Thursday, October 02, 2008

Live Blogging the VP Debate

12:50 - Tune in tonight as VTK live blogs the most anticipated VP debate in decades.

6:00 - 3 hours til showtime. I'm warming up the oil and getting the popcorn kernels out for pregame. This is like Superbowl Sunday. Several of my friends around the country have told me they're throwing or attending debate parties. lc in DC is serving milk (with kahlua (sp?)) and cookies and playing Palin Bingo. It turns out that her beverage choice is a partisan one: milk is the official state beverage of Joe Biden's Delaware. I suggested that she balance things out by also serving the state beverage of Alaska: moose blood. Speaking of "the horror", here's Talking Points Memo's greatest hits of the recent interviews with the woman who actuarial tables say would have a 1 in 6.5 chance of becoming president if 72 year old McCain wins (1 in 3 over 2 terms):

"so committed". We should be so lucky.

And for your further pre-debate entertainment, check out some "hot pics" from Biden's debate camp with Jennifer Granholm, where he's learning not to make girls cry. That's Jennifer Granholm, governor of Michigan, where McCain decided to concede the state today (wow).

7:00 - 120 minutes until kickoff. Let the fumbling begin. For your 8 PM EST pregame viewing pleasure, I recommend either PBS's "Debating Our Destiny II" (in which Jim Lehrer will be interviewing past and present candidates about their debate performances), the reruns of yesterday's Daily Show and Colbert Report on Comedy Central, or MyTV's highlights of Wrestlemania XXIV, featuring Triple H, Undertaker, Ric Flair, Floyd Mayweather Jr., and Snoop Dogg.

8:55 - 5 minutes! 5 minutes! What's going to happen? Could be anything. Probably the scariest possibility is that it will be boring. That would be quite a disappointment, considering the candidates involved. Ultimately, something really major, a really major gaffe, would have to happen to have a significant effect on the race. My prediction is that Palin comes off much better than she has in the Gibson and Couric interviews. And that it doesn't matter.

8:59 - I'm looking at the set right now. No table. I thought there was going to be a table. 30 seconds...

9:02 - "The audience has promised to be polite" what? Here they come.

9:04 - Very cordial. "can I call you Joe?", she asks. People will like that. Not that significant though. I'm nitpicking.

9:08 - hold serve. hold serve.

9:10 - Sean and Becky are playing Palin Bingo right now and I hear lots of X's already.

9:12 - She's doing well. Drat. The staring into the camera is getting a little creepy though. Joe's staying on message. Even keel, Joe, even keel.

9:15 - Her voice is shaky. I am nitpicking again? She's nervous, but people will probably identify with that. Be careful not to pick on the nervous girl, Joe.

9:18 - "health care taken over by the feds"?, says Sarah. the "feds"? is this how "small town" folks talk?

9:20 - "I call that the ultimate Bridge to Nowhere". Nice shot, Joe. Bait bait bait. He's spraying numbers right now. Will she be able to respond to them specifically?

9:24 - Sean needs 2 more for a bingo, in three rows. Becky needs 3.

9:27 - ooh, another "rear the head" reference from Palin. Who was rearing and where? What? Was it in our airspace? This debate is really fast paced. Both are doing well. Not much drama.
postscript - Palin: "We need to look back, even two years ago, and we need to be appreciative of John McCain's call for reform with Fannie Mae, with Freddie Mac, with the mortgage-lenders, too, who were starting to really kind of rear that head of abuse."
9:29 - Palin back to "Energy". Surprise surprise. "East coast politicians" are the enemy? I think Hawaii is farther away from the East Coast than Alaska and Arizona. Perhaps their governor is the most qualified to run the world.

9:38 - Am I the only one surprised and confused by their answers to the gay rights gay marriage questions?

9:47 - Sean points out: she keeps saying "nuculer". She's obviously speaking to people who say "nuculer" not "nuclear". So much for trying to convince people she's smart.

9:52 - Still fast paced. This is not the farce I expected.

9:55 - Joe's getting angry. Settle down, Joe. Settle down.

9:58 - Joe's starting to get a little condescending. "let me say it again" twice in the last minute. Annunciating slowly. settle down, Joe. Was that a sigh? I think I just heard a sigh. Joe's fuming right now. Playing into her hands, Joe. This is how they get you.

10:01 - smug, Joe. Not good. Nobody likes a smug hot-head. He's practically yelling now.

