Palin/Biden post-debate reaction?

Well, now that you've had a chance to ponder the debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden overnight, what do you think? Did either candidate manage to move the ball forward for their campaign?

What's your reaction?

Here's what Jill Hazelbaker - the Salem native and former Gordon Smith staffer who is John McCain's communications director - had to say:

Tonight, Governor Palin proved beyond any doubt that she is ready to lead as Vice President of the United States. She won this debate, putting Joe Biden on defense on energy, foreign policy, taxes and the definition of change. Governor Palin laid bare Barack Obama's record of voting to raise taxes, opposing the surge in Iraq, and proposing to meet unconditionally with the leaders of state sponsors of terror. The differences between the Obama-Biden ticket and the McCain-Palin ticket could not have been clearer. The American people saw stark contrasts in style and worldview. They saw Joe Biden, a Washington insider and a 36-year Senator, and Governor Palin, a Washington outsider and a maverick reformer. Governor Palin was direct, forceful and a breath of fresh air.

What do you think? Discuss.

  • (Show?)

    I think Hazelbaker is spinning like a dervish.

  • tl (in SW) (unverified)

    I think both candidates strengthened their own respective bases. I am neither undecided nor an independent, but I would suspect those audiences would sway toward the Dems and away from the GOPers. Various polls indicate this: -tl

  • (Show?)

    I agree with Jeffrane.

    Hazelbaker is in the extremely difficult position of arguing that being a multi-decade Washington insider is less preferable, but only for the Veep position.

    I can't see any but GOP party faithful actually buying into such a fundamental disconnect.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    Both candidates played loose with the truth and facts. Prevailing opinions in most of the media give Biden a victory as a debater, but the American public is again the loser being fed drivel from the duopoly's second tier. There should have been VP candidates representing Ralph Nader and Bob Barr who believe in the Constitution which Obama, Biden, McCain and Palin do not.

  • (Show?)

    Due to a moderator who didn't push her to answer the questions posed to her, Palin stopped the bleeding. But she needed to do more than that.

    Biden won the debate, avoided gaffs, focused on John McCain. The invisible running mate came across as smart, experienced, and a caring father. Good news.

  • (Show?)

    Pollster Mark Blumenthal has written a post I highly recommend about spinning Veep debates immediately afterward. He compares Biden/Palin to Bentsen/Quayle, and I found it instructive.

  • ChickieBlue (unverified)

    I kept waiting for Biden to say to Ifill: "I don't know what your role is here tonight since the Governor seems to not want to answer your questions."

    Palin is an unqualified fake and it frightens me to think she could become President. It just goes to show that the Republicans have such LOW standards for the office and McCain picking Palin to compete with Obama's "celebrity" ignores his appeal to hurting Middle Class voters. I have not seen any more or less bullshit from the Republicans this year than in 2004 or 2000. I think people wanted to be fooled in those races and now they are looking for grown-ups to fix the messes. Whether Obama/Biden can do that remains to be seen, but at least they are looking beyond the beauty contest phase.

  • johnnie (unverified)

    My favorite lie of Biden's and Obama's is to deny that Obama would meet with Iran w/o precondition. Last night Biden said that assertion is flat out wrong. Well here what Obama says at

    "Diplomacy: Obama supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions."

    Hey, if it's what the campaign believes, just say it. Don't contradict yourself.

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    Across the board polling shows Biden winning. More importantly it shows him winning among uncommitted and Indies.

    The Hotline/Diago tracking poll included post-debate polling from last night and has Biden's favorability ratings increasing relative to Palin. Increased lead by one in ticket match-up to 48-42.

    Palin was convincing as a used car salesman. Biden was convincing as a statesman.

  • dddave (unverified)

    Race did not come up. You know, how more people will vote FOR Obama because of his race than against him for the same reason....

  • Fargo (unverified)

    Even the weakest bullshit detector would recognize the hypocrisy of Sarah Palin last night:

    Self-identified authentic person & non-politico. Reality: regurgitated scripted, poll-tested soundbites (regardless of the question). Yes, very authentic.

    Self-identified middle class mom. Reality - family income of approximately $250K.

