What do you expect from the Veep Debate?

BidenpalinIt may be the most hotly-anticipated political event of the year. Tomorrow night, Sarah Palin and Joe Biden will debate for the one and only time.

Among Republicans, there's all kinds of angst about Sarah Palin's readiness. From the NY Times:

Her halting interview with Katie Couric on CBS News alarmed many Republicans and gave fodder for a devastating parody on Saturday Night Live.

“I think the Katie Couric interview shows that she needs to be briefed more on certain aspects,” said Jim Greer, the Republican chairman in Florida. “She continues to be viewed very positively by the base of the party, but she needs to demonstrate that she’s got the knowledge and ability to be president should the need arise.”

Polling suggests that the number of Americans who think she is not fit to be president has increased since her introduction to the country last month. A number of conservative columnists and thinkers have publicly turned against her, or criticized Mr. McCain for choosing her, including George Will, David Brooks and Kathleen Parker, who wrote a column entitled “She’s Out of Her League” for the National Review Online.

Among Democrats, there's another nearly-universal worry: Will Joe Biden be too tough on Sarah Palin - generating sympathy for the Alaska governor? From the AP:

In addition, Biden will be debating a female candidate who has excited many women and elicited sympathy for some attacks perceived as sexist. If Biden comes on too strong or is condescending, he could be viewed as bullying or disrespectful.

What will you be watching for? What do you expect to happen? What does Joe Biden need to do to win? What does Sarah Palin have to do to win?


  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    Who knows? They are both loose cannons.

  • CenterCityLass (unverified)

    I expect Gov Palin to be herself, and reveal herself, as she truly is: totally unfit to be vice president. Not smart enough, not experienced enough, not knowledgable enough, not, not, not. All Senator Biden has to do is be a gentleman while she hangs herself.

    Oh, this is gonna be so much fun to watch.

  • Buckman Res (unverified)

    JoeyB has the chance to become a Demo folk hero by taking out GovPalin and in the process finish off the JMac campaign. With is years experience it should not be a tall order.

    On the other hand, should he fail to do this through gaffs or missed opportunities during the debate he will breath new life into JMac’s chances and incur the wrath of his party, possibly even more calls for his replacement by Hillary as vp.

    Either way it will be entertaining political theater.

  • (Show?)

    I expect pie, preferably lemon meringue, but I'll settle for a berry pie of some type.

  • Anon (unverified)

    Biden will be Biden, say some stupid shit, and Gwen will laugh it off as "Joe being Joe".

    Palin will talk in generalities, say some stupid shit, and get roasted by Gwen "Hopeful_Best_Selling_Book_on_Obama" Ifill.

    The Repugs will crow about how great Palin was, since she only committed 3 errors. The Demos will crow about how great Biden was, since he only committed 3 gaffs.

    And it won't matter one iota.

    If Obama wins, it'll be one his merits, not Bidens. Same with McSame... (Sorry Karol, don't blame racists if Obama is too liberal for America!)

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    Joe Biden will go after McCain and ignore Palin.

    Palin will stumble on specifics and be an embarrassment. Women's perception of Palin has become increasingly negative. She's sinking like a stone:

    From CBS/NY Times poll out today:

    "Women's perception of Palin has become increasingly negative. On Sept. 8th, Palin had a 47 percent favorable rating among women and a 19 percent unfavorable; now her favorable rating among the group is down to 30 percent, while her unfavorable has risen to 34 percent."

  • mamabigdog (unverified)

    Joey needs to focus on being himself- competent, in charge of the issues, knowledgeable of all the major and minor points of their campaign. He'll also focus on the McCain Campaign, not on Palin herself.

    Palin will succeed or fail on her own merits. Joey won't need to call attention to them, they'll be so obvious and cringe-inducing to everyone.

    I expect Palin to try for a few zingers, but I don't expect him to take the bait. She'll fall flat, and come off looking spiteful and shrewish as a result.

    It will be great theater, with that I wholeheartedly agree.

  • mp97303 (unverified)

    Palin will prove that she can walk and chew gum at the same time. The GOPers will hail this as proof of her readiness to lead. The MSM will as well, since, they suck.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    Biden will be Biden, say some stupid shit, and Gwen will laugh it off as "Joe being Joe".

