Live Blogging the Vice-Presidential Debate

editor's note
AT writers will be live blogging tonight's debate. Join the fun.

Thomas Lifson

Biden opens with the expected attack on Bush economic policies. Too bad Bush isn't running.

Ed Lasky:

Biden answers a question about the bailout bill with Pelosi-Reid like partisan attacks blaming it on Bush policies. I hope Palin points out the overwhelming involvement of Democrats in this housing/financing "crisis". But she only has a short time window to do so.

Kyle-Anne Shiver:
Gwen Ifill just called Palin by her title, Governor, but referred in the intro to Biden merely as Joe.

Sarah asked if she could call Biden, "Joe."  Smart.  Seeming to defer to him.

Oh, pitiful.  Biden is standing there telling people AGAIN the stale line that the economic fiasco is the fault of the last 8 years and this President.  He looks like he has memorized his answer.  Focus on the middle class....blah, blah, blah.

Palin speaking to Americans directly.  Looks like Reagan in a skirt.  She is speaking directly to the people and knows how to smile and relate. 

I love this woman

Ed Lasky:

Palin leads off with a response showing she identifies with the people out there who are hurting and fearful. Good, though I hope she does not overdue the sport mom metaphor.

Thoams Lifson:

Sarah Barracuda bares her teeth and zings Joe. Love it.

Then she moves on to attack the predatory lenders, call for oversight. Populism and reform.

Marc Sheppard:

Biden seems rushed, deliberate and preprogrammed while Palin is coming off quite natural, responsive and personable so far. 

C. Edmund Wright:

Palin has been McCain-ized. That first answer from Palin, with a direct attack from Biden on the "policies of the last eight years," was very weak. Now, under attack from Biden on the follow-up, she is back on the putting partisan politics aside thing.

Now she's on the predatory lenders. And greed on Wall Street. And now back on the folks "lending us those dollars."

Hey Sarah, what about Fannie and Freddie and Chris Dodd and Barney Frank and Franklin Raines?

I fear this debate and this election is over.

Ed Lasky:

Good for Palin; gets some facts out about Biden/Obama voting record on taxes.
Biden shoots back; he is being rude -- accusing Palin of not responding to Biden's answers. As if Obama did during the debate with McCain.

Kyle-Anne Shiver:

Sarah Palin is CLEANING HIS CLOCK.  In every way.  She relates to the American people, because she lives our lives. 

Joe Biden is beginning to attack McCain on moving to "deregulate."  Oh, this is good:  Joe is relating a story from the gas pump.  But no emotion.  No authenticity.  Sorry, Joe, no sale here.

Sarah, on the other hand has the figures on Obama's votes regarding taxes. 

Oh Biden is calling her a liar.  Now they are trading stats.

Palin is going on offense and making it clear that she will answer the way SHE wants. 

Biden's grin looks strange.  Is it a nervous grin?

I agree with C. Edmund Wright-go after the Democrats on this debacle. Raines, Frank. Use quotes from that devastating Wall Street Journal article today

Marc Sheppard:

When not to Biden, Palin speaks to the camera -- therefore the world, while Biden directs his responses primarily to the moderator only.  Will someone remind me which one’s got all that experience?

Ed Lasky:

Palin sounds like Reagan-government can be the problem. But show it with the example of Fannie and Freddie.

C. Edmund Wright:

Oh good, finally a redistribution of wealth comment...and a small business sighting on the 250 thousand threshold. And good, a "government is the problem" statement. After a horrible start, she is warming up
a tad. Her comment questioning the government's ability to run heath care is good too.

Ed Lasky:

Biden is running the risk of channeling Al Gore-the smugness, the recitation of "facts". The rudeness.

He talks about his neighborhood-and mentions Scranton first. Gimme a break. has not lived their since he was a kid.  How about the Biden spread on the front-page of the New York Times today? Did Biden read his New York Times today?

