liveblog - American VP Leadership Debate - liveblog – American VP Leadership Debate

  • 3:42 PM Scott Feschuk – Welcome everyone. People of a certain age might remember the Saturday Night Live fake ad for Bad Idea jeans (“Normally I wear protection, but then I thought, ‘When am I gonna make it back to Haiti?’ Screen shot: Bad Idea).

    If Sarah Palin were attired in denim tonight, she’d be wearing Low Expectations (“Despite enduring weeks of ridicule, I continue to make the case that I’m qualified in foreign affairs because Russia is, like, kitty-corner from my front porch.” Screen shot: Low Expectations).

    Still, even as the McCain campaign has let it be known that it’s giving up on winning Michigan and reallocating those resources to a state they’ve still got a shot to win (maybe the state of disarray, where they’re currently spending most of their time), is reporting that the Palin camp is “projecting surprising self-confidence in the pre-debate hours.” Maybe she’ll look good in Low Expectations after all. See you back here at 9 p.m. ET for the start of the VP debate.

  • 6:38 PM Scott Feschuk – I know many of you will want to study up for tonight’s debate, so I’ve gone to the trouble of preparing a comprehensive package of briefing materials that are required reading before the section on world affairs:
  • 6:38 PM Scott Feschuk –
  • 6:39 PM Scott Feschuk –
  • 6:42 PM Scott Feschuk – To recap then: people from Alaska – like Sarah Palin – live across the water from people from Russia, who are thuggish and dangerous, which is why you should vote Republican. Because by comparison people from Delaware – like Joe Biden – only live across the water from people from New Jersey, who are thuggish and… oh, wait. Never mind.
  • 8:40 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Well I’m finally here after picking the boy up at daycare, making dinner and playing trains. I am a regular Sarah Palin over here.
  • 8:42 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Correction: I did not slay any moose…
  • 8:44 PM Scott Feschuk – Hi Luiza/Sarah. That’s OK, I slayed enough for both of us (dibs on the hooves). Hey Luiza, are you like me? I love CNN. They have the resources and will to supply us with the opinions and insight of no fewer than 4,765 pundits at any given time. There are ranks upon ranks of pundits. If Jeffrey Toobin gets gunned down in a crossfire between Paul Begala and William Bennett, they just drag away his corpse and wheel in David Gergen. There is no interruption in the constant stream of punditry.

    Also, Wolf Blitzer just called this debate “historic,” which is “historic” in itself in that it’s the 10,000th event he’s called “historic” this election season. Also historic: the Democratic National Convention, the selection of Barack Obama, the selection of Sarah Palin, that time he got two gumballs instead of one in the gumball machine at the CNN commissary…