    For Joe/Jane six-pac: Reality - the Republican economic policies are for their primary funders - the plutocrats & corporate powerhouses. And their social policies subvert privacy and promote theocracy.

    But wink wink, just like most Americans, she doesn't know much about the world beyond our borders, she doesn't think history matters, and she can't name a Supreme Court case and is suspicious of anyone displaying intelligence and sophistication.

    The only way McCain/Palin wins the election is if Americans really are just that gulliable and stupid. Yes, STUPID, DUMB, IGNORANT, IDIOTIC.


  • (Show?)

    Palin is a fair actress who did a decent job with the predictable script. Doesn't change anything. Presidents don't get to act from scripts, they're supposed to have the knowledge to write one. I shudder to think of the movie this country would become with her in the Oval Office, even in a secondary role.

    Come on, GOP--who the hell are you kidding???

    It is difficult to impossible to believe anyone, even the GOP faithful, honestly thinks Palin is qualified to be president. It's beyond delusional. That was proven beyond a doubt prior to last night and the debate changed nothing.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    Palin learned that she comes off better if she ignores outright questions that flummox her instead of hemming and hawing in search of an answer. She said:

    And I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I'm going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record also.


  • Eric Parker (unverified)

    Palin looked and acted like she was on a news broadcast, and it made her look like a twit. I almost thought that Kelley Day was talking at one point. Biden looked calm but seemed somewhat restrained because he wanted to say more, but knew that it would hurt him if he kept going on.

    Toss up with a slight edge to Biden.

  • RW (unverified)

    My watch-compatriot (when he abandoned his prepared speeches on specific points) and I were to be found constantly gritting out, "AN-swer the QUE-stion, PALIN".

    The moderator did NOT do her job.

  • rw (unverified)

    This may sound mean or anti-feminist, but it's a fact us women do not address meaningfully for fear of being called petty... I caught myself thinking, "She's gonna get old one day, and she will not be able to run that shit around anymore", speaking of that un-addressed sex business we have going on in this campaign. We can laugh and boo at the winking, simpering, and the massive fusillade of charmyschool bs that rolled out of her like a heat wave a couple of times.... but it's abuse of that which is indeed part of what is at the core of being a woman. It's tawdry.

    Face it, got some really attractive folks running in this race plus a couple of regally passable comb-overs. And nobody is talking about that sex appeal crap that has also snaked its way in.

    She's working it, and that's irritating. The guffaws and hoots that erupted when she made her "Kissinger shared with me" comment, oy...

  • tl (in SW) (unverified)

    One thing I keep hearing McCain/Palin say but have not seen or heard challenged is asserting that they know what to do.

    They both say McCain knows how to win the war. Ignoring the fact neither has defined what it means to "win" the war, nor have they indicated by when, what evidence does either provide that McCain knows how to win the war(s)? There is no correlation between being a veteran or having a family member in the armed services and the ability to formulate, implement and successfully execute a winning military strategy.

    Palin spoke of greed and/or corruption over five times during the debate and how McCain-Palin would "stop that". What evidence is there they could (or would)? McCain's Keating Five past doesn't give me any confidence.

    It may be argued that McCain, Obama, and Biden have records of bipartisanship. Palin claims to have a record of doing so in Alaska. I would like to see the evidence.


  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    rw wrote:

    It's tawdry

    Ah, heck, in four years the debates may be moderated by Ryan Seacrest with Paula, Simon, and Randy doing the post-debate commentary.

    Ya, tawdry.

  • RW (unverified)

    Way to cheer me up, pisher.

    Murrican Eye Dolls: Vote 2012


  • anoregonreader (unverified)

    Let me take my reactions in order:

    First, I have to respond to Johnny. "Preconditions" has a specific meaning in diplomat-talk. It means that something has to occur before the meeting takes place. That was the Bush administration approach to Iran for the first seven years. "You completely dismantle your entire country's nuclear power program, and then we can sit down so the US can tell you what else we demand." (A rough paraphrase) No suprisingly, that approach almost never works in diplomacy, except in those situations, such as at the end of WWI, were one side holds all of the cards and the other is desperate.