C. Edmund Wright:

What is Joe Biden thinking on the health care thing? And I love his comment about giving money to the "insurance companies" in tax breaks. Who does he think the coverage is being provided by?

Ed Lasky:

My lord.Did Biden actually repeatedly say we are not going to support tax cuts McCain is proposing? That does not resonate-is he now channeling Mondale who famously promised to raise taxes?

C. Edmund Wright:

Oh no, an anti oil company comment coming from the Republican. I suppose tying Obama to the plan that Biden just made fun of has some value, but who is the party of tax cutting anyway?

Ed Lasky:

Palin notes it was Obama who supported tax breaks to oil companies and pointed out that she did the converse-and raised taxes on oil companies. Score a big one for Palin. Did Biden think she did not know about Obama's vote?

How about Ifill asking questions about the Senator from MBNA's role in making it tougher for credit card holders in getting out from ruinous credit card debt? This has actually made it more tempting to walk away from their homes and mortgages.

Now Biden is okay with bankruptcy courts adjusting mortgages to help people; he did the exact opposite as Senator when it came to credit card obligations

C. Edmund Wright:

Let's see, Fannie Mae is in Washington. Freddie Mac is in Washington. So what's up with all the "Wall Street greed" related to this? What's up with all the greedy lenders who were simply dong just what the government
made them do.

Marc Sheppard:

WOW.  Biden continues to respond with robotic Dem talking points and has stammered quite a bit.  Big Oil.  Tax cuts for the rich,  blah, blah.


And he keeps repeating himself.  Are we going to hear about Obama’s subprime warning and McCain’s subprime surprise a third time?


Palin sounds like she’s having a conversation with friends.  An honest and one. 

And she is displaying a much greater command of her speaking topics.

Palin way ahead on both points and style

Thomas Lifson:

Biden has just announced that there is no cyclicality to the earth's climate, since all climate change is man-made. What a doofus!

Ed Lasky:

So now Biden is for clean coal?

C. Edmund Wright:

Man I hope Kyle Anne and some others are right...I see this as a debacle. I hope I am wrong.

Kyle-Anne Shiver:

I'm sorry to seem so partisan tonight!  But honestly, Joe Biden is not even looking into the camera.  He is looking, evidently, into the camera.

Oh, wonderful!  Now Sarah Palin is hammering the energy issue, her strongest point.  She has nailed energy independence to the national security.  And reminded us that this is the "key to this Country's future."

Another one right into Palin's backyard.  Climate change.  She says I don't want to argue about why we have climate change; I just want to do something about it.  And she reminds us that she was the first governor to do something about it.

She is continuing to CLEAN HIS CLOCK.

Biden is picking a loser of an issue with Global Warming, since the public no longer sees it as so important.  Palin comes out saying we need an EVERYTHING approach, and Biden comes out strong on COAL!  I'm surprised he will touch the coal issue.

Oh, Palin getting to talk about the pipeline now and reminds folks of her real expertise.  And it's one of the top issues this year, with about 2/3 of the public now supporting drilling here, drilling now.

Ed Lasky:

Why does Biden have that condescending smile when Palin talks about developing domestic energy resources. I am watching a split screen on Fox. I hope everyone saw that odd grin of Biden's.
By the way, I recommend people read Cool It by Bjorn Lomborg about climate change.

C. Edmund Wright:

Drill Baby Drill! I love it. Clean Green Natural Gas. Love that too. And good call on the "no clean coal" comment from Biden.

Marc Sheppard:

When Gwen tossed Climate Change Palin’s way I cringed a bit.  I was right to.  For some reason, she gets flustered on the topic – even called her opponent Senator O’Biden.  She questions man’s contribution, yet said she agrees with cap-and-trade. 

While at least half of Biden’s response was regurgitated alarmist nonsense, he put forth a more consistent case on the topic.

Shake it off and move on, Sarah.