    Both Biden and Ifill have to be careful. Biden for obvious reasons. Ifill has written a book about Obama due for publication in January if Obama is elected so she must avoid the slightest perception of bias. I have a lot of confidence she will do well.

  • Ten Bears (unverified)

    Joe (Biden), would you answer a few questions, please?

    The reality is that Biden is as poisonous to the progressives as Palin the conservatives.

  • Bill McDonald (unverified)

    The most telling thing about the Katie Couric interview for me was Sarah Palin's lack of awareness about Couric's intent. Yes, the answers were shocking in their dumbness, but it was the way Sarah seemed to think Katie was just chatting with her in a friendly manner that really creeped me out. We've all seen that back in high school: The intelligent, cool girls feigning friendliness with the attractive, dorky one, fighting to keep a straight face as they coax the dumbness out of her without her even knowing it. As for tomorrow night, I agree with the theory that it doesn't really matter how she does - once you've seen the dumb, there is no hiding it. Now, of course, if she blows it dramatically, that would be a terrific service to the country because it's important that everybody know the caliber of mind we have here. This time around though I think SNL should give her a writing credit on the show. If they're going to quote her, and not even have to write the comedy, she should get paid.

  • Samuel John Klein (unverified)


    The most telling thing about the Katie Couric interview for me was Sarah Palin's lack of awareness about Couric's intent. Yes, the answers were shocking in their dumbness, but it was the way Sarah seemed to think Katie was just chatting with her in a friendly manner that really creeped me out.

    If anything marks you as an intellectual lightweight, it's getting pwned by Katie "Professional Journalist" Couric, that's for sure.

    What to expect from the debate tho? I predict that there will be a slew of blog postings using photo analysis to prove that SPalin was carrying a portable radio reciever under her suit jacket.

  • Murphy (unverified)

    /" What does Joe Biden need to do to win?"/

    Not laugh out loud.

    /"What does Sarah Palin have to do to win?/"

    Send Tina Fey.

  • madame M (unverified)

    Just a note: the book that Ifill is writing isn't "about" Obama-- it is about the changing scene in American politics and race. Obama is the attention getting name on the front, but it really isn't her book about him (though there is a chapter about him that she isn't done writing yet). And it will be released inauguration day no matter who wins, at her publishers initiative.

    I think Paliin will look better than the interviews, but not great. And I think Biden will probably rattle on a bit too long about a few things but basically come across as competent. I think it will be VERY hard for him to not get accused of sexism and being condescending because the reality is, he DOES know a hell of a lot more about most topics that will be discussed than she does and what he has going for him-- where he shines-- is in this depth of knowledge. As a feminist, I think he should just be himself and know the accusations will fly no matter what. He can't dumb himself down to protect her-- that'd be worse. As for Palin, I don't like her politics, but I like even less the feeding frenzy that will probably ensue after the debate is done. Her selection hasn't done women any favors in US politics, but she's the one who is being most personally damaged by this.

    Yuck all the way around.

  • Dave Muckey (unverified)

    I see some great sitcom possibilities coming from Palin. The fundamentals on that are strong....

  • Rob D (unverified)

    I think mp97303 had it right. Biden will focus on attacking McCain and Bush, and Palin will prove to be obviously out of her league. But FoxNews and the other right-wing knuckle-draggers will insist that she held her own, or maybe even won the debate, and (with the exception of Olbermann and Maddow) the rest of the TV news "pundits" will worry about appearing to have a "liberal bias," and so they'll blather on about how she "defied expectations" or how she came across as "folksy" or "someone you'd want to have a beer with." Before too long, the poll numbers will even out again.

    And the fall of the American Empire will continue.

  • (Show?)

    Since all it apparently takes to be accused of being unfair to Palin is to ask her a question about politics, policy, world affairs or history, Ifill should go ahead and brace herself to be cast in the role of villain, and not worry about it. Ifill did a superb--and fair--job moderating the 2004 veep debate and she'll do so again. (Too bad she isn't running!)

    Interesting that the Republican spin machine is already testing the waters to see who they can tag for Palin's inevitable loss (inevitable barring a Bidenism of epic proportions.) But honestly, having a female moderator will probably help Biden in this case since Palin will seem less isolated and under attack (at least from him) than if she were tag teamed by two uptight old know-it-all white guys.

    And yeah, Ifill's book isn't about Obama, let alone an homage, it's on the bigger, changing profile of black politicians since the 1960s. Surely not everyone who's written a book about George W. Bush can be accused of favoring him!