    Obama has meant, and has explained, that he won't impose that kind of precondition. It doesn't mean that he won't insist on a tough agenda for the talks, and certainly doesn't mean that he will weaken the US bargaining position.

    As for the debates, did anyone else notice how well miked Palin was for the little introduction, where she asked Biden if she could call him Joe? He didn't seem miked at all in the exchange. I raise that because, as my wife observed, that innocent-sounding request was the set-up for her to say later in the debate "say it ain't so, Joe." Absolutely artificial, absolutely scripted.

    I am not a fan of folksy posturing, and I think that Palin was completely over the top in this measure. A little bit of "Joe-six-pack," "soccer moms," "talk to the folks at the soccer game" goes a very long way. There are still politicians who talk that way authentically, but they are few and far between, and Palin is not one of them.

    (As an aside, her accent is almost certainly a put-on. People who knew her in Wasilla say she didn't talk that way back then. Someone should do a report on fake Republican accents. See GW Bush.)

    It became painfully obvious through the debate that Palin was consulting notes, and it sure didn't look like she spent much time writing those notes. Another tell about lack of real readiness.

    The biggest impression that I was left with concerning Palin, though, was the way that she redirected questions to something else she wanted to say (usually completely unconnected to the question) and the way that she repeated buzz-words over and over. Some commentators (most notably, Roger Simon) said that was a plus.

    I don't think so. I think most Americans do not tune into the debates just to see if someone will screw up, or to see who looks better, or some other superficial thing. People do pay attention to those things, but they also want to hear what the candidates say about issue that affect them. A few times redirecting a question probably isn't a big deal, but it was Palin's whole strategy. I believe that even "low information voters" noticed that she wouldn't answer questions about the bailout, about the need to change bankruptcy laws, about lots of things. Eventually, the picture adds up to evasion. People then ask themselves, "Why was she being evasive?" And the obvious answer is already floating in the air--because she doesn't know what she is talking about.

    The same goes for use of buzz-words. People are smart enough, with enough repetitions, to tell the difference between a person who has some good phrase that apply to the issue the person is talking about and a person who uses buzz-words that are disconnected to any issue.

    My guess is that Palin has further hurt her prospects with those who aren't already disposed to vote for her.

    Biden: This was the best debate performance he has ever given, and he didn't give anyone an opening to complain that he was condescending. A great job.

  • (Show?)

    Presidents don't get to act from scripts, they're supposed to have the knowledge to write one.

    I'm not so sure about this. In both the Reagan and Bush presidencies, the president was to a substantial degree a front and voice for a collective intellectual operation. Reagan had a much bigger role than GWB in actually pulling together the underlying collectivity I think and thus a much bigger claim to its overall leadership. In GWB's case, he was recruited by forces who saw how they could use his name recognition (or actually, misrecognition). Reagan also had much longer experience and well-developed, firmly held fundamental principles about which he could rely on others to fill in the practical means (somewhat easier if the general direction is "do less" rather than "do more" or even "do differently"). He may not have written the scripts, but he knew what they meant.

    Palin has been recruited on symbolic grounds. I only hope that we don't have to find out the answer to how her learning curve might compare to GW Bush's.

    In some ways I wonder if the relevant metaphor isn't scriptwriter but producer -- I think you'd have to go back to Warren Harding to find a president who was so little the producer of his own show as GW Bush, though maybe there's an argument to be made about Harry Truman at the time of FDR's death.

    In a way maybe that's an interesting comparison for Palin as well. If they were elected, and something happened to McCain, could she rise to the occasion as Truman did?

  • Scabbers (unverified)

    Palin had to dog-gone rooty-tooty win the debate! She is so cute that she must be Mr. Flanders from the Simpsons in Drag!

    Just as Nixon failed the debate on television due to percieved shiftiness on the screen, and some thought that McCain's failure to speak directly at Obama came across as creepy, I think that Palin's forced chirpiness puts viewers off.

    A televised debate does not run on facts alone.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)

    "Palin's forced chirpiness puts viewers off"

    It was so bad, it was almost condecending(sp) in it's tone and nature.