C. Edmund Wright:

Biden finds in the constitution what Obama found in the Sermon on the Mount -- all kinds of rights for non traditional families and proclivities. And thank you Gwen for bringing up this non-issue in a debate will all kinds of major issues that do need discussing.

Ed Lasky:

I have hard time seeing why foreign policy should be given much time in a VP debate. This is more appropriate for a Presidential debate. This is repetitive. The time could have been used to let the candidates describe their accomplishments on the domestic level. Palin would have cleaned Biden's grin right off his face. The point: it is nice to have a Governor on a ticket.
Good point about Biden saying Obama was not ready to be C in C.

C. Edmund Wright:

When Biden goes off on the big Iraqui budget surplus due to oil, it's dangerously close to saying we should use oil revenues won by war. Which, of course, we should. If a Democrat
"almost" says it is ok to have war for oil, then maybe a Republican will one day say that. Because frankly, we should be sharing in the Iraq oil revenues.

Kyle-Anne:

Biden talking about the war...coming home ASAP.

OMGoodness, Sarah is a pistol when talking about the War! 

Now Biden is telling us that McCain voted against the timeline bills, which included funing for the troops.

C. Edmund Wright:

Yeah, let's bomb Pakistan with 7000 schools to compete with the Madrassas. Hey, while we're at it, why not some "school choice" here at home! Bet you won't find Biden for that!

Kyle-Anne:

Okay, I know the elites are cringing every time Palin says, "nuc-u-lar," like Bush, but I love it.  It's almost code for spit in the eye of East coast liberals.

Marc Sheppard:

Joe (now looking at camera) made a forceful speech about ending the war.

Palin smiled and hit him with White Flag of Surrender and Obama’s continuing Surge Denial (with a respectful nod to Joe’s son being in country)

Joe said Barack Obama has been right on the war and John McCain has been dead wrong.  This vacuous platitude has been flying around for over a year now and no one has ever explained just what Obama was so right about. 

Sarah should have pounced.


Ed Lasky:

Palin says Ahmadinejad is netiher sane nor stable. Never hear that from Obama-who wants to break bread with him.

Kyle-Anne:

The best Palin zinger so far, in my opinion:  reminding Americans why our Islamo-Fascist enemies HATE us, and she mentioned our protection of women's rights.

Biden is making a huge mistake, I think, to aim all of his arguments at Gwen Ifill and only occasionally looks at the public through the cameras.

Ed Lasky:

Biden lied. Obama did say he would sit down with Ahmadinejad-the Obama disinformation campaign on this matter is non-stop. Surprised Biden would go along with this deception- but, hey, he did cheat in law school and plagiarized Neal Kinnock's speech.
Biden''s tone at times verges on the contemptuous.

C. Edmund Wright:

We should protect Israel from a second Holocaust, especially at the hands of those who say the first one never happened.....

Kyle-Anne:

Way to go Palin!  Reminding Americans (and Israelis) that Israel is our very best ally in the world.

Biden then makes a really lame attempt to reassure voters that he would not have joined the ticket if Obama did not fully support Israel.

Ed Lasky:

Repeat after me: Obama did say he would sit down and meet with Ahmadinejad. The big lie campaign continues.

I cannot repeat this enough-the Obama campaign has no problem running a disinformation  campaign that (1984 is here) wipes away Obama's own history.

No one in the Senate has been a stronger ally of Israel than Biden?

Reminds me that Obama said that no one has spoken out more fiercely against anti-Semitism that he did.
I don't think either of those statements are truthful.

Kyle-Anne:

Okay, Sarah keeps topping herself!  when she said they keep talking about change and future, but all they do is point fingers back at the past!

C. Edmund Wright:

Uh, memo to Governor Palin: The Democrats playing the blame game are kicking your ticket's you know what. I must agree with Biden on one thing: past is prologue.

Since when did the Democrats start worrying about what our Generals on the ground think? And besides, what does spending in Afghanistan have to do with anything? The entire country could be bought for one Fannie Mae insured sub prime mortgage.

