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):10:14 - Bingo on "Special Needs"! Sean wins!
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.
10:16 - 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.