  • 8:47 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Who would you rather be tonight: Joe Biden or Sarah Palin?? I would much rather be Sarah Palin. Tonight offers a huge up-side for her. She can come out of this with a new image, a new storyline, and positive headlines. The only headlines Biden can make is if he screws up. Obama is already up in the polls this week, . He’d be happy if the campaign could just end today and people could just vote.
  • 8:49 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Also — as has been pointed out elsewhere, Palin’s screw ups in interviews have come mainly when journalists have pushed past her non-answers with repeated follow up questions. According to the rules of tonight’s debate, there will be no follow-ups.
  • 8:50 PM Scott Feschuk – I don’t know – i saw Palin’s interview with Katie Couric, and I sure like driving my car, and I’m not sure Sarah has the raw intelligence required to do so, so I gues I’m going to have to go with Biden. But your point is right on the money. Biden’s in tough – can’t be a bully, can’t condescend. It’s a fine line and he’s not a guy accustomed to walking a fine line.
  • 8:52 PM Scott Feschuk – I actually feel kind of bad for Joe Biden, because for weeks he’s been going to extraordinary efforts to be detrimental to the Democratic ticket and yet no one is really paying him any attention. What does the guy have to do? Lack the ability to name a single magazine or newspaper in the presence of Katie Couric?
  • 8:54 PM Scott Feschuk – Do you have your perception analyzer like those voters on CNN? i do. mine’s a shiraz.
  • 8:55 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – As I suggested on my blog earlier today, let’s have a sip of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin every time we hear the words “elite”, “media elite” or “liberal elite.”
  • 8:56 PM Scott Feschuk – It’s been 12 seconds. i’m drunk.
  • 8:57 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – I wonder whether Ifill will ask Biden whether he still thinks Iraq should be carved up into separate Kurdish, Sunni and Shia governments.
  • 8:58 PM Scott Feschuk – well, when iraq had trouble back in the 1920s, roosevelt went on tv and said just that…
  • 8:59 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – I was at a Fourth of July house party BBQ in 2007 in Iowa, when you could still get within an inch of the candidates, and he was going on and on about how it was the only answer.
  • 8:59 PM Scott Feschuk – rowland martin is going to explode all over my plasma screen!
  • 9:00 PM Scott Feschuk – as a potential v-p, i sure hope the secret service has searched biden’s person and removed all independent opinion
  • 9:00 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – I guess I should turn the TV on. I’m going to watch it on Fox News to balance you out.
  • 9:01 PM Scott Feschuk – good point. on fox, i think the role of joe biden will be played by a howler monkey.
  • 9:01 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Questions about Gewn Ifill.. you don’t say.
  • 9:02 PM Scott Feschuk – as one pundit said on cnn, if they disqualified everyone who was writing a book or giving speeches, the screen on most news channels would be blank
  • 9:02 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – 90 seconds to respond — and then 2 minutes for rebuttal..
  • 9:02 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Look, it’s Tina Fey!
  • 9:03 PM Scott Feschuk – sarah’s first words: “Can i call you joe?”
  • 9:03 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Yes. Can I have a hug?
  • 9:03 PM Scott Feschuk –
    i’m smitten!
  • 9:03 PM Scott Feschuk – Sure. FYI, that’s a flashlight in my pocket.
  • 9:04 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Worst of Washington or the best of Washington? Biden: It’s neither.
  • 9:04 PM Scott Feschuk – i think the squiggly line voter dialy thing on cnn is going to be more interesting tonite – it’s men v. women. right now women are hot for biden. men, not so much.
  • 9:04 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Biden: it’s all Bush’s fault.
  • 9:05 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Biden: we are fundamentally going to change the focus to the middle class.
  • 9:05 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Palin: go to a kid’s soccer game any Satturday.
  • 9:05 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – to see how the economy is doing.
  • 9:06 PM Scott Feschuk – Palin just used the verb “betcha.” she’s winning the “my grampa” demographic.
  • 9:07 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Palin: the barometer is going to be resounding.. John McCain wanted to reform Fannie and Freddie. His friends in the Senate didn’t.
  • 9:07 PM Scott Feschuk – palin is praising mccain for devoting the whole of last thursday to apparently solving the entire economic crisis, saving wall street and teaching dogs and cats to live together.
  • 9:07 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Biden is talking about himself. That’s not good… okay, back to McCain.
  • 9:08 PM Scott Feschuk – not that it really matters, but biden is SO calm. it’s kind of freaky.
  • 9:08 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Yes, but can he wink like Palin?
  • 9:08 PM Scott Feschuk – that wink was for me. SHE WAS WINKING AT ME!!
  • 9:09 PM Scott Feschuk – americans are craving something new and different, palin says. it’s either mccain-palin or diet vanilla cherry dr pepper.
  • 9:10 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Palin: 96% of Obama’s votes have been along party lines. … Americans are craving something new and different…
  • 9:10 PM Scott Feschuk – “darn right it was the predator lenders” who are to blame for the credit crisis, palin says. “there was deception there!” apparently voters can be as stupid as they want to be, which is a relief to any american who just bought a house they can’t afford or slept with charlie sheen.