Ed Lasky:

This is a somewhat odd argument for Biden to make-we are not spending enough money fighting in Afghanistan. He said this at least two times. How will that resonate with their base. I could see him saying we spent as much in Iraq in three weeks as we did in pre-school programs in America or some comparison with domestic spending. That would have been more effective.

Brett McCrae:

Did the distinguished Senator from my home state just say we needed to move NATO troops to stabilize Lebanon???? I believe he did and maybe the Senator from the Great State of Delaware forgets the last time Western troops were in Lebanon 241 US soldiers and 58 French paratroopers died. The Democrats constantly lament about the casualty count in Iraq…..so we are going to deliberately put US troops in Lebanon where 1983 would most certainly be replicated. Make no mistake it would be US troops there, not NATO, because none of Western European allies would follow us into Lebanon, none of them.

Ed Lasky:

Great point, Governor. Pointing out the flip-flops that are part of the inside the beltway modus operandi and that she as an outsider has hard time understanding the logic of how business is done in DC.
Very good-I am sure she was waiting for an opportune moment to contrast herself as an outsider and Biden as an insider. She could have done this with Fannie and Freddie and should have.

C. Edmund Wright:

Nice little elbow on the war issue and Biden's vote for it, etc. But I gotta tell you, I like the "kind of like a community organizer" smart aleck Palin of the convention much better than this
McSanitized Bi Partisan aisle reacher.

Ed Lasky:

McCain knows how to learn from mistakes, from blunders. He has fought in a war-getting politics out of the picture.

Good, Governor.

Marc Sheppard:

Barry O called for UN Troops to enter Lebanon to take on Hezbollah?  Funny -- I don’t seem to recall that.

Biden says he hasn’t heard how McCain’s foreign policies will be different than GW’s.  Other than sitting down with madmen and telegraphing our retreats to our enemies, has he heard how the man at the top of his ticket’s will be?

Pounding his fist in the air at times (he just gave a Goreish sigh) he’s obviously becoming frustrated that his foreign policy laundry listing is neither flustering his opponent nor making any real points.

Palin smiled, called him on his Iraq invasion vote, then moved to common ground in Sudan and ultimately emphasized that McCain knows how to win the war. Nicely played. 

The foreign policy expert came off sounding like a bad high school history teacher.  The “dummy” on the subject more than held her own.

C. Edmund Wright:

Nice little transition to letting the pundits tomorrow calling Biden out on the lies (not that any of them will, but it's a nice thought)....and did Biden just say that it would be a "national tragedy of historic proportions" if he had to be President. Heck, I agree with that.


Rick Moran:

 
She is doing much better than I thought possible. I knew she would be fine with domestic issues but I've been impressed with her foreign policy answers. Not as wide ranging as Biden's but she shows a basic understanding of  and a grasp of some of the underlying issues.
She is doing well enough to make a liar out of me - and I think she is impressing millions.

Biden? What's with the smirk, Joe? No doubt Kyle Anne is smiling to herself. We talked on my radio show about the probability that Biden would not be able to help himself and would be his regular condescending self, thus angering millions of American women.

Biden may be outpointing her. But she is holding her own for the most part - showing everyone that she belongs on the same stage. 

C. Edmund Wright:

ANWR and not checking opinions at the door...nice line. And thankfully a mention that there is greed in Washington and not just on Wall Street.

And anyone who believes Joe Biden "spends a lot of time in Home Depot" raise your hand.

 
Rick Moran:

Holy cow. She's taking over the stage. She is starting to dominate him.

C. Edmund Wright:
 
Oh no....more and more and more money for public education. Where is the Republican in this debate? What about choice?
Wow. Never thought that was possible.

Kyle-Anne:

Palin may be getting a little tired, and Biden seems to be warming up.  That's not good, because it will be the last impression that sticks.

The inevitable heartbeat-away question.

Sarah is back on her own game and reminding us that she brings a bit of "Wasilla-Mainstreet" to DC.  It came across as genuine and very authentic.

