Post-Debate Thread

Sarah Palin acquitted herself more effectively tonight than she did with Katie Couric. The problem is that this wasn't enough. Despite the talk from some that the bar Palin had to top was well underground, Palin had to not only deliver a performance free of gaffes (and it's not clear to me that she even did this -- embracing Dick Cheney and mistaking the top General in Afghanistan with a Civil War-era General were not particularly smooth), she had to seem credible as Vice President. She had to have gravitas.

But after an hour and a half of going up against Joe Biden, at least the second half of which she appeared flat on her feet and unable to conjure up all of her empty talking points, she did not come off as Vice Presidential. She sounded like a moderately effective surrogate -- a little better than a Carly Fiorina, not as good as a Mitt Romney -- but not as an able partner to John McCain, and certainly not as one who could step in as President should God forbid anything happen to McCain.

In this regard, this was not a successful debate for the McCain-Palin ticket. While it may have staved off the hemorrhaging of support for the Republicans, it did little to nothing to swing the momentum back away from the Obama-Biden ticket.

Update [2008-10-2 22:42:32 by Todd Beeton]:Totally agree with Jonathan here. It's funny, the post-debate buzz on CNN seems to be that "it wasn't a game changer" but I have to say, I think this was only close to a draw in a political sense, from an expectations vs. reality perspective. Sure she didn't fall on her face. But looking at it as a debate and even as a political event, I think it was so monumentally clear who won this thing and I think viewers will concur it was Joe Biden. As David Gergen said, this was "the debate of Joe Biden's life." Watch perhaps Joe's finest moment in the debate below and I dare you to keep a dry eye.

Update [2008-10-2 22:44:17 by Todd Beeton]:Umm, CNN has like 12 people on stage all with laptops to give their analysis. 12 people, really? MSNBC it is.

Update [2008-10-2 22:50:36 by Todd Beeton]:On my way to MSNBC I stopped on FOX and saw some of the Luntz focus group. 4 people said they switched their vote as a result of the debate: 3 to McCain, 1 to Obama. Luntz: "This debate will make a difference in this race. Watch the polling in the next 48 hours."

Update [2008-10-2 23:11:56 by Jonathan Singer]: Pay heed to Judd Legum, Hillary Clinton's research director, who wrote last week "Ignore The Pundits: How To Figure Out Who Won The Debate." With that in mind...

CBS News Poll of Uncommitted Voters Watching the Debate)

46% of uncommitted voters who watched the debate tonight thought Joe Biden was the winner. 21% thought Sarah Palin won, 33% thought it was a draw… 98% after the debate saw [Biden] as knowledgeable (79% before the debate).

Those are huge numbers.

Update [2008-10-2 23:13:20 by Todd Beeton]:One of my favorite post-debate pundit moments was Paul Begala on CNN. He said that Sarah Palin did not make the case once why Barack Obama is a risky choice, while Joe Biden time and time again reiterated that John McCain would be "more of the same." In other words, "Sarah Palin was looking out for Sarah Palin tonight. She thinks it's over and is looking toward 2012." Awesome.

Update [2008-10-2 23:14:27 by Jonathan Singer]: CNN polling gives Biden the win by a 51 percent to 39 percent margin. That's two-for-two for the Democratic ticket in post-debate polls.

Update [2008-10-2 23:17:53 by Todd Beeton]:Also from CNN, on the question of whether Palin is qualified to serve as VP, she went from 42% Yes 54% No before the debate, to 46% Yes 53% No after. A +5% move isn't bad but the fact that this debate performance couldn't get her back to where a majority feels she's qualified has to be seen as a failure.

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Jonathan's Debate Thread

Here's my debate thread...

  • We just had the moment of the debate, Biden defending his fatherhood, chocking up when recalling when he was a single father who wasn't certain that one of his children would survive.
  • MAJOR Palin gaffe moment: Embracing Dick Cheney as her model for Vice President. Cheney's numbers are terrible. Poorly played.
  • Marc Ambinder is completely right: "Palin is running out of TPs; she's repeating them"
  • Palin gaffe alert: Mistakenly calls General McKiernan, the head of the effort in Afghanistan, General "McClellan." Whoops. Says Ben Smith, "McClellan was a Civil War general, McKiernan is the current one."
  • Palin was able to muddle through the domestic policy half of this debate without too much trouble or damage, but when it comes to the international policy half she and her empty talking points are just no match for Biden.
  • Not a good showing here. Palin doesn't understand the question from moderator Gwen Ifill about the use of nuclear weapons, confusing the implementation of such arms with the proliferation of them. Whoops.

By the by, the timing of the Associated Press article running under the headline "Judge refuses to block Alaska Troopergate probe" -- coinciding with the Vice Presidential debate, hitting papers at the same time as the write ups of the first meeting of Sarah Palin and Joe Biden -- isn't great for the Republican ticket.

Prior updates below the fold...

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DebateDrink: VP Debate Drinking Game

In a little over 24 hours, Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Joe Biden will take to the stage to engage in what could be one of the most interesting Vice Presidential debates of all time. Still, they're politicians and 2 hours of politicians speaking is enough to get under anyone's skin.

Take the edge off with the official Vice Presidential Debate Drinking Game. We learned a lot from last week's Presidential Debate, and added even more sipping, shots, and chugging to this version. With added rules like "Drink when Joe Biden mentions Amtrak,""Drink when anyone can see Russia from their front porch," and "do a shot when Sarah Palin speaks in tongues," you'll be all set for 2 hours of prime time debating for those seeking the one job with virtually no responsibilities.

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If we can just get past tomorrow...

we will be home free.The debate tomorrow is going to be McCain's last chance.

Palin is going to win the debate tomorrow. The thing about debating - it's not what you say, it's how you say it. Stupid people make great debaters because they say stupid things with conviction. Biden's years in the Senate will harm him - long-winded answers will hurt him, and with short answers, he is likely to make a gaffe. It's really a no-win situation for Biden.

What I hope for tomorrow is an uneventful VP debate. If that happens, Obama will win the election. If the VP debate goes as I expect it will, I'm sure there will be an initial surge for McCain. All that the news networks will talk about is the fact that Palin didn't fail her remedial course mid-term, and push less important stories such as the banking crisis aside.

But I still think that the news cycle will come to an end by the time of Obama's next debate with McCain. The most important thing is that Obama have a way of changing the news immediately after the debate. If he has a wild card, right after the VP debate is good time to play it. I really wish there was less time between the VP debate and the next Presidential debate. Obama will best him again and what will look like a McCain surge will turn out to be McCain's last gasp.

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middle-brow Brokaw never was a GREAT journalist.

A lot of us remember vividly how Brokaw has done his best to humiliate Democratic candidates in the past few years.  He will probably do the same against Obama.

Tom Brokaw never was a great reporter or anchorman.  Capable?  Yes, but not great.  He doesn't hold a candle to Walter Cronkite or David Brinkley (at his best), and he's piss poor compared to Jim Lehrer and Robert MacNeil.  John Chancellor, for most of his career, was head and shoulders above Brokaw at his crappy best.

Brokaw - has no one ever noticed? - has a bad speech impediment.  He mumbles, doesn't even pronounce his words clearly, and has always sounded like a heavy drinker, almost slurring his words.

Brokaw is no brainiac.  What's much worse - he is a shill for the CEO class that runs GE and NBC.  He's an obsequious semi-moron.

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