  • 9:11 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Palin: Joe Six packs and hockey moms need to band together.. and quit charging so much to our credit cards. … She’s doing well here.
  • 9:12 PM Scott Feschuk – she sure is. the ohio voters doing the dialy thing on cnn loved her rant about how the lenders are to blame and americans themselves are innocent victims. ludicrous, but apparently savvy.
  • 9:12 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Biden: McCain was surprised that there was a subprime mortgage crisis. … He told WSJ he was always for deregulation… John on 20 different occasions in past year and a half called for more deregulation.
  • 9:13 PM Scott Feschuk – drink every time palin says “darn right.” unless you want to live til 10:30 p.m.
  • 9:13 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Palin: Darn right we need tax relief so jobs can we created here.
  • 9:13 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Palin: Obama supported tax increases on people making just 42,000 a year.
  • 9:14 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Biden: Absolutely not true. It was a budge procedural vote. McCain voted the same way. Notice that Palin did not respond on the issue of deregulation.
  • 9:14 PM Scott Feschuk – palin’s full of it, but no one cares. she is an effective cyborg political message delivery machine, i’ll give her that. plus – and i say it again – SHE WINKED EXCLUSIVELY AT ME!!
  • 9:14 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Palin: I may not answer the question the moderator or you want to hear.
  • 9:15 PM Scott Feschuk – Man, talk about a pre-planned line.
  • 9:15 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – I meant, “the way” you want to hear.
  • 9:16 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – I wonder if Ifill will ask them to define “middle class.”
  • 9:16 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Biden: No one making under $250K will see a penny of their taxes raised.
  • 9:16 PM Scott Feschuk – biden mostly stares at the moderator. palin exclusively stares into the camera, or turns on biden.
  • 9:17 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Biden: McCain wants to add 300 billion in new tax cuts to corpoorations and wwealthy.
  • 9:17 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Palin: you are forgetting millions of small businesses.
  • 9:18 PM Scott Feschuk – palin’s bangs are at this moment caught in her eyelashes, so they move every time she blinks. it takes a trained political observer like me to notice these things.
  • 9:19 PM Scott Feschuk – also, palin’s flag pin on her lapel is twice the size of biden’s flag pin. that means she’s twice as patriotic. plus i think it has rhinestones in it.
  • 9:19 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Palin: McCain is proposing $5K tax credit for families to buy their own health care … not like Obama’s universal, government-run plan… “health care being taken over by the Feds.”
  • 9:19 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Biden: I don’t know where to start…
  • 9:20 PM Scott Feschuk – i think that was the slogan of his presidential campaign
  • 9:20 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – 95% of small business owners in AMerica make under $2500 a year and they won’t see taxes increase.
  • 9:20 PM Scott Feschuk – ok, now joe is staring directly into the camera. looking right at me. but no winks. advantage: palin.
  • 9:22 PM Scott Feschuk – nothing pleases american voters more than the potential for not delivering on foreign aid pledges, as biden says now may happen on account of the bailout. the dials went through the roof.
  • 9:22 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Fox doesn’t have any dials.
  • 9:22 PM Scott Feschuk – or souls
  • 9:23 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Biden: $100 billion tax dodge — companies moving offshore. I call that unpatriotic.
  • 9:24 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Palin: accuses Obama of voting for energy bill that gives tax breaks to oil companies. Now she’s talking about taking on oil companies in Alaska. She’s doing really well here I bet.
  • 9:24 PM Scott Feschuk – this format stinks, compared to the presidential debate and especially compared to the french leaders debate last night. there is NO debate here. none at all. palin is just reciting talking points – we can even see her looking down to memorize her lines. she’s good at it, though.
  • 9:25 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Ifill: nothing you have promised that you would take off the table… I don’t be lieve John McCain has made any promise he won’t be able to keep.
  • 9:26 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Biden: Obama voted for energy bill to support alternativ e aenergy. When it came to a separate vote to take theem out, Obama voted yes, and McCain did not. Says Palin imposed a windfall profits tax on oil companies in Alaska, but McCain won’t support it. Says he hopes Palin can convince him to do what she did in Alaska.
  • 9:26 PM Scott Feschuk – biden is very effective in hammering on mccain’s determintation to give billions more to the oil companies. it’s been his strongest intervention so far.
  • 9:27 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – mortgage lenders “rear that head of abuse”. kind of like putin.
  • 9:27 PM Scott Feschuk – apparently, palin wants all americans to look back two years and thank john mccain for warning people about greed on wall street. i guess she wants them to thank him for mentioning it once and then forgetting about it, leading us to where we are today.
  • 9:28 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – yes, but Obama wrote a letter to the Treasury secretary two years ago..
  • 9:29 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – so let’s thank them all since they were so effective.
  • 9:29 PM Scott Feschuk – neither of them did jack
    squat. no one did jack squat. THAT’S WHY THEY’RE HAVING A BAILOUT!!
