So, kids, didya watch? Lemme tell ya, if the requirements for Vice President are the ability to memorize catch phrases and repeat them over and over and over again, the Dems are in big trouble!
Hey kids! Maybe the Chatty Sarah Doll will be available in time for Christmas!
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Republican vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin – marshaling folksy charm, brimming confidence and barbed attacks – faced down a crucial test to her political future in Thursday’s debate against Sen. Joe Biden, a contest that appeared to do little to change the landscape of the presidential race.
The Democratic vice presidential candidate and six-term U.S. senator came armed with his own ammunition – a better command of the facts and a heartfelt passion, appearing to tear up as he talked about personal challenges and connections with what he called “people sitting around the kitchen table.”
Palin regularly sought to downplay expectations for herself – claiming the mantle as a fresh-faced maverick – a word she used many times in referring to herself and her running mate, Arizona Sen. John McCain – and an experienced energy executive from outside the Beltway.
With a wide smile, an occasional wink and repeated references to her connections to Main Street and “Joe Six Pack” Americans, she espoused the campaign mantra that “change is coming” while aiming to portray Biden and his running mate, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, as old-guard Washington insiders.
Biden all but ignored Palin – keeping McCain in the bulls-eye of his attacks. He repeatedly portrayed McCain as a continuation of President Bush’s views on foreign policy, taxes and health care. He said that while Republicans have focused on giving corporations tax breaks, Obama would focus on helping the middle class.
On Israel, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran and other major foreign policy issues, “I haven’t heard how (McCain’s) policy will be different than George Bush’s,” said Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “We will make significant change, so once again, we’re the most respected nation in the world.”
Palin countered with a smile, “Say it ain’t so, Joe. There you go again, pointing backwards again. You prefaced your whole comment with the Bush administration,” She argued that Americans now need to “look forward.”
Biden delivered his own zinger when he argued that “20 million of you are going to be dropped” by insurance companies under McCain’s health care proposal, calling the Republican’s health insurance tax credits, “the ultimate bridge to nowhere.”
Palin and McCain face even more daunting problems together: Polls in key battleground states suggest a dramatic slide for the Republican ticket, and additional new polls suggest Palin may increasingly be a drag on the ticket.
Two post-debate polls showed Biden to be the winner of the matchup. A CNN poll gave him a substantial 51-38 percent edge, and a CBS poll of undecided viewers named him the winner 46-21.
In her key moment on the national stage, Palin at times simply ignored the questions from moderator PBS’ Gwen Ifill – or answered another question entirely, saying at one point to Ifill and Biden directly, “I may not answer the questions the way the moderator and you want to hear.”
Looking often at Biden, she smiled and pointed and she even used self-deprecating humor to underscore her unfamiliarity with the stage of a national presidential debate. “It’s so obvious that I’m a Washington outsider and not used to the ways you guys operate,” she said at one point.
[…] Biden passionately challenged Palin’s repeated references to McCain’s “maverick” status – arguing the Republican presidential candidate’s record showed him to be out of touch and unable to provide policies that will help average Americans in their daily lives.
“I love him, but he has not been a maverick” in providing health care, said Biden. “He’s not been a maverick when it comes to education,” he said. “He’s not been a maverick in the war. He’s not been a maverick on anything that affects people” of America’s economically strapped middle class.
Though Palin held her own, Biden’s performance also exceeded expectations of many critics who have said he is too unfocused, verbose and prone to gaffes. The senator stayed on point, never lost his cool – and remained cordial and smiling throughout, even as he argued his case.
He aggressively countered Palin’s allegations, insisting she distorted Obama’s record on Iraq. “Let’s get straight who’s been right and wrong,” he said.
Palin’s accusation – repeatedly refuted by independent fact-check organizations – that Obama has voted more than 90 times to raise taxes was also met with a Biden counterpunch.
“Barack Obama did not vote to raise taxes. The vote she’s referring to, John McCain voted the exact same way. It was a budget procedural vote,” he said. “Number two, using the standard that the governor uses, John McCain voted 477 times to raise taxes.”
Fareed Zakaria, CNN:
The problem was not her answers; the problem was that she didn’t understand the questions.
Bill Schneider, CNN:
Palin’s answers do not lack confidence, they lack coherence.
Joe Klein, Time:
Indeed, Sarah Palin’s high-energy performance in the vice-presidential debate was the most glaring demonstration — since George W. Bush’s performances in 2000 — of how little you can get away with knowing and still survive one of these things […]