  • dartagnan (unverified)

    I'm sure the McCain campaign had their declaration of victory written long before the debate began, just as they did for the first McCain-Obama debate. Perky, chirpy, winky little Sarah gave a good performance for a beauty pageant contestant. Biden gave a good performance for a vice presidential aspirant. The post-debate polls show most people saw it that way.

  • rw (unverified)

    Quick rescue for those mired in a spelling-moment:

    Even if you spell it poorly, they will rescue you by giving you options to select.

    Bonus: chech your meaning - did you REALLY mean to say that?

    Condescending - almost had it!

  • David Wright (unverified)

    I'll say right up front, I'm a solid McCain supporter (and gosh-darn, I'm pretty "tolerant" of Palin only 'cause I have to be to get McCain). So, grain of salt and all that.

    The first 15 minutes were an absolute train wreck for Palin. I very nearly turned off the TV it was so painful to watch.

    She warmed up considerably after that, though, and I thought by the end of the debate she looked and acted a ton less nervous and more confident.

    Biden was outstanding throughout. I've always respected the guy, despite his flaws, because he is genuine and doesn't try to hide those flaws. His response to the question about his "Achilles heel" was a classic example of that. So, while Palin did better as the night wore on, I'd have to admit that Biden was the clear winner in terms of the debate.

    As to who helped their side more -- that's probably a draw. Palin definitely stepped up as much as she needed to, in order to quell some of the fears in her own base. And I think she probably did connect with some undecideds on a personal level.

    Biden on the other hand demonstrated the confident competence for which Obama doubtless selected him. His mistakes were few and minor. Undecideds watching that debate had to come away with the impression that Palin isn't remotely on par with Biden. Whether that alone will be enough to sway them is another question, but there's no way that Biden hurt his campaign last night.

    And, bottom line (as others have said), the VP question is far less important than those at the top of the ticket. How much it will impact voters' decisions is hard to say; probably it will more this time than in previous elections, but probably also it won't make all that much difference.

  • (Show?)

    And, bottom line (as others have said), the VP question is far less important than those at the top of the ticket.

    Thanks for the honesty, David. But I think your point about top/bottom of the ticket really is more important this time around given McCain's age.

    True, Ronald Reagan was no spring chicken, but regardless of what people thought of George H. W. Bush's policies, no one could question his qualifications, so Reagan showed real judgment by picking his rival to fill the VP spot. (G.H.W. Bush's pick of Danny Boy is another story, of course.) God forbid, because I don't dislike McCain personally, but there is a reasonable chance, even an expectation, that Senator McCain would succumb to age in some fashion (stroke, etc.) over the next four years. I just don't see how we can take that gamble with someone like Palin. Too many unknowns and what is known is pretty scary.

  • Greg D (unverified)

    Anyone that winks more than once in a debate should automatically be booted off the stage, if not the ticket.

  • (Show?)

    This is how she got through it...thanks to MOMocrats...

  • genop (unverified)

    My internal filter bars any communication non-responsive to the moderator's question. Thus I saw those glossy lips move, and watched those Betty Boop eyes wink, but heard nothing come out? To come away gushing over Palin is self delusional.

  • johnnie (unverified)

    Oregon Reader:

    We agree - preconditions means exactly that. There is a reason the US doesn't meet with the likes of Iran without preconditions. It's obvious why, and if you think it's ok there is no amount of reason that will make you think. All I can say is that those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. That goes for ALL political parties.

    All I can say is that the Obama kids that was taken down and this: is utterly weird and reminds my Venezuelan relatives of Chavez's election. Incantations about Obama's healthcare. Really? This is scary. Again, that history saying.

  • (Show?)

    So, who you gonna believe, Ms. Hazelbaker or your lyin' eyes/ears?

  • awaccelm (unverified)

    I have a question for you or anyone else who wants to address this: I know of several folks who have decided to stop contributing to their 401k’s and other retirement accounts and start putting that money towards paying down their mortgage. Right now I put $250/paycheck into my retirement fund, and yet my balance is less than it was six months ago. Is it smarter to just keep with the traditional wisdom of investing the same amount no matter how the market is going, or is a diversion into debt reduction a smart move? FYI I’m about 15 miles out from retirement. What do you think?

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  • knonosnurge (unverified)

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