  • 9:29 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – I guess you can’t hear my sarcasm up there.
  • 9:30 PM Scott Feschuk – i was caught up being angry!
  • 9:31 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Energy issues. Climate change. Palin: Alaska feels and sees impacts of climate change. I am not one to attribute every activity of man to climate change… also cyclical changes in climate… I don’t want to argue about the causes.
  • 9:31 PM Scott Feschuk – i’m really enjoying palin’s answer on global warming. she doesn’t want to argue about the causes. oh, good thing this isn’t a debate then!
  • 9:32 PM Scott Feschuk – are you like me? do you get the sense that palin doesn’t know one fact more on any issue than what she’s recites in her scripted answer.
  • 9:33 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Biden: if you don’t understand the cause, you can’t come up with a solution.
  • 9:33 PM Scott Feschuk – i love that palin’s dials on cnn went through the roof when she said she didn’t want to talk about what causes global warming, and biden’s tanked when he said man causes global warming. joe: tell them you believe in unicorns! it’ll seal the deal.
  • 9:35 PM Scott Feschuk – palin corrected biden on the correct chant: it’s “drill baby drill.” i believe biden had said “drill drill drill now drill.” it’s hard to remember the lyrics to these things.
  • 9:35 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – She is delivering a set of pre-crafted answers. SShe is doing it pretty well. S She is also doing a good job of keeping it on one of the issues she knows well.
  • 9:36 PM Scott Feschuk – the real winner tonight is whichever republican operative ensured this debate would have no actual debatin’ in it.
  • 9:37 PM Scott Feschuk – biden supports benefits for same-sex couples. palin: not so much. it might lead to men marrying other men, which would make god cry (i’m paraphrasing)
  • 9:38 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Palin is “tolerant” of gay people, she notes.
  • 9:38 PM Scott Feschuk – i could have sworn some of her best friends were about to be gay
  • 9:39 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Biden: Neither Barack Obama nor I support redefining marriage.
  • 9:39 PM Scott Feschuk – we’re moving on to foreign policy. where’s russia again? i forget
  • 9:39 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Both have sons in Iraq or on the way there..
  • 9:40 PM Scott Feschuk – palin calls general petraeus a great american hero. i think we all know the only great american hero is william katt.
  • 9:40 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Biden: the other ticket opposed the surge, and even opposed funding for the troops. … Biden, I respected you when you called him out on that… his vote wa as political.
  • 9:41 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Palin: It would be a travesty if we quit now in Iraq.
  • 9:41 PM Scott Feschuk – You mean EYE-raq. it’s in the same general vicinity as EYE-taly.
  • 9:42 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Biden: Obama offered the same plan for a draw down as is being neogotiated between Maliki and Bush. ALso, notes that McCain voted the same way as Obama on the funding bill. … Biden: We will end this war. For John McCain, there is no end in sight.
  • 9:43 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Palin: Your plan is a white flag of surrender in IRaq. ( (I wonder how often she practiced that line.)
  • 9:43 PM Scott Feschuk – on one hand, it’s impressive that she can recite her scripted lines so well. on the other hand, so can the guy who plays victor newman on young and the restless.
  • 9:44 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Palin is on the offense now, and she’s doing well.
  • 9:44 PM Scott Feschuk – she is, but i bet she hopes this segment ends soon. i think she just ran out of “words.”
  • 9:45 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Biden is coming back strong now, refocusing on the decision to go to war in the first place.
  • 9:45 PM Scott Feschuk – although he just said he loves mccain. maybe that same-sex answer has new relevance.
  • 9:46 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – who is more dangerous: pakistan or iran?
  • 9:46 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – biden: not iraq.
  • 9:47 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – palin: both.
  • 9:47 PM Scott Feschuk – one observation on the CNN dials (undecided ohio voters): women seem quite fond of biden, and much less so of palin. that surprises me.
  • 9:47 PM Scott Feschuk – EYE-ran = bad, palin says
  • 9:48 PM Scott Feschuk – the castro brothers? are the jonas brothers already old news?
  • 9:50 PM Scott Feschuk – diplomacy is hard work by serious people, palin says. so i guess she could safely take that day off.
  • 9:51 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – She’s delivering the talking points forcefully. McCain has a passion for diplomacy, says Palin. Biden doesn’t buy it. This is a rehash of the Obama-McCain debate. We’re not learning anything new here.
  • 9:52 PM Scott Feschuk – i agree her delivery is good, luiza. but there’s something disconcerting about a person saying “we’ll never allow a second holocaust” while smiling.
  • 9:53 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Well, Biden recently gave an hour long talk in Florida on this subject. He used that phrase about every 30 seconds.
  • 9:53 PM Scott Feschuk – joe biden just referred to himself in the third person. my rules on this are clear – i;m a mccain man now
  • 9:54 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Biden is showing his depth of experience on foreign policy now. He is able to analyze the topic, not just recite. I give him points here.
  • 9:55 PM Scott Feschuk – Palin: “there have been huge blunders in the war.” <smile>
