We are waiting for the debate to start. Tonight’s debate will be between the VP candidates, Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) and Senator Joe Biden (D-DE), and will be starting in about 1 minute. It’ll be moderated by Gwen Ifill, from PBS.
OK – now we’re about to start.
Ifill: Talking about the Senate bill. “Was this the worst of Washington, or the best of Washington?”
Biden: Neither. The economic policies of the last 8 years were the worst part. Obama laid out rescue plan: Oversight, “focus on homeowners and folks on mainstreet, treat taxpayers like investors, and lastly, make sure CEOs don’t benefit.” “We will fundamentally change the … economic policy.”
Palin: “Our economy is hurting, and the government has not provided the sound oversight that we need and deserve.” Women undecided voters in Ohio (the group they’re surveyin is Undecideds in Ohio) arereally liking her, now she’s mentioning McCain, and she’s dropped a bit – talking about his policy will accomplish what we need.
Biden: Talking about McCain saying “the fundamentals of the economy are strong” – well he was talking about the PRINCIPLES of CAPITALISM and the American workers, not the details of our current economy! Women, liking Biden more than men, a trend that seems to carry no matter who’s talking.
Palin: Basically correcting Biden’s statement about McCain, saying what I said. Americans are craving reform. Men had liked her more, then women climbed back on top.
Ifill: Subprime lending meltdown. Who was at fault? Lenders or buyers?
Palin: “Darn right it was the … lenders.” And the women are as HIGH as they can go on the chart – wow. Talking about not living outside of our means, that we do need to take responsibility – and both categories are as high as they can go. Basically saying that this isn’t the people’s fault, but that we can learn a lesson from it, and take steps to insure that we don’t live above our means.
Biden: Saying McCain let Wall Street run wild. That his stances for deregulation were bad, and Wall Street can’t regulate itself. Well, it can and should, Mr. Biden. Saying that McCain wants to deregulate the health care industry. I got interrupted there – lost what Biden said. I did notice the chart, women liking him more than men, but not as high as Palin.
Palin: OK, I’m back – something about tax reduction and letting private sector keep more of what we produce. We need tax relief. Undecided Ohio voters are loving her.
Biden: Palin lied: Obama didn’t raise taxes. Saying that Palin didn’t answer the question about deregulation. Saying that McCain DID pursue deregulation.
Palin: Wants to correct Biden’s misstatements on taxes first. Now talking about what she did in Alaska for taxes. Now on to talking about McCain pushing for more regulations: citing tobacco and campaign finances.
Ifill: Time is up. Next question: Tax benefits on health care.
Biden: “The middle class is struggling.” He’s right – middle class families are struggling, and the voters understand this and are agreeing with him. He’s hitting it home here, and the focus group is liking it, women more than men. Saying that Obama will cut taxes for people under $200,000. Talking about McCain wanting to raise taxes, but as soon as he went negative, his ratings went down, now back up. But Biden did hit it home to the average Joe voters – it was good for Obama.
Palin: Talking about Biden saying that paying higher taxes is patriotic, and that she disagrees, coming from the middle class. Saying that private sector and families should grow, thrive, and prosper. Talking about Obama’s spending being “the backwards way in growing the economy.” Talking about McCain’s health care plan: $5,000 tax credit – “that’s budget neutral,” unlike Obama’s plan which will cost the government money. Her ratings aren’t doing too well right now. Saying that McCain will promote crossing state lines to purchase plans – and that’ll increase competition.
Biden: Talking about not redistributing money to big businesses. Talking about health care – he’s kinda stuttering and bumbling around during this part. He’s talking about health care, specifically McCain taxing health care benefits, which will have money going to insurance companies. Having to replace a $12,000 plan with $5,000 because 20 million people will be dropped. “The ultimate bridge to nowhere.” Good quote – the focus group didn’t like it, but I thought it was clever.
Biden: talking about tax cuts, and not going through with the Bush tax cuts. Not gonna support tax cuts for corporate wealthy. Not gonna support tax cuts for Exxon/Mobil. Saying we can’t slow up on education. And the women are rating him as high as they can right now, but men putting him at neutral now. Saying he and Obama will eliminate wasteful spending, one which is a tax dodge by putting their post office box off shore.
