it's fine.
9:13 - Palin's flag pin is twice as large as Biden's. I think we know who loves America more.
9:14 - Biden is making his first direct attack on Palin "she didn't answer your question, she's misrepresenting votes", and Palin shoots right back "I'll answer whatever question I want with whatever facts I want FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE!"
9:17 - Did Biden have some eye work done? Just asking? What if it's the result of some horrible thing, and I am a horrible person?
9:18 - Senator McCain's health care plan has lots of details, it's very detailed says Palin. Yay Details. Also a $5000 tax credit for families? What about for single bloggers hmmm? What's my tax cut?
9:20 - Oh God, could there be more numbers in your explanation of McCain's health care plan, Joe Biden? "You pay $5000 and 20% of you get back $1200 divided by two time pi to the third power by a factor of X."
9:23 - "Oh, those evil CEOs, bless their hearts." Did you hear who's hearts Gov. Palin wants to bless now?
9:24 - Palin: "Campaign promises I've made? Listen, I've only been at this for 5 weeks, and these are the first complete sentences I've manage to form since the convention, so yeah, I haven't made many promises."
9:27 - Why does Palin keep touting the fact that McCain suspended his campaign as something to be proud of, when it was a horrible crash and burn stunt?
9:28 - Yeah, guys we get it everyone saw this financial crises coming but no one did anything about it. That makes people really have faith in their leaders.
9:30 - Yadda, Yadda, Yadda ...Drill, baby, drill. Listen Palin, energy independence is the future of America, but oil only has a short term role in that. Domestic drilling is not the answer.
9:34 - She actually said "drill, baby, drill".
9:35 - Palin when you "rape" our shores for oil will you pay for the Ocean's rape kit? (honestly I can not believe she just said "raping." wow. No matter what context, that's kind of insane.)
9:36 - Biden has a pretty clear supportive answer on most Gay rights. Palin ...uh, she's "tolerant", but not if it redefines marriage, what I guess she thinks means "Hey, Gays, sign all the contracts you wants, It's cool, just not with God, thanks"
9:39 - But no one supports Gay "marriage" :(
9:41 - No one wanted to fund the troops :(
9:41 And no one wants to fund the gay troop's marriages :(
9:42 - Biden says "we will win this war" and Palin some how thinks he said "we will surrender". What?
9:44 - Palin keeps repeating this "Obama voting against troop funding" thing and maybe that is all she knows? Biden just keeps pointing out that McCain has done the same thing. We didn't really get anything out of that exchange. Thanks for that guys.
9:47 - Palin doesn't know anything about the Middle East except whats on the cheat sheet McCain gave her.
9:48 - Obama, really should have found a better defense on this "meetings with out preconditions" criticism since Hillary started hitting him on it. Now it's in the hands of Palin, and she loves repeating it. Also Castro has been named checked in both debates.
9:50 - Oh shit, Biden is laying down the law on the realities of Iran and the Middle East.
9:51 - Biden is as pissed about McCain's Spain gaffe as I am.
9:52 - Biden is clear and collected on almost every point he makes, but Palin hasn't had any embarrassing moments. Biden's winning, but Palin's not causing any more damage to her already flimsy reputation.
9:54 - "Awww, we both love Isreal", she says it like "awww, we both love puppies! ^_^"
9:56 - George Bush's ...George Bush's....George Bushes...George Bushes. It's almost like he's trying to subliminally imply that there are two George Bushes ...er three.
9:57- "Hey, can we talk about Afghanistan real quick? Because I memorized some things on that real good."
9:59 - Did you see where Biden was going to go for some overstatement "every single..." and catches him self "well the two I mentioned". He wants to make sure he's not playing fast and loose with the facts. Interesting? to some one? Hopefully.
10:01 - Gwen Ifel is may favorite debate moderator. Not sure about the repurposed polyester comforter that is her jacket, but she's good.
10:02 - Biden is talking about Darfur. Does Sarah Palin even know what a Darfur is?