  • 9:55 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Palin: “I’m so encouraged to know that we both love Israel.” Also: “There have been huge blunders in this administration.”
  • 9:55 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Palin: “Change is comin'”
  • 9:56 PM Scott Feschuk – does it not bother you that she smiles when talking? maybe it’s fine. maybe it’s even appealing. i just find it weird. i’m not happy when i think about nuclear war or a holocaust.
  • 9:57 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Biden: How different is John McCain’s policy going to be any different than George Bush’s? (Earlier I had suggested drinking every time Biden uses Bush and McCain in the same breath. I would be on the floor.)
  • 9:57 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Smiling? It’s a little smug to me. As in, I’m hitting all my marks and I’m doing it well.
  • 9:58 PM Scott Feschuk – i went back, rewinded and took this down. “Nuclear weaponry of course would be the be all, end all of just too many people and too many parts of our planet.” so Palin’s against nuclear war on account of how it would blow stuff and people up. Glad we’re clear on that.
  • 9:59 PM Scott Feschuk – here’s my view so far: on individual answers (except the nuclear one) palin has been fine. but in sum, biden is schooling her on substance and authority.
  • 10:02 PM Scott Feschuk – i thin
    k biden just “admitted” he saved tens of thouands of lives in bosnia. generous of you to “admit” that, senator
  • 10:03 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – She is well prepared and great at talking through the TV screen. Biden has fluency.
  • 10:03 PM Scott Feschuk – palin: “oh man!”
  • 10:04 PM Scott Feschuk – americans are cravin’ that straight talk, palin says. also a banana split.
  • 10:04 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Palin: Oh man, it’s so clear I’m a Washington outsider… you voted for the war, and now you are against it…
  • 10:08 PM Scott Feschuk – john mccain “knows how to win a war” and “knows what evil is,” palin says. one thing he doesn’t know: how jessica fletcher solves all those murders.
  • 10:08 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Ifill: How would a Biden administration be different from an Obama administrtation? He says he’d carry out Obama’s policies.
  • 10:09 PM Scott Feschuk – i can’t stress this enough: for what it’s worth, the uncommitted ohio voters on cnn on just wild for… biden!
  • 10:10 PM Scott Feschuk – she winked again! she shouldn’t have winked again. it ruined the magic. there’s a reason fonzie only said “aaayyyyyyyy” once every week.
  • 10:10 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – I didn’t pick up on this, but others are pointing out she got the general’s name wrong: it’s McKiernan, not McClellan.
  • 10:10 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Scott, It’s actually a hard feat to talk about serious issues while smiling that much. I’ve tried it on TV and it’s hard.
  • 10:10 PM Scott Feschuk – you liberal elitists with your fancy-panted hangups about gettin’ names right!!
  • 10:11 PM Scott Feschuk – maybe she’s keeping those teeth together to keep the mccain handler that’s trapped inside her, pulling strings, from escaping.
  • 10:11 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – doggon’ it.
  • 10:12 PM Scott Feschuk – now she’s really pushing it.
  • 10:12 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – a shout out to third graders. too bad they don’t vote.
  • 10:13 PM Scott Feschuk – ok, three winks. i’m beginning to think she’s doing this by rote and is not interested in my sexually after all.
  • 10:15 PM Scott Feschuk – it’s a weird phenomenon when someone who is probably legitimately quite folksy can seem fake-folksy when she overdoes the folksiness angle, which is what palin is going tonite. she’s droppin’ a few too many g’s.
  • 10:15 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – I think Ifill’s questions are failing to elicit anything new here. Palin just repeated everything she said about the vice-presidency in her convention speech. Her questions are too open-ended, and without follow-ups they just allow each side to interpret the question as they wish.
  • 10:16 PM Scott Feschuk – that’s a good point. the questions are nowhere near specific or interesting enough. very bland. ifill’s a disappointment.
  • 10:17 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Palin thinks the vice presidency has “flexibility.”
  • 10:17 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – under the Constitution.
  • 10:17 PM Scott Feschuk – well, not EVERY vice-president has to shoot someone in the face. so there’s flexibility there.
  • 10:18 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Biden: the idea that the VP has authority in legislative branch was invented bby Cheney.
  • 10:19 PM Scott Feschuk – palin says she knows what people without health insurance are going through. she’s not going to help them get health insurance, but she knows precisely how much pain and turmoil they’re in. so americans have that going for them, which is nice.
  • 10:22 PM Scott Feschuk – did you know john mccain is a “maverick”? because palin just told me so for the 9,457th time.
  • 10:23 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – She’s hitting all the notes of defiance about the greatness and “exceptionalism” ” of America that you hear not just from Republicans but also undecided voters who tend to be blue-collar voters who think things like flag pins are actually quite important. I recently interviewed a bunch of them for the current print edition of Maclean’s in a story about Ohio. The people who I interviewed w will like that.
  • 10:23 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Biden teared up talking about the accident that claimed his wife . But he’s a guy, so it’s okay.
  • 10:24 PM Scott Feschuk – i guess the question is whether it will come across as sincere to them. the words are right but the tone seems off to me, and i’m not sure she has to cred to sell that message to undecided voters who aren’t automatic republicans.
  • 10:26 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – There are two moods in the country: people who are concerned that the US has lost respect in the world, who want to be loved; and those who feel a certain defiance in the face of criticism of America.
  • 10:28 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – A lot of the undecided voters I met in the swing area of Ohio are registered Democrats who are suffering economically, but are more in synch with Republicans on social conservatism and cultural issues in general. (including flag pins)
  • 10:29 PM Scott Feschuk – but isn’t the mood for change going to trump those conservative feelings in the end? when you look at the president in office, at the economy, at the war, it seems almost impossible that a republican could win this thing.
  • 10:30 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – The thing is that a lot of these voters are very uncomfortable with Obama. THey think he is a Muslim, a radical, etc. McCain was running one point above in Ohio until this week when the Wall Street mess finally put Obama over. I’ll be curious to see if it lasts.
  • 10:31 PM Scott Feschuk – palin says she likes answering questions without the “filter” of the mainstream media. that’s hilarious. so it was a filter that made her give those disastrous answers to katie couric. stupid filter caught all her smart words and only let the dumb ones through!
  • 10:31 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Where I was, Hillary Clinton won the primaries with 81% of the vote. If she went out there and campaigned for Obama, it would help him.
  • 10:32 PM Scott Feschuk – i’m sure she’ll get around to that once she finishes more important things, like chasing those jaybirds out of her backyard.
  • 10:33 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Well, Sarah Palin redeemed herself. Biden didn’t screw up.
  • 10:33 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Here come all the cute kids.
  • 10:34 PM Scott Feschuk – i’m less enthusiastic about her performance – no couric-class gaffes, for certain, but i really believe her fakeness began to grind on her appeal after awhile. biden was more than good enough.
  • 10:35 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – On Fox, Brit Hume is saying Palin “didn’t have the command” of the issues that Biden did, but she grew in confidence.
  • 10:36 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Mort Kondracke of Roll Call: “She was feisty and informal… forcefuul, knowledgeable, she had studied her brief and had it down…”
  • 10:36 PM Scott Feschuk – mort kondracke just wants her to touch him on the thigh.
  • 10:36 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Kondracke: “Nothing embarrassing.” You can hear the relief.
  • 10:37 PM Scott Feschuk – CNN: “no major gaffes, conservatives relieved, etc”
  • 10:37 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Bill Kristol: she utterly held her own.
  • 10:37 PM Scott Feschuk – of course – let’s remember: mccain’s campaign is in trouble. they probably needed more from her than “no major gaffes.”
  • 10:38 PM Scott Feschuk – kudos for biden for not correcting palin on getting the general’s name wrong.
  • 10:38 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – That was my point from the beginning. This would be a “victory” for Palin if she didn’t have a major disaster.
  • 10:38 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – I notice my inbox if full of several pages of “reality checks”” from both campaigns.
  • 10:39 PM Scott Feschuk – i think the whole thing will be forgotten about in 24 hours. also: david gergen liked palin, but says biden gave the best debate of his life
  • 10:40 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Fred Barnes, of the conservative Weekly Standard: she was actually winning the debate…
  • 10:41 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Another Fox commentator: “She did sound a little bit like she was delivering a bunch of little stump speeches.”
  • 10:42 PM Scott Feschuk – begala points out that biden did more damage in terms of hammering mccain, while palin focused on repairing her own image.
  • 10:43 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Now they are discussing how well she connects with average people.. But Kondracke just said Biden is more qualified to be president “by a long shot.” But she’s capable of learning.
  • 10:43 PM Scott Feschuk – so are dolphins
  • 10:43 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Brit Hume wants to say she’s hot… so first he sayss “she’s younger.” Then he finally says “she’s attractive.”
  • 10:44 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Almost everyone in the Fox News focus group says she won the debatee. “SHe was mainstream America.” SHe was “smart” and “fresh.” “”She really knew what she was talking about.”
  • 10:44 PM Scott Feschuk – i’m flipping over to the canadian debate now to see if there are any corpses strewn across the round table… it was fun doing this with you, luiza. i mean: doin’ this with y’all, doggone it.
  • 10:45 PM Scott Feschuk – Fox News: Fair and Balanced, except for the fair part. and the balanced part.
  • 10:47 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – Interestingly, even though most of the focus group thought Palin won, only 2 or 3 3 were persuaded to back the McCain ticket as a result. (These were undecided voters.)
  • 10:52 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – They will probably get a poll bump out of this, but we’ll see whether it lasts. The post-convention Sarah bounce didn’t last. No one votes on the vice-president, but the selection of Palin has been used to challenge McCain’s judgment — given that he is an elderly candidate in a time of war. So it does affect people’s evaluation of the top of the ticket.
  • 10:54 PM Luiza Ch. Savage – I’m going to sign off now as well. Enjoy the Canadian debates everyone.