Palin: “McCain doesn’t tell 1 thing to 1 group” and something else to another group. Talking about the energy plan: Obama voted for a plan that gave oil companies big tax breaks. Saying that she took on those oil companies. They were doing what they need to do, but they’re not her biggest fans, because she broke up monopolies, and she was at a neutral rating all through that, but is now a little bit positive. Reemphasizing that Obama voted FOR that energy plan. Saying that her area of expertise is energy. Saying that she’ll do what is right for the American people, and stop greed on Wall Street, and that the rescue plan needs oversight. She dipped pretty negative there, but balanced it out at the end.
Biden: Talking about Obama voting for the bill. Saying it was the first bill that really allowed for alternate energy. Why is McCain adding tax cuts for oil companies? (he asked). Saying that we should be able to give back money to everybody just like Palin did in Alaska, but under McCain’s plan, it’ll all go to companies. Saying he hopes Palin will convince McCain to support windfall tax, like Palin supported in the past.
Ifill: Something about economy and something about debt – I didn’t hear exactly what it was.
Palin: We need to be appreciative of McCain’s call for reform. And emphasizing reform is a very good strategy for her (and Biden) in this debate. Put politics and campaign aside and fix this “toxic mess on Main Street that’s affecting Wall Street” (I think she switched the 2 of those up).
Biden: Saying that McCain and Palin don’t support certain ways to help the people through one of the bailout bills, I missed the specifics – women liked him, men didn’t.
Palin: Talking about doing all we can do to become energy independent. She dropped really low, and is coming back now, talking about having to rely on foreign countries, instead of “dollars circulating here creating 10s of 1,000s of jobs. … Energy independence is the key to this nation’s future.” Talking about not giving oil company tax breaks. She rose pretty high there, but dropped down at the end.
Ifill: What’s true and false about climate change.
Palin: Talking about Alaska often changed by climate, since it’s an arctic state. Some of it’s human-caused, others of it is cyclical. Doesn’t want to argue about causes, but wants to discuss how we’ll clean up the planet. That’s a great answer – and she’s right. Who cares HOW we got here, as long as we know HOW to fix it! We need an all of the above approach to tap into energy as well as conserving fuel – and she got pretty high ratings there.
Biden: “I think it’s clearly man-made.” And he dropped down a bit there. Saying that we can’t get a solution unless we know the cause. Well, Mr. Biden, even the National Climatic Data Center doesn’t know the cause, and it’s their job to figure these things out. Talking about ways to stop greenhouse gases from being emitted. Saying that China is building new dirty coal plants weekly – we need to export technology to help them and their environment. Saying McCain voted against alternative energy 20 times. Biden got some pretty good ratings there.
Palin: McCain supports caps on drilling. Saying that we need to tap into oil, and that’s what the people want. She gave the “Drill baby, drill!” quote and that dropped her pretty bad. Saying that Biden called drilling “raping” the continental shelf. Saying that we need an all of the above approach. Saying that Biden didn’t support clean coal, saying that he said there’s no such thing as clean coal.
Biden: Saying that the comment was taken out of context, and that he’s supported clean coal for 25 years. If the only answer you have is oil, and not everything, how will that help?
Ifill: Do you support, as they do in Alaska, benefits to gay couples?
Biden: Absolutely. In our administration, there will be no difference between gay and straight couples. And here’s where I disagree – it’s a states’ rights issue. He brought up visitation in hospitals, and I do agree there. Although he’s remaining barely above neutral ratings.
Palin: I wouldn’t do it if it redefined marriage, but I will be tolerant. Saying that she has a diverse group of family and friends - I can’t tell if she’s implying gay friends? Saying that McCain wouldn’t ban visitation rights, but supports defining marriage between 1 man and 1 woman. She did pretty good in ratings.
Biden: Neithe me nor Obama want to redefine marriage. That’s a decision to be left by the faith institutes. Saying that Palin doesn’t want differences in rights, so they’re on the same page.
Palin: Says that she doesn’t want to redefine marriage, so they agree.
