Vice Presidential Debate -- In Case You Missed It

The following comments were recorded as I watched the Vice Presidential debate live on Fox News. My comments on the debate as a whole follow at the end.

  • Governor Palin asked Senator Biden, “Can I call you Joe?” He said she could, but then always referred to her as “Governor.” Interestingly enough, every time he mentioned Senator McCain, he, like Obama, used the familiar “John.” Have these Democrats no respect whatsoever?
  • Gwen Ifill cut Governor Palin off in the middle of her response to a comment from Biden, saying “We’re out of time on this one.” Cut her off in mid-sentence. Clearly she has to keep control of the proceedings, but to cut her off in mid-sentence? It’ll be interesting to see if she does the same to Biden at any point.
  • Governor Palin refers to “Barack” on taxes. And, if I’m not mistaken, it sounded clearly like she was trying to make a statement by using his first name. Defending her running mate, for example, by showing that two can play the name game.
  • Senator Biden, of course, sneaks in the “Bridge to Nowhere” tag that he has made his rally cry of late. If this were a drinking game, my bet is that “Bridge to Nowhere” would be the drinking cue.
  • Having been told at the opening of the debate that she could call him “Joe,” Governor Palin takes her cue from being referred to as “Governor” and opts not to use Biden’s first name, but rather refers to him as “Senator Biden.” Showing Biden the respect he shows her while showing Obama the lack of respect that he showed Senator McCain.
  • “How long have I been at this, what, five weeks?” Governor Palin refers to her own lack of tenure in the campaign in responding to Ifill’s question about what programs they might cut to pay for the economic bailout bill. By throwing in her supposed “lack of experience” before Biden could, she takes that issue off the table.
  • Biden refers to investing in “clean coal,” while earlier in the campaign he said “no coal in America.” Suddenly he’s in favor of every alternative energy source (except for Drill Here, Drill Now). Ifill called Biden on his support of such initiatives, saying he hasn’t always been in support, and he said that he has. Somehow, I doubt that Ifill would call him on it if she wasn’t sure what she was talking about.
  • Ifill did indeed cut Biden off in the middle of an answer based on time restrictions.
  • An Obama / Biden administration would have no differentiation between heterosexual and homosexual couples. He says, “That’s what the Constitution calls for.” I wonder how long it’s been since he read the Constitution. Governor Palin says she would not support same sex unions if it goes in any way toward the redefinition of marriage. She says a McCain / Palin administration would not prevent things like hospital visitation and things of that nature, but that they clearly don’t support gay marriage. Biden then claims that he and Obama do not support “redefining marriage from a civil side.”
  • Governor Palin refers to the surge and counter-insurgency measures in Iraq as a part of the plan to eventually withdraw troops from Iraq. She points out that Obama voted against funding for troops after saying that he wouldn’t, then said, “Senator Biden, I respected you when you called him out on that. You said it was a political move…” Biden comes back and says “I didn’t hear a plan.” He calls Senator McCain the only odd man out on the plan to withdraw troops from Iraq. “We will end this war.” Governor Palin charges, “Your plan is a white flag of surrender in Iraq.” She also refers to Biden saying Obama wasn’t ready to be Commander-In-Chief. Biden chuckles, then charges that Senator McCain voted against funding the troops. He points out that McCain said he voted against the bill because it included a timeline for withdrawal. Of course he voted against a timeline, but that’s what he voted against, not the funding.
  • Biden cannot say which is a greater threat, a nuclear Iran or an unstable Pakistan. His answer seems to say that Pakistan is more of a threat because they “already have nuclear weapons” and “Iran is nowhere near having a nuclear weapon.” Biden says if an attack comes on the homeland it will come from Al Qaeda planning in the hills of Pakistan. Governor Palin comes back with General Petraeus’ comments about the danger of a nuclear Iran, citing that he is there, in the region, and certainly knows better than Biden. She goes on to discuss the instability in Ahmadinijad’s own mind. Biden claims that Obama “did not say he would sit down with Ahmadinijad.”
  • Governor Palin says a two-state solution (Israel and Palestine) is the solution in the Middle East. She goes on to say that we must make it clear that we will not let our allies (Israel) face attack from other nations. Biden comes back, “No one in the United States Senate has been a better friend to Israel than Joe Biden.”
  • Governor Palin says, “for a ticket that talks about change, there’s too much finger pointing into the past.” Biden replies, “Past is prologue.”
  • On the use of nuclear weapons: Governor Palin says dangerous regimes cannot be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. Our nuclear weapons are used as a deterrent, which is a safe use for nuclear weapons. Biden said Senator McCain voted against a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty. He says the first thing Obama did in the Senate was reach across the aisle to Senator Lugar. Again, the Obama campaign drops the only bipartisan name he can drop, even though Senator Lugar has clearly stated that he never endorsed Obama.
  • Biden says he and Obama have constantly been calling for more money and more troops in Afghanistan. So, my question is, we want to end the war in Iraq and escalate it in Afghanistan? I can live with that, if we can end the war in Iraq with victory, but how can Obama / Biden talk about peace and bringing the troops home if they just want to redeploy them to Afghanistan.
  • Governor Palin accuses Obama / Biden of being for the war before they were against it, and says “Americans are craving for straight talk. If you were for the war, just say you were for the war.”
  • Biden says we should draw the line on going into Darfur when we don’t have the resources. He says he never supported Senator McCain’s strategy on the war. Apparently, Biden knew everything that would happen before it happened, and actually predicted it all in advance of the war with 100% accuracy. Governor Palin replies, “Tomorrow morning the pundits will say who said what at what time and we’ll know more about this.” Touche!
  • When asked about how a Biden administration would be different from an Obama administration if as VP he had to ascend to the Presidency, Biden said “God forbid if that were to happen, it would be a tragedy of catastrophic proportions.” I wonder if he was referring to the rhetorical death of Obama, or to the resulting Presidency of Biden. He then went on to say that he would continue Obama’s policies. Governor Palin, responding to the same question, referred to the fact that they are both Mavericks and don’t agree on anything. She said that she would then pursue drilling in ANWR, which Senator McCain is opposed to. Good answer from the Governor, no answer from Biden.
  • In response to more comparison between Obama / Biden and President Bush, Governor Palin says, “Say it ain’t so, Joe. There you go pointing your finger back to the Bush administration again.”
  • As VP Palin would lead energy independence in America, working with children of special needs. As VP Biden would be to tell Obama when he disagrees with him. Biden says VP Cheney has been the most dangerous Vice President we’ve had in the history of America.
  • Biden says that he is much better off than most Americans now. He then referred to his son in the military and “not knowing if he’s going to make it,” then choked up a bit. Or, pretended to. Don’t know if it was genuine or not, but my wife is a pretty good judge of such things, and she laughed at his dramatic moment.
  • Governor Palin refers to the fact that not much was accomplished in either the current Democrat led Congress or the past Republican led Congress. Biden says that McCain has not been a Maverick on many things, including the war. Really? As virtually the only Senator to speak out in favor of the surge, and still supporting victory in Iraq, there is no other accurate way to describe Senator McCain than “Maverick.”
  • After earlier saying he hasn’t changed in 35 years in the Senate, Biden now talks about how he has changed by compromising. Governor Palin responds to say that they got things done in Alaska by not worrying about who got the credit.
  • Biden claims to have been a great bi-partisan leader and reaching across the aisle. He says he has never questioned the motives of another Senator, and that’s why he has the respect he has in the Senate. Governor Palin comes back to talk about how she appointed people in Alaska regardless of their party affiliation. She says you have to walk the walk not just talk the talk.
  • Closing statement from Governor Palin: “I want to assure you, John McCain and I are going to fight for America. We’re going to fight for the middle class families like mine. We also have to fight for our freedom.” She quoted Ronald Reagan saying “We are just one generation away from extinction.” She says “there is only one man in this race who has every really fought for you, and that’s Senator John McCain.”
  • Closing statement from Senator Biden: talks again about the neighborhood he grew up in. So tired of hearing about Scranton, or Wilmington, or whereever it is politically convenient for him to be from at any given moment. “It is time for American to get up together. … Barack Obama is ready to be the next President of the United States of America.”