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Filed under: liveblog – American VP Leadership Debate

  1. McCain has probably lost any chance he had at the presidency with his behaviour the past couple of weeks. He’s made Obama look statesman-like, which is some achievement.

    I would like to see Palin come out swinging tonight as a populist and in four years time, when Obama looks like another Jimmy Carter, she will have solid reputation for wanting to get rid of the pooh bahs.

    Go after Obama tonight and talk about his ties to William Ayers, Saul Alinksy, Tony Rezki and ACORN. Go after Obama, Biden, Dodd and Frank for being major players in Freddie/Fannie scandal, how they are up to their eyeballs in cash from those two orgs and how they continually protected the fraudulent companies from greater Congressional scrutiny.

    Free Sarah!

  2. I hope Luiza joins us soon, otherwise this will end up being Geography lesson with Professer Feschuk.

  3. Wait a minute, I thought Obama was a nobody from Chicago? How could he suddenly be a major player in the collapse of Freddie and Fannie?

    Or were you thinking of McCain’s campaign manager Rick Davis, who’s been on the Freddie payroll for a couple of years?

    And by all means, I agree with you: free Sarah! Let’s see how deep the extent of her stupidity is. I don’t think we’ve seen the bottom yet.

  4. Everyone – I’m passing a huge Hallmark card around for all us to sign. It says we’re really, really sorry. And it’s for Dan Quayle. For all the jokes about him being dumb and all. With the arrival of Palin, thinking you need to speak Latin to converse with folks in Latin America seems a like Rhodes scholar grasp of foreign lands.

    (I sure do remember Bad Idea Jeans. “My affair ended a few years ago, but I still I’m going to tell my wife about it..” Bad Idea.)

  5. that should read “..but I’m still going to…” Too much Dristan in my system makes posting a bad idea…

  6. Sean S and Maya

    Please explain why Palin is dumb but yet you have no opinions on Biden and his thoughts:

    “When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, ‘Look, here’s what happened”

    ““My impression is [Obama] thinks that if we leave, somehow the Iraqis are going to have an epiphany” of peaceful coexistence among warring sects. “I’ve seen zero evidence of that.”

    “Seems to me this would be a good time to send, no strings attached, a check for $200 million to Iran”

    If those quotes don’t scream we are in the presence of a genius, I don’t know what does.

  7. “But, look, I understand this day and age “gotcha” journalism. Is that a pizza place?”

    Speaking of genius, that line is super weird.

  8. Blues Clair

    McCain is a clown and there are lots more weird quotes from him as well. I kinda hope McCain loses this election and Palin returns in four years to rid the U.S. of the marxist rabble rouser.

    I also forgot to add that I would go after Ifill as well if I was Palin. Point out how Gwen has financial interest in making Palin look bad during the debate in order to achieve Obama presidency.

    Free Palin!

  9. You’re a dreamer jwl. That’s what I like about you.

  10. Finally, we’ll get to see just how witty this Feschuk character is in real time.

  11. The gauntlet has been thrown, Feschuk.

  12. jwl, you need to explore the difference between misspeaking and not knowing what the hell you’re talking about.

    Is Biden gaffe-prone? Sure, to an extent, but he’s also able to articulate his points of view, and able to draw on vast amounts of knowledge in order to back his views, whether you agree with them or not.