Ifill: On Iraq – exit strategy.
Palin: Saying that we have a good plan, and that the surge worked, is working, and Obama shouldn’t have voted against troop funding, and she’s glad that Biden stood up to him on that. Saying that we can start putting more troops in Afghanistan. She’s rating right around neutral right now. Saying that we’re getting closer and closer to victory, and it’d be a travesty if we quit in Iraq.
Biden: I didn’t hear a plan. Outlining Obama’s plan: Train the Iraqis. McCain voted the same way in no funding for troops. Said he won’t fund them with a timeline. He’s rating pretty decent now. Although he dropped a bit with women when he attacked McCain. Saying it’s time Iraqis spend their own money, and he’s now maxed out at the women’s rating and is almost there with men. “For John McCain, there’s no end in sight to end this war.”
Palin: “Your plan is a white flag of surrender in Iraq” and thats’ not what our troops needed. The surge worked, and Obama can’t admit that. Saying that Biden would’ve been on McCain’s ticket because he supported McCain’s stance on Iraq, and that he flip flopped when Obama picked him. Saying Obama voted against troop funding.
Biden: Saying McCain voted against funding for troops. Voted against it because it had a timeline in it to end the war. Saying McCain has been dead wrong on fundamental issues on the Iraq War. “There are the facts.” He got pretty good ratings back there.
Ifill: Which is more dangerous: nuclear Iran or unstable Pakistan?
Biden: Pakistan already has nukes. Could hit Israel. Iran is not close to getting nukes, so both are very dangerous. Saying that John still thinks that the battlefront on terrorism is in Iraq. Ratings are really high, especially among women – he’s doing pretty good here. Saying that we need to help them build schools (in Pakistan) and that’s where bin Laden lives. We need to go after him.
Palin: Saying that both Petraeus and Al Qaeda said that the central battlefront was Iraq. The only thing they agreed on. Saying that Ahmadinejad is unstable (quoted him on Israel). Talking about Obama meeting with nations without preconditions, showing naivety on Obama’s part. And her ratings went from pretty good to neutral.
Ifill: Secretaries of State have advocated talking. Are they wrong?
Palin: No. We need diplomacy, but with dictators who hurt America cannot be met with just sitting down on a Presidential level like Obama said he’d do. “Diplomacy is hard work by many people.”
Biden: That’s not true. He didn’t say sit down with Ahmadinejad. It surprises me that McCain doesn’t know that he doesn’t control the security apparatus of Iran. Saying that McCain and Palin said they have passion for diplomacy, and we need talks with our friends and allies, yet our allies said, “Sit down and talk,” but we didn’t. Rating pretty good there. McCain said he wouldn’t sit down with Spain, a NATO ally who has troops in Afghanistan. “I find that incredible.” Rating great there – and yeah, that was a really dumb moment by McCain.
Palin: Forging peace will be top of McCain/Palin agenda. We will never allow a second Holocaust, even if that’s what Iran warns of. Saying we need more peace, but we need commitment, and we’ll give that commitment. Great ratings there.
Biden: “Nobody has been a friend to Israel in the Senate as much as Joe Biden.” What about Bernie Sanders? I’m just assuming that since he’s Jewish he supports Israel, but I could be wrong. Talking about Hezbollah and that they’re a legitimate part of the government of Lebanon. We will change this policy, and stand with Israel, not insist that policies are past. Rating great there.
Palin: Saying that she’s glad Biden cares so much about Israel. Saying that we can’t keep finger pointing at Bush (like Biden just did – I left that out when I typed above). Put partisanships aside – he’s known as the Maverick. It’s good that she’s bringing that up.
Biden: How different will McCain’s policy be different than Bush’s? He hasn’t heard how it’s different. On Israel, Iran, Pakistan.
Ifill: What should be the trigger when nuclear weapons use is put into play?
Palin: Dangerous regimes cannot be allowed to get nukes. “Period.” Saying we need sanctions on nations like North Korea. On Afghanistan, McCain’s stance is different than Bush’s – McCain will use surge principles, just like we did in Iraq, and it worked. Saying we’re fighting terrorists and securing democracy and building schools.