Biden tries to throw in Home Depot and his neighborhood and sounds as phony as a 3 dollar bill.

She comes on again with that charming common sense, and talking about coming from the family of school teachers.  She is on her game again with educattion.  And Palin reminds EVERYONE that she has children in public schools.  No other candidate can say that, now can they?

The woman comes across as Reagan in a skirt. 

Ed Lasky:

Aside from cutting off Palin a couple of times, Ifill does not seem to be biased in her questions and approach. Sorry, folks, I just don't see it-maybe all the hubbub the last two days moderated the moderator.

Memo to Biden-we did fund No Child Left Behind-this is another canard that takes advantage of arcane budget customs in DC

Palin makes a good point about her executive experience. Biden has none.

Marc Sheppard:

She caught attacking Bush again.   Now he’s going after Cheney.  His attempt to merge the sitting with the aspiring administration and attacking the latter by defaming the former is simply not working.

Ed Lasky:

CNN-which I do sample every now and then-has a gauge measuring uncommitted voters in Ohio. The tally has been running since the start of the debate. Palin does well, overall.
I am sure the house is not Biden's entire investment

Rick Moran:

 

Ifill is bending over backwards to show how impartial she is. I think she has been as unobtrusive as is possible which is a big change from 2004 when her hostility toward Cheney was palpable.

I think the publicity about her writing the book shamed her.

C. Edmund Wright:

The only thing I like about this night is that some of you think it's gone well. I think it's been a disaster, mainly for the missed opportunity. I hate it. Rush will hate it. I don't think the
polls will treat McCain-Palin well in the coming days. And if I hear Maverick one more time, my laptop is history.

Ed Lasky:

I agree with Kyle. Palin seems to be stumbling a bit into the close. She surely could have pointed to many examples of McCain being able to reach across the aisle-it is not just Lieberman.

Thomas Lifson:

Joe Biden admits to using ideology for his judiciary choices. At least he is honest.

Now that it's over, I think Palin undid some of the damage from the interview gotchas. This may show up in the polls. Gwen Ifill did a good job, though her disgrace in not revealing her conflict of interest remains.

Kyle-Anne:

Anyone who says that Joe Biden won this debate, I believe, is thinking in terms of an abstract point system, not in terms of who has made the best impression on real voters.  Sarah Palin relates to voters in the way that Reagan did. 

Joe Biden is coming across now as the angry liberal.  And everything has to do with money.  Anyone ever notice how the only things Democrats seem to think government does is redistribute income. 

Sarah Palin talks about the work, not the credit.  Very effective.

Biden promises not to question the motives of others.  Nice for a party, but does it actually do anything.

Palin zeroes in on policy and ignoring party affiliation, while relying on agreeing on policy.

Palin's knock at the "filter of the media" perfect.  Also, reminding all that she is proud of America and also happy.  Invoking Reagan with absolute authencity.  And reminding people that freedom is never free and McCain is the only one who has ever fought for us.  Very effective closing.

I don't know...but Biden's stalwart reliance on the old liberal line of we're-the-ones-who-care guys...it comes across as stale.  Very stale.

And not a single question on abortion.  Odd, don't you think?

C. Edmund Wright:

I am very interested in the tete a tete Palin and Biden are having now -- after the debate. Very interesting facial expression there for Palin. Who can read faces?

Rick Moran:

It was Biden on points. His responses were sharper and his attacks were cleaner.
But trying to paint Palin as stupid or slow witted will never sell. Palin showed a lot out there, she showed she belonged on the same playing field as Biden and scored some good zingers.

And Biden did himself no favors by smirking throughout the entire debate. Don't know how that will play but I suspect we'll find out before too long.

All in all - she stopped the bleeding and may have begun to win back some indies and working class women.