It seemed that in most cases, Ifill let Biden have both the first and last word. She started most every question by allowing Biden to answer first, then allowing Governor Palin to respond, then allowing Biden to respond to the Governor’s response. Clearly, Biden recieved more mic time than Governor Palin, and was given the opportunity to make both a first and last impression on almost every question, while Governor Palin’s answers were allowed to be lost somewhere in between.

I would sure like to see the Obama / Biden campaign quit running against the Presidency of George W. Bush and start running against the Republican nominee and his running mate. It seems that every time the going gets tough, Obama / Biden start comparing themselves to President Bush.

Both candidates dropped the name of President Reagan during the debate.

Ifill gave Governor Palin the chance to make the first closing statement, which of course gives Biden the last word again. No surprise there.

Governor Palin delivered a very powerful closing statement, while Biden spouted more of the same rhetoric we’ve heard over and over and over.

My take? The McCain campaign clearly took the cuffs off Governor Palin and let her do her thing tonight, and she was very prepared to address the issues. She seemed very comfortable and confident and, in fact, at times took control of the debate away from the Moderator in order to address comments made by Biden.

In contrast, Biden seemed to be Obama’s yes-man. Nearly every comment he made was either an attack against Senator McCain, an attack against President Bush, or praise for Barack Obama. Of course, he is expected to support his running mate, but it would have been nice to see Joe Biden out there, not Obama’s yes-man.

Flipping through the channels to see what the media is saying, it seems that the majority of them have been saying Governor Palin did quite well. They referred to her as “Main Street, not Wall Street.”

Just as last week when Senator McCain kept his cool and delivered a commanding performance while Obama interrupted, stammered, and got hot under the collar, Governor Palin was professional, cool, calm, and in control of the situation while Biden smirked, smiled, and chuckled. And just as last week when the media tried to call Obama the winner while McCain was the clear winner, I won’t be surprised if the media tries to give this one to Biden when Governor Palin was the victor.

Your comments?


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