Biden: On Afghanistan–commanding general said that the surge principle will not work in Afghanistan. And Biden’s ratings are pretty good now. Spent more in 3 week on Iraq than 6 1/2 years in Afghanistan. Ratings are pretty good there. Saying that McCain hasn’t supported nuclear test ban treaties.
Palin: Saying that the general didn’t say that the surge principles wouldn’t work.
Biden: Saying that the general DID say that. Obama, Hagel, Biden, and Lugar have called for more money in Afghanistan. McCain said we had already succeeded in Afghanistan. We need to spend more in Afghanistan than on Iraq.
Ifill: Biden, you’ve had an interventionist stance. Should America continue this?
Biden: It worked in Bosnia (this is something Ifill brought up), and he supported it and was the first for it. On Iraq, he voted to let us go to war, but opposes it. We needed to have our allies with us. In Darfur, we cannot allow for the genocide – we need to provide helicopters. And the ratings skyrocketed.
Palin: Saying that she must be a Washington outsider, since she doesn’t get why he switched his views, and compared him to Kerry. Saying that he opposed Obama’s strategy and now is for it. We can agree on Darfur, specifically the no-fly zone. And her ratings are going up decently. Talking about not using money that would look like we will allow travesties in Darfur.
Ifill: When is the line to be drawn to go to War?
Biden: Can we afford it? When a country engages in genocide / terrorism, that country forfeits their right to say that we can’t intervene. Saying that he predicted Sunni/Shia conflicts.
Palin: I disagree with you on whose strategy you supported. John Mccain has faced challenges and knows what evil is, and will know how to implement commanders, and will know how to win a war.
Ifill: If the worst were to happen, how would a Biden administration differ from an Obama administration?
Biden: I’d carry out policies – accurate health care, an energy policy that creates new jobs. A foreign policy that gives power to Iraq. Reject the Bush doctrine. He’s rating as high as he can among womenn, and VERY good among men. It’s the most important election you’ll have voted in since 1932. I agree with Obama on every major suggestion.
Palin: Talking about disagreeing on drilling in ANWR, continue good work he started – getting rid of greed in Washington and Wall Street. The money needs to be put to the average family. And her ratings are skyrocketing – maxed out for women, very high for men. Talking about Obama’s plan being bad for our economy.
Biden: Saying that it’s been Bush’s economic policy that hurt us. Saying that McCain says he’s different, but he really isn’t. “The middle class has gotten the short end.” Very good ratings.
Palin: Saying that teachers need more pay. We need better education. Her ratings are doing pretty good. Education in America is just accepted to be a little bit laxed, and that’s unacceptable. We need to reform No Child Left Behind. Very high ratings among women and pretty good for men.
Ifill: What does the Vice Presidency do?
Palin: Talked about her saying a lame joke, “and yours must’ve been a lame joke too because nobody got it.” Pretty funny. Talking about presiding over the Senate. Saying “McCain has tapped me and that’s where he wants me” – dealing with special needs children – might’ve been education, I missed part of it.
Biden: “I would be the point person for legislative initiatives.” Saying that he’ll give Obama his best advice. Sahying that he won’t be afraid to tell Obama if he disagrees. Pretty good ratings. And he’s showing himself being somewhat of a Maverick or independent, and willing to disagree with HIS president.
Ifill: Opinion of Cheney’s Vice Presidency.
Palin: Talking about doing best for the American people in cooperating with the President’s agenda, and that there’s a lot of flexibility. Talking about her executive experience, and those years will be put to good use.
Biden: It’s been the most dangerous we’ve had. Only preside over Senate when there’s a tie vote. Give President advice. His ratings are VERY high right now. Criticizing Cheney’s defining the VP as a legislative job.
Ifill: What are your Achilles heels?
Palin: Responding to Ifill (who asked if it was her experience). I was experienced in being a governor and mayor, and I’m tapped into average families. Talking about standing for tolerance, freedom, and equal rights. Combine that with being a team of reform and it’s a good ticket. Pretty good ratings.
