Monday, September 29, 2008

Some Debate Notes on Palin and Biden

I really liked this AP piece written by Calvin Woodward and Matt Volz. It’s funny, unsettling and perhaps even a harbinger of things to come in the VP debate:

Sarah Palin brought something more effective than facts and figures to an agriculture debate in the Alaska governor's race. She packed an engaging disposition. One of her opponents, Andrew Halcro, had memorized the complexities of the subject beforehand. He was super prepared. He might as well have stared out the window during the proceedings, for all it mattered.

"She did such a great job with just the glittering generalities and filling the room with her presence that people didn't care what she said about agriculture," Halcro says now. "Palin's a master at spending 45 seconds telling you what color the sky is," he adds, "and people will say, 'That's the greatest thing I ever heard.'"

Palin and her Democratic vice presidential rival, Joe Biden, each bring distinctive qualities and vulnerabilities to the campaign's only running-mate debate, Thursday in St. Louis. It's a potential gold mine and minefield for both.

She had a way of disarming opponents that made up for her lack of experience. Biden knows something about that, too. Biden is a loquacious man of charm and
detail with an agile yet unpredictable mind. He can bring the house down with a

"I probably had better political instincts then than I have now," Biden writes in his recent memoirs."Today I'd probably win the point but lose the match because I'd be too busy ripping someone's head off with the facts."


Palin hit some potholes in the blur of debates. Asked to name a good bill and a bad bill that the Alaska Legislature had passed that year, the small-town mayor drew a blank.

In one debate, she proposed teaching creationism alongside evolution in schools: "Teach both." The next day, she backtracked.Asked what she would do about rising dropout rates, she blandly offered: "We need to get kids excited about being in schools." Rivals rattled off specific programs they'd expand.

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