Marc Sheppard:

Overall Sarah was composed and spoke to Americans while Joe appeared uptight and mostly addressed the moderator.  While wise to avoid attacking Palin directly, Joe continued to make a batter case – though still a weak one – against those presently in the White House than against his ticket’s opponents.  When Sarah did attack, it was Obama she targeted, and mostly in response to a Biden whopper.

This was the Sarah that caught America’s hearts and imagination at the convention.  She presented herself as genuine, personable, informed, responsive and decisive.

On the other hand, this was the Joe the Dems didn’t want to show.  He seemed tense, repetitive, cold and programmed.

Funny how the MSM spent the last few days demeaning the abilities Sarah excelled at tonight and trying to convince us she needed to be trained for this appearance as she lacks spontaneity.  And yet, when show-time came, it was Biden, not Palin that appeared scripted.

Palin on points.  Polls should pop tomorrow, MSM whining notwithstanding.

And you must admit -- Gwen did a pretty good job of keeping the opinions confined to the stage

Ed Lasky:

I hope John McCain focuses on Barack Obama's history in Chicago and signal lack of accomplishments-as well as his refusal to release records of his past-transcripts,etc. I hope McCain tries to educate people about the Democrats role in the housing/finance debacle. He has to fight for this election-raise legitimate doubts about Barack Obama: his experience, his record, and-yes-his judgment.
Palin made no noticeable gaffes-which is what people were focused upon. She did fine-she could have done better.
Biden did give a good debate performace, overall. He did show a command of facts.

Thanks to everyone. The blog is now closed. Except for Richard Baehr:

If you were listening on radio the other night, you likely thought McCain won. If you listened on radio tonight, you might have thought Biden won (or might not- close call). As a former debater, my experience is that judges in college debates just look at arguments. That is much more like listening to a radio debate.

McCain the other night, Biden tonight, clearly much less so in Biden's case, had a bit the better of the factual argument . In Biden's case, it was mostly negative about McCain and Bush, almost nothing about Obama. But if you watched the debates, Obama was judged the winner the other night, because he was less formal- and seemed nicer, and passed the threshold test that he looks Presidential. . McCain seemed a bit dismissive of his opponent , and more formal.

Tonight you had a real charmer, with a common man or woman touch, against a pretty wooden performance by Biden- with little charm or personality at all. So in the TV debate, Palin cleaned his clock. She held her own and knew her stuff. But she related to people (the instant polls of undecideds seem to show she won decisively). Biden with all his facts and legislative history, did not relate well at all. The good news for McCain is that I suspect many more people saw this debate than Friday night's. Friday night is a bad night for TV viewing - it is a date night. Thursday is second only to Sunday for TV viewing numbers. So this is a plus for McCain, who is bleeding badly in the polls. If the House passes the financial bailout bill tomorrow, and the market comes back a bit, he will have a little wind at his back over the weekend. Maybe Obama's 6 point national lead drops to 4.


Now McCain needs to go on offense against Obama- before the next

debate- on Obama's singular lack of accomplishment, and inexperience- on how he has spent most of the last ten years running for higher office. A few references to Reverend Wright and Bill Ayers would not hurt either, since it emphasizes Obama's history of radicalism, which few people know about. McCain also needs to follow up on Palin's ability to simplify the major themes of the election choice-higher taxes versus lower taxes in terms of impact on job expansion, massive new spending versus lower government spending, government solutions for everything versus more personal responsibility.

Make hay of Obama being most liberal, Biden 3rd most liberal member of US Senate, and how that makes bipartisanship impossible. it is telling how little time Biden spent talking about Obama.
AT writers will be live blogging tonight's debate. Join the fun.

Thomas Lifson

Biden opens with the expected attack on Bush economic policies. Too bad Bush isn't running.

Ed Lasky:

Biden answers a question about the bailout bill with Pelosi-Reid like partisan attacks blaming it on Bush policies. I hope Palin points out the overwhelming involvement of Democrats in this housing/financing "crisis". But she only has a short time window to do so.

Kyle-Anne Shiver:
Gwen Ifