02 October 2008

2008 Vice Presidential Debate Live Blog

8:39pm: I'm off to dinner with friends. More thoughts and analysis when I get back.

I'm biased. I like Sarah Palin. But I was nervous about how things were going to go down tonight. I think she did really well--really, really, well. She matched up with Joe Biden. All she needed to do was play to a draw or lose slightly. I think the objective analysis will show that she did at least that and maybe even beat the 35 year senator.

Check out The Corner, if you can get it to load, for additional debate analysis.

Another reader texts: "I actually really like both of them. Biden is an effective politician, and very likeable."

I agree. I prefer Biden to Obama.

Palin does a better job hammering the core points and staying on message than her top-of-the-ticket runningmate does.

Sarah Palin's consistent effort to look into the camera and address the American people is effective. It's as though the parties flipped positions on this from last week. Obama was the one who looked in the camera and McCain addressed the moderator. Now, Biden addresses the moderator and Palin addresses the people. I think I like the latter style.

Palin: I would lead in energy policy--energy independence--and reform of government.

Same reader texts: "I feel like Biden is trying to sell me a used car."

Are you buying?

There's already a poll up at Drudge on who won the debate and, surprise, Sarah Palin is winning.

When Sarah Palin responds to questions with related examples from her time as Governor, that comes across as substance versus the "campaign promises" of Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Joe Biden: "...Serbs, Croatians, & Bosniacs."

Are they related to Obamaniacs?

Joe Biden is clearly smart and has a command of the issues, but his responses feel like Washington DC. His qualifications, obfuscations, caveats and nuance are diminishing his responses.

Taking a page from Al Gore's book, Joe Biden lets out a big, long sigh.

"No one in the Senate has been a better friend to Israel than Joe Biden." Says Joe Biden. I love it when athletes and actors speak in the 3rd person.

Sarah Palin is a strong advocate for Western Civilization, America, & conservatism. She's doing better this week than McCain did last week.

I'm glad to hear Biden speak so strongly in advocating support of Afghanistan and fighting terrorists. I think they'll quickly withdraw and not stick to talking points if/once they're elected, but still, I'm glad to hear it.

A reader texts: "She looked nervous at the first and is now getting into a groove." Yup.

This debate is not going how Biden's handlers told him. He underestimated her. His advisers underestimated her. And she's taking it to him. Personally, I blame the media. Democrats' friends in the MSM lulled them into a false sense of security. Again.

"All of the above" is a great energy soundbite.

One of my friends here watching comments: 'Last week we got to see Barack Obama and John McCain. I want to see what Joe Biden and Sarah Palin are about. And I think Sarah Palin is doing a better job of telling us who she is and what she's done.'

Biden isn't smiling anymore. Looks like Sarah Barracuda has got him rattled.

Taking money from the rich and giving it to the poor--income redistribution--is, in the words of Joe Biden, "fairness." This harks back to Barack Obama's insistence in the primaries that he would raise taxes on the rich purely because of "social justice."

This is the Sarah Palin I saw at the RNC.

This is the Obiden talking point: Blame the crisis on the last 8 years of economic policy. It's not true, but it's an easy, simple narrative.

No admission from Gwen Ifill about her book.

Carl Cameron: Look for Sarah Barracuda to come out swinging.

Dick Morris: Obama peaked too soon.

I really, really dislike Barney Frank. He has been Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac's biggest single House enabler. Even when Democrats weren't in the majority, he led Democrats in their efforts to stonewall Bush's reform efforts in 2003 and McCain's efforts in 2006. Since he's been chairman, he's done no better.

I don't like Bill O'Reilly's politics and I think he could do a better job of hanging this stuff on Barney Frank, but at least his target is the right one. Barney Frank is a bad, corrupt congressman.

Orrin Hatch thinks the Ifill thing is a joke, too.

Karl Rove on O'Reilly: 'Biden has said a lot of things over the last few weeks that would sink another Vice Presidential candidate.'

Just took a call from a reader who observed that these debates are one of the things that make this country great. It's true. While many complain about the combativeness of American politics, I think it's a great thing. In this country we fight it out in debates and columns and speeches.

Tonight, 60+ million Americans will watch Sarah Palin and Joe Biden--without the media filter--and decide for themselves.

5:52pm MDT:
In today's edition of the WSJ Political Diary, John Fund opines on Gwen Ifill:
The McCain campaign says it has no problem with PBS newswoman Gwen Ifill serving as moderator of tonight's vice presidential debate despite the fact that she has written a glowing portrait of Barack Obama that will be published on Inauguration Day. Obviously, her sales will be higher if Mr. Obama wins -- a glaring conflict of interest for a supposedly neutral moderator.

Why the sanguine reaction of Team McCain? "It's probably not the greatest thing on Earth that she is in that role and it's probably going to really force her to be fully even-handed," Thomas Patterson, professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, told the Boston Herald. "If anything, she's got to be really careful with her questioning of Sarah Palin."

Indeed, one GOP campaign veteran recalled a similar concern during tense negotiations in 1980 over who should moderate a debate between then-Vice President George H. W. Bush and Michael Dukakis. Debate organizers were certain the Bush forces would veto Dan Rather, the famously liberal CBS Evening News anchor. But actually they had no problem with him. "Earlier that year, Bush had had his famous on-air confrontation with Rather during which he had chided him for his lack of objectivity and recalled how he had left the news set during a live broadcast out of pique," the veteran told me. "We knew then that if Rather were the moderator, he would be hemmed in and would be forced to be fair."

In the end, the duties of moderator went to someone else, but the lesson applies to this year's debates. Ms. Ifill will likely be on her best behavior precisely because of the controversy over her book.
UPDATE 5:35pm MDT: Shepard Smith just posed the hypothetical on Fox News: 'Can you imagine if it were a conservative reporter writing a book about John McCain or Sarah Palin?'

Such a scenario would never occur because they would scream bloody murder.

Here's the thing about Gwen Ifill: The fact that everyone now knows she's writing an Obama book (to be released on inauguration day) will probably neutralize her in-the-tankness for Obama. At a minimum, people are now aware of her bias.
McCain on Fox News: 'I Wish They Picked A Different Moderator'
So that problem is resolved.

But how about the basic dishonesty of using her position as a moderator for profit? There is no doubt that if the debate commission knew she were writing a book about Presidential politics--especially Barack Obama--that they would have chosen someone else.

Whatever credibility this woman once had, it's gone. Along with the rest of the pro-Obama media.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.