10:03 - Well that's a big fuck no. Apparently Darfur isn't important enough for Palin to talk about, so she's going to go for that same "Wow, I just hate Washington insiders and I will remain adorable while doing so" garbage. ...oh wait here it is ... all she has to say about Darfur is that she agrees with Joe Biden.
10:06 - I am "learning" more from Biden's answers than I have from Obama's, McCain's and naturally Palin's answers in both the debates so far combined. Maybe that's because I haven't heard him talk much since the convention.
10:07 - Prediction: neither are going to answer this "how do you differ from the top of your ticket" straight or with anything other than "uh, nothing"
10:09- "Whadaya except with a team of Mavaricks? Squeee!" OK, she mentions ANWR. Way to prove me wrong.
10:10- Biden spends a lot of time at Home Depot.
10:11 - Weird, "Oh there you go, Joe" or whatever she said. No one expected Palin to talk down to Joe. Is that why she asked him if she could call him Joe?
10:12 - There was this weird moment where he said Biden's wife's reward is in Heaven, and for five seconds I thought she said she was in Heaven, which is .... Why am I bringing this up? I am morbid, I am sorry. Anyway she shouts out a third grade class. "Xtra credit! I am so adorable America" and she is.
10:15 - "Vice Cheney is the most dangerous Vice President in American History." Really Joe? I mean I know he shot that guy, but Aaron Burr killed a guy.
10:20 - Can they discuss immigration so I can attribute this quote to Palin: "And so if the government could just get to the kitchen, rearrange some things, we could certainly party with the Haitians. And in conclusion may I please remind you it does not say R.S.V.P. on the Statue of Liberty. Thank you very much. " That is what she sounds like. She is Vice President Cher Horowitz.
10:21 - Wow, a genuine moment where Biden was holding back tears. That was pretty moving.
10:23 - Palin doesn't know how to respond to that - "blah blah blah Maverick" Oh, awesome Biden is tearing down the maverick myth.
10:24 - Final question "what's your biggest flip flop?" Biden has some thing to say about how he judges judge. "An intellectual change". Palin wishes she could have cut more taxes.
10:26 - Ok, not final question. "How do you fix bipartisanship?" .....and now closing statement time.
10:29 - Palin likes debates because she can just say the same five things over and over and over with dashes of adorableism and no one will interrupt her to ask her what she means. Also she says if we don't vote for McCain some day we will not all be free, so vote for the McCain or we'll all be slaves? I dunno.
10:30 - Biden finishes strong, was strong the entire time.
10:33 - Well, I'm calling it for Biden. With out hesitation. He has the experience, he has the wealth of knowledge, and he showed a surprising bit of basic human emotion. He didn't come off as being too hard on Palin either, or attack her too directly.
Palin did better than expected, but she stayed true to her pit bull streak, snipping at Biden's ankles a few times.
But She answered the question she wanted to, and said that's what she would do early on, but it just comes off like those were the only answers she had. Biden chose not to attack her on that game plan, and Gwen didn't call her on it too much either.
She maybe made up for some of the damages she did in the interviews with her temperament and personality (and that's all she did), but all her answers came off rehearsed and with out much substance.
10:35 - It's kind of adorable/interesting how instead of storming off the stages, both candidates are on stage and introducing the other to their families.
11:00 - A couple of basic points other people are making that I didn't also make:
-Palin didn't do enough to distance her ticket from Bush.
-In fact Palin didn't do much of anything but make up any ground lost in those Couric and Gibson interviews.
-Biden was boring during the first half, but came together during the second.
-A lot of people are noting how Palin said she thought the power of the VP should be expanded. After Cheney, no one thinks that 's a good idea.
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-From 538: "The CBS poll of undecideds had Biden winning the debate 46-21, with 33 percent calling it a tie. But few votes were moved as as result. Among the undecideds, 18 percent committed to Obama, and 10 percent committed to McCain, but 71 percent remained uncommitted. "
-The mainstream media is pissed about Palin's digs at the mainstream media. Surprise!
-People who hate Palin will hate her more, people who love her will only love her more.
And a final point I'll make: Post debate coverage, at least what I'm seeing, is devoted mostly to analysis of Palin.