    Palin can’t name the papers she reads (assuming she reads any). She can’t name a Supreme Court case apart from Roe v. Wade. She couldn’t give one example of McCain fighting for more regulation (not that there are many, who can blame her). She can’t discuss foreign affairs in any meaningful way.

    The best strategy for Biden tonight is to make sure he’s not hot-doggin it, and just let Palin be Palin – like the Repubs say. Let’s see how far she can stray from her talking points.

    And really – the attempt to impugn a person as principled and respected as Gwen Ifill is beneath even the lowliest GOP scum. At a minimum, McCain could have thought of this back when the moderator was being agreed upon. Why not just come out and say what all the rightists are really thinking: She’s black so she’s in the tank for Obama, to borrow an overused Fox News phrase.

  13. “you need to explore the difference between misspeaking and not knowing what the hell you’re talking about”


    Back at you. Biden’s quotes about FDR/TV and Iran/$200m clearly fall into the ‘doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about’ category. Though Biden was talking sense about Obama/Iraq, I grant you that.

    It’s a shame you can’t see past a person’s skin colour. Ifill has a book coming out on inauguration day called Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. Do you think that will be the best seller that many are predicting if McCain wins election? Ifill clearly has a financial stake in who wins the debate, who wins the election.

    I am off to watch the debates.

    Free Palin!

    Free Harper, or at least give him some caffeine so he doesn’t come across as comatose as he did last night!

  14. jwl, can’t you let a boy have his fun? :)

    Here’s the deal, Biden has said some dumb stuff, you’ll get no argument from me here. But he’s also said a lot of smart things, or at least non-dumb things, in his life. He’s well regarded by his peers for his knowledge of foreign affairs. Some of those quotes you referenced have to do with his opinions being at odds with Obama. Weird, yes. Evidence of dumbness, no.

    As for Palin, you wanna dig up some quotes of smart stuff that she’s said? Did you see the clip where she says she reads “all” the papers and magazines, yet can’t name a single bloody one? Did you hear her explain how being next door to Russia is the foundation of knowledge in international affairs? Did you hear the reporter giving her every last chance to say something, anything, more articulate and developed than a houseplant? There is no way on earth to polish those turds and spin them as anything but evidence of a very stupid person.

    You want me to put it bluntly? Palin is dumb as a f**king stump to me, until she provides evidence to the contrary. Biden has provided such evidence, so I don’t think he’s dumb as a f**king stump.

  15. To Luiza/Sarah’s point…I would rather be Palin before the debate, much upside….and I would know how to fillet a moose as well… remains to be seen if I would still want to be Palin after the debate.

    Should she pull another SNL like moment then she may make history by getting replaced, or being the person John McCain uses to demonstarte what happened to him in the Hanoi Hilton.

  16. Wow.. the Fox analysts thought Palin won, Luiza? Who could have predicted that? ;)

    For what its worth, th CNN focus group shows a 2-to-1 win for Biden.

  17. Thanks for the liveblog, interesting perspective Luiza. I am curious to see if Palin and the Reagan Dems can bond or will they go with Obama.

    Feschuk seems to start out with some flirting with Palin, someone has a crash on the Alaskan apparently, but around the 25 minute mark she spurned his advances and Scott became angry and condescending for the rest of the evening.

    (Uncommitted Voters who watched the debate)

    46% of uncommitted voters who watched the debate tonight thought Joe Biden was the winner. 21% thought Sarah Palin won, 33% thought it was a draw…

  19. Glad to see so many tuned into the Canadian debate. Biden is bloody brilliant. Palin literally cannot complete a logical argument. I can’t believe journalists don’t call her out on this. If a fifth grader went on television and said what she says, would CNN still say “she met the bar and even exceeded it?” American politics, what a beauty.

  20. Republican victory: Palin did better than a drunk, retarded monkey.

  21. lol maya!

    Good to see most Americans are smarter or more honest than most journalists, at least if these instant polls are to be believed.

  22. My favorite moment was when Palin talked about the rape of the intercontinental shelf.

    I think Biden should have asked her if she’d make the intercontinental shelf pay for the rape kit.

  23. Jeez you guys type fast.

  24. Sarah was great. And it’s just not true that she had a “plug-in” in her ear to be guided by my campaign team. I don’t know even how such things work. It’s just the usual slander of losing Dems.
    We will be president anyway.

  25. Well , you guys must be the presidents of the do nothing club. Its clear she did not win this debate . And now that she is almost out the door. I think you ladies need a job…….