Biden: Responding to it being his lack of discipline. I’ll place my record against McCain’s. Talking about crime bills. Talking about it knowing what it’s like to be a single parent. Saying that he’s much better off than many Americans now, but the notion that because he’s a man, he doesn’t know how to raise to kids alone. And he’s getting emotional here – and it is really appealing to the focus group – that was Biden’s best moment right there – and it was a GENUINE moment. It’s going to be hard for Palin to make any comeback from that without looking bad.
Palin: Americans aren’t looking for more of the same. Talking about John McCain’s Maverick position. And she’s not doing well with the focus group, just as I predicted. Talking about not allowing Wall Street greed, and now she’s picking up ratings. “Change is coming and John McCain” will bring reform.
Biden: McCain is not a Maverick – he voted for Bush’s budget. He voted against putting children into health care coverage. Not a Maverick on education, on the war, on virtually anything that affects the average people. He’s rating pretty high. “Maverick he is not on the important issues that affect people at the kitchen table.”
Ifill: Single issue where you had to change a long-held view to accommodate circumstances.
Biden: Yes, the only thing that mattered for a judicial nominee was a moral person who hadn’t committed crime. Now I realized that ideology matters, and he gave an example of somebody he opposed. Women liked his response, but Men are rating him neutral. “I’m glad I did [change on that].”
Palin: There’ve been times when I was governor and mayor that I didn’t like, but didn’t veto. Times when I wanted to cut taxes, but didn’t have enough support. Never a time when I had to change my views because up in Alaska, we’ve been able to compromise and work things out. That’s what I’ll do in Washington, and that’s what McCain has done.
Ifill: How do you change the tone and promote bipartisanship, after looking at the bailout vote?
Biden: I’ve worked across the aisle and changed opinions of my party and the Republicans. Saying that people shouldn’t question motives of members of the Senate. Question their judgment, not motives. And he got pretty good ratings there – that was a pretty good statement.
Palin: Do what I did as Governor – walk the walk and appoint people from both parties. Work together. Let policies and proposals speak for themselves. Lower taxes on workers and businesses. Rein in spending. Don’t support a ticket that will increase spending. And her ratings were doing really good, but she’s dropped a bit.
Ifill: Closing statements.
Palin: Glad to be here and glad to meet Biden and debate him. Wants to speak to people without filters – just speak to them. We’ll fight for the average American people. Always been proud to be an American, and so has McCain. We need to fight for freedoms. “Freedom is always a generation away from extinction.” We will fight for freedom, and only McCain has fought for you.
Biden: Thank you, and it was a pleasure to meet you Governor. This is the most important election you’ve ever voted in. There’s a need for fundamental economic and foreign policy change. Obama and I don’t look at that based on CEOs and tax credits to Exxon/Mobil, but when sending a kid off to fight in a war. They should be guaranteed best health care and education. Really good ratings right now. Talking about believing in selves and accomplishing things, and that’s why him and Obama are running – to reestablish that mood. It’s time for America to get back up together. May God bless you, and may God protect our troops.
Ifill: Thank you to the Commission, the University, Governor Palin and Senator Biden. “Good night everybody.”
Palin: “Thank you so much! Thank you Gwen.”
Why is her mic still on? that’s weird.
So, my analysis overall:
- I didn’t like the fact that Palin avoided some of the questions at the beginning. She lost some points with me here.
- Biden got a little wordy and confusing toward the end at some points, but it wasn’t a huge issue.
- I give a lot of credit to Biden for being a single dad. When he started getting emotional, that was a powerful moment, and I felt for him – I could feel the emotion just watching him. It didn’t affect the outcome of the debate (at least not in my mind), but I think credit needs to be given to him for that.
Overall, I call it a Biden victory. Perhaps it’s just because I was going into this thinking that Palin wouldn’t perform well, but I didn’t think she did too bad, but I would definitely say that I am confident that Biden won. I really don’t think that either campaign will get a bump from this, but if anybody will, I think it’ll be McCain. Like I said earlier today, it was Biden’s debate to lose. He performed very well, but Palin did as well, and for Biden to help the Obama ticket much more, he would’ve needed to blow her out of the water, and that just didn’t happen.
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