10:06 - or people are going to identify with his anger. what do I know.

10:09 - Gwen brings up the Heartbeat Away question. oooh. She phrased it as a question about "A Biden Administration" but we know what this is about. Palin "Whattaya expect from a team full of mavericks? We're a team full of mavericks!" Insanity. "Gov't, just get out of my way" You mean like on Wall Street?

10:13 - "say it ain't so, Joe, there you go again", and "aw, doggone it", in 10 seconds. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? She is so full of shit. She's like a trained seal with her talking points and the lingo. Except seals can't talk. And maybe she shouldn't either.
postscript - (it's tough to transcript this stuff on the fly):
PALIN: Say it ain't so, Joe, there you go again pointing backwards again. You preferenced your whole comment with the Bush administration. Now doggone it, let's look ahead and tell Americans what we have to plan to do for them in the future. You mentioned education and I'm glad you did. I know education you are passionate about with your wife being a teacher for 30 years, and god bless her. Her reward is in heaven, right? I say, too, with education, America needs to be putting a lot more focus on that and our schools have got to be really ramped up in terms of the funding that they are deserving. Teachers needed to be paid more. I come from a house full of school teachers. My grandma was, my dad who is in the audience today, he's a schoolteacher, had been for many years. My brother, who I think is the best schoolteacher in the year, and here's a shout-out to all those third graders at Gladys Wood Elementary School, you get extra credit for watching the debate.
10:14 - Bingo on "Special Needs"! Sean wins!

10:16 - is it crass or sexist of me to recognize that she keeps saying that John McCain "tapped" her? It's not just her. Katie Couric said it. Should we be using that word? I'm sorry, but it's such a sexual reference ("tap that ass").

10:18 - she just said it again. Maybe I'm being a little overly Freudian here, but part of the whole point of her selection is to add some virility to McOldie.

10:22 - powerful powerful "I understand what it's like to raise two kids as a single parent" line (or something like that) from Biden, followed by him collecting himself for a second. change in tone in the debate.

10:23 - and Palin misses it. right back to the talking points with the smug smile.

cold, Sarah. cold.

10:26 - here's the [experience] difference folks: [fighting] the confirmation of Bork vs. [dealing with] the budget of a 5000 person town. There's your experience difference.

10:29 - Palin's closing statement - she mentions how much she enjoys this and prefers it to the "filter" of the mainstream media. classic. trying to erase the interviews with Gibson and Couric. Not going to work. Overly dramatic ending by her. will it play in Peoria? dunno. Indiana's a swing state. She didn't bomb tonight.

10:32 - Biden's closing statement - standard. good. He didn't fuck up. Got a little heated there for a bit, but pulled it back together.

End of debate. Let the punditry and spin begin!

Post-debate analysis: I thought it was an interesting debate, but not in that crazy circus way that was definitely possible. Ultimately, it was a wash, which might be considered a "win" for Palin. But Ultimately Part Two, it doesn't matter that much - it's a VP debate. I think she stopped the hemorrhaging, but not all the bleeding. She's less of a problem for McCain now (ie less than a huge problem), but I'm not sure she helped him at all. She appealed to the people who already like her, the conservative base, but I don't know how many independents show won over (or back). A lot of "darn right", "you betcha", "I'm not from Washington", etc. It's going to play with some people for sure. We'll see.

This was a good line from Biden: "I haven't heard anything yet. I haven't heard ... It may be. But so far, his policies are the same as George Bush's." He also did well with the pushback on the
maverick label.

And what about Palin's suggestion that the Vice President should have more power? Constitution gave her extra power? Is this a talking point, a mutilated talking point, or her brazen power hunger? (has she even read the Constitution?) Is it not clear how the only aim of this person is power?

here's the quote (and see video below):
I'm thankful the Constitution would allow a bit more authority given to the vice president if that vice president so chose to exert it in working with the Senate and making sure that we are supportive of the president's policies and making sure too that our president understands what our strengths are.