  • admiral_naismith (unverified)

    Tina Fey has the easiest job in the world.

  • Fred Thompson (unverified)

    Palin will relentlessly attack Obama; and she'll throw in a few barbs aimed at Biden as well.

    She'll have some cleverly scripted lines about:

    being a woman; not being part of the Washington establishment; not being favored by the elites "who frequent Georgetown cocktail parties;"

    Palin will exceed expectations precisely because they're so low, and the debate format will allow her to avoid difficult follow-up questions.

    Biden needs to make certain she doesn't out-"Joe-Six-Pac" him.

    With the next presidential debate 5 days away, this will all be forgotten by Monday the 6th.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)

    Whatever happens, even if Biden drops dead of a coronary before the debate even begins, the PUMA crowd will announce to the world that Sarah Palin has once again been the victim of a vicious misogynist attack.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)

    Palin will stick to near one-liners she's got memorized and use them whether appropriate or not. Biden will be knowledgeable and attack McCain - only - or praise Obama.

    Palin is no intellectual heavy weight, but she's not mentally challenged either. Dinosaurs 6K years ago says she's credulous, but then...she's a Republican.

    Sarah gets a draw if she doesn't drool. Expect no information from her.

  • Slappy Mcdickleton (unverified)


    Biden is a blowhard that represents, to me, everything about DC that Obama should have run from screaming.

    The most impressive thing, to me, about Palin is that she knows how to field dress a moose, which would come in real handy in the White House.

  • KTDM (unverified)

    Is it just me, or does this glee feel an awful lot like the days before the mean-spirited but highly galvanizing speech at the Republican convention? She may repeat one-liners fed to her, but I don't underestimate her ability to make certain groups of people feel like she is on their side, in their corner... I hope I'm wrong and that Joe Biden truly stakes out that territory and comes across as the warm, friendly, and compassionate advocate that he is... That's what will help hold our lead in the midwestern swing states...

  • Brian C. (unverified)

    Call it election fatigue or perhaps I'm just feeling grumpy today, but I'm feeling George Carlin at the moment.

  • (Show?)

    Truth there, KTDM--don't misunderestimate her. We've seen where that leads the past 8 year. The 90-second answer format will let Palin be "saved by the bell" without having to go into too much detail. But hey, since according to herself she's read "all" of the magazines in the world, she's probably ready for anything.

  • zodiaclove (unverified)

    hi I do not agree with what you wrote really.... please explain further a bit more for me ;d


  • Bill McDonald (unverified)

    Here's an analogy I haven't heard yet: Sarah Palin is the fake heroic soldier in "Wag the Dog" brought in to try and keep a campaign going through the election. In the movie, the soldier played by Woody Harrelson, turns out to be a huge disaster just like Sarah.

    And that intellectual lightweight putdown: All I can say is, "Will you repeat the question?"
  • Unrepentant Liberal (unverified)

    I expect three things. I expect Sarah Palin to answer the questions sounding like Marge Gunderson from "Fargo," only this time it won't sound cute. Second, after the debate is over I expect Wolf Blitzer and his 'best political team on teeevee,' to look at each other stunned and speechless by her ignorance.

    Thirdly, I expect the Palin/McCain poll number to crash like his fighter jet. 'Mayday, mayday, we're going down.'

  • BOHICA (unverified)

    "I expect pie, preferably lemon meringue, but I'll settle for a berry pie of some type."

    I expect Moose Trud Pie

  • BOHICA (unverified)

    "Turd" I need to rent some new fingers.

  • (Show?)

    What's significant to me is how AP continues to frame stories, and the quoted paragraph is a good example. Check out how AP has covered the testimony in Ted Stevens' trial. Stevens is described as "fiercely loyal" and the witness is referred to as a friend who "turned on" Stevens.

  • (Show?)

    I expect my ears to bleed when Sarah talks. I'm hoping to limit this by joining my friends in a drinking game -- take a shot for every nonsubstantive, irrelevant anecdote Palin shares with us.

  • Joseph (unverified)

    Biden should just be himself.

    I do hope that Gwen Ifill makes Palin cry.

  • genop (unverified)

    I predict Kristin will be hammered in 15 minutes, and we all will share her nausea when it's over.