Howard Fineman: Sarah Palin was "a wolverine attacking the pant leg of a passer-by" (wasn't meant as a compliment, but aren't wolverines bad asses? or am I just a U of Michigan fan? I guess a human could just kick a wolverine away if it came down to it) "but she in no way distanced her ticket from the Bush Administration, which was the Biden goal ... a rapid pace, a frantic pace, but she didn't defend or distance her ticket from Bush"

Interesting analysis from right-of-center Harvard professor David Gergen.

cbs poll: (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… 98% after the debate saw [Biden] as knowledgeable (79% before the debate).

cnn poll: A national poll of people who watched the vice presidential debate suggests that Democratic Sen. Joe Biden won but also hints that Republican Gov. Sarah Palin exceeded expectations ... 51% of those polled thought Biden did the best job in Thursday night's debate, while 36% thought Palin did the best job ... But respondents said the folksy Palin was more likable, scoring 54% to Biden's 36% ... But on the question of the candidates' qualifications to assume the presidency, 87% of the people polled said Biden is qualified while only 42% said Palin is qualified.

It was, as billed, an interesting debate.


Michael5000 said...

Right on! This sounds much more palatible than actually watching it myself.

Dan said...

oh, you've gotta watch it, m5k. it's going to be high comedy.

Michael5000 said...

9:52 -- Damn. I was hoping for a farce.

Watch it? No way, man -- it's a football night.

The Practical Slacker said...

Nuclear, nuclear, nuclear.

How do you think Palin's mention of Biden's dead wife compares with Edward's mention of Cheney's lesbian daughter?

The Outrage. The Horror. The Nucular Hahh-ruhr.

The Practical Slacker said...

And, yes, I just Bingoed in Palin Bingo. I won with "Alaska," the "Air Space," "Hockey Mom," "Terrorists," and "Special Needs" for the win.

Dan said...

Nice, dude. High five.

We just high fived.

She just said she was "tapped" again.

Michael5000 said...

See, this was much better than it would have been unfiltered. Thanks for this valuable service.

Dan said...

thanks, m5k. I think you and Sean were the only ones following it. Glad you enjoyed it.

More analysis to come.

Mason said...


I think Biden had a woody during the entire debate I think it took him off his game.

Sorry for my sexist comments but if Mcain expects us to put up with the "Mayberry RFD" running mate at least he picked a looker!



Dan your the real deal super cambridge liberal ,keep up the good work!

lc said...

Not too nitpicky, VTK. The admittedly (you admitted it) partisan folks at my house thought she did a terrible job but maybe that's because we're accustomed to girls being eloquent and well informed as a matter of course not to mention when they are part of a national ticket. But good analysis.

As an arbiter of pop cultural zeitgeist can you tell me: what was up with all the pundits talking about their "shout outs" (to the Bush admin, to each other, etc.)? Did someone holla at they boy at some point and i missed it? And how is it different than "name dropping"?

Dan said...

Don't be racist, lc.

lc said...

can one "name drop it like it's hot"? These are serious questions. Wait, no they're not.

Dan said...

Now you're being sexist.

Dewy24 said...

I was thoroughly bored throughout the debate until Palin couldn't stop saying "tapped into". I found 8 different variations:

But it wasn't just that experience tapped into, it was my connection to the heartland of America.

…domestic supplies of energy to be tapped into and start flowing into these very, very hungry markets.

…those domestic sources of energy to be tapped into.

…the alternative fuels will be tapped into: the nuclear, the clean coal.

John McCain has already tapped me and said, that's where I want you…

And East Coast politicians who don't allow energy-producing states like Alaska to produce these, to tap into them, and instead we're relying on foreign countries to produce for us.

…tapping into alternative sources of energy and conserving fuel…

And we will do what is best for the American people in tapping into that position and ushering in an agenda that is supportive and cooperative with the president's agenda in that position.

Dan said...

It's weird, right? It's definitely intentional. They're trying to keep people thinking about oil and energy. and sex.

marshall said...

Tapping? At a time like this, we must quote Edgar Allen Poe:

"Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,/
`Sir,' said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;/But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,/
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,/
That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door; -/Darkness there, and nothing more."

As for a third straight Republican administration?

"Quoth the raven, nevermore"

Dan said...

Knock on wood.

Mason said...

Marshall said,

"we must quote Edgar Allen Poe"


We all know she's hot physco hose beast but qouting E.A.P

Thats like using a sledge hammer to kill a fly.

Sorry Marshall but put down the Yankee Magazine and turn off NPR and I promise we will open up many bottles of Verve Clique when Obama wins the white house.

Knock On Wood....


Dan said...

Where are you from, Mason? What's your story? "Hot psycho [i assume] hose beast"?