  • Gregor (unverified)

    Sarah Palin is a cutthroat. People praise her reforming history, but really she was biting the hands that fed her. The mayor brings her to the City Council and she takes his job. Murkowski brings her to Juneau, and she takes his job too. Neither one of them have anything nice to say about her. McCain needs to watch his back.

    What I expect to see from Palin is cheap shot after cheap shot. She got up on the stage at the convention and gave a great speech because no one knew what to expect and she came out firing, something no one could do for Li'l Johnnie. Out of no where she lays down fire and there's nothing the Reich likes more then cheap shots. She was a big hit.

    Lately, Sarah's gone after Biden with her "hearing his speeches in 2nd grade". Like she could sit still to watch a speech when she was 8 years old. I think she will go after Biden and she will go after Obama and that is all anyone will remember are the sound bites of her biting them.

    The question will be where will the media focus their attention? Are they going to focus on the moments when you could hear the Arctic wind whistling between her ears, or because they feel a need to be "fair and balanced", will they replay her cheap shots.

    My thought is that she's already setting up Joe Biden. She wants to goad him into making a gaffe. Biden needs to refrain from getting mesmerized by her charms and focus on the work he needs to do, attack McCain. It's about McCain. Ignore her and let her frustration rise.

    We've entered an incredulous era in politics with the rise of the infallible Presidency of George W. Bush. Duby defeated two very capable individuals with his charm and wit. Biden needs to have his wits about him for this evening, and keep them in check. It won't take much rope for her to hang herself, but he cannot be seen as the one pulling the lever.

  • Doug (unverified)

    Fahreed Zakaria said it the other day. It isn't that she doesn't have answers, it's that she doesn't understand the questions. The pit bull will become a little baby chick and if Biden responds as he would to anyone of intellect, he will be branded a vicious, rabid, fox raiding the henhouse. Can't wait for "beakstick" to appear at cosmetic counters across the country.

  • AFFOLAHELVE (unverified)


  • Fireslayer (unverified)

    Palin is probably being coached to play it safe. Having rolled G.I. back on her heels I would be surprised to see anything but slow pitches from the Moderator to her and Biden.

    And I feel it would be just deserts if she hit the Senator from Am Ex over the head with his support for the recent Bankruptcy Law gutting. Lack of bankruptcy protection was a primary accelerator of housing foreclosures which tanked the loan industry that sank Wall St. and dried up credit for Main St. on and on. Alas, the Mooseslayer is too dim to rap her tiny brain around these concepts.

    But then if they truly "let Sarah be Sarah" like the, careful what wish for, Republican right-wing is calling for then be prepared for good belly-laughing entertainment.

    Palin is not merely a joke, she's a whole f'n comedy series.

    Tonight I will be with the rowdy's at the Clinton St. Theater with my popcorn hoping for a good comedy hour and a half.

  • RRStubbs (unverified)

    As a blue dog Democrat I fully intend to vote for the McCain/Palin ticket. After investigating the record on Senator Obama, I have concluded that his work as a community organizer was self-serving and only reinforced the financial calamity we face today.

  • MCT (unverified)

    I expect to cringe every time Palin speaks. Honestly her doo-dah sing-song non sequiturs embarrass me in some weird way, though I thoroughly dislike her and everything I suspect (having little else to go on) she stands for. I can't even feel schadenfreude. She's a caracature of Tina Fey.

  • AFFOLAHELVE (unverified)


  • Stephen Amy (unverified)

    As was told on Democracy Now! program of Thurs., Oct. 2nd, the Dems and GOP are in partnership in a private corporation which absolutely controls the debates. This corporation was formed in 1987 because the Dems and GOP wanted to control of any third party candidates being allowed to participate (or not) and also wanted to control of choice of moderators. The only reason Perot was allowed to participate in '92 was because neither Clinton or Bush "41" objected to his taking part.

    The funding for this corporation's operations comes in the form of donations from Fortune 500 companies.

    Prior to '87, the League of Women Voters arranged the debates. But the two major parties were nervous about lack of total control of the process, so the Dems and GOP colluded to shut out the League.

    So we get Barack "Wall St. bailout" Obama vs. John "Wall St. bailout" McCain. Or, Barack "Larry Summers/Robert Rubin" Obama vs. John "Phil Gramm" McCain.

    <h2>Vote third party (I support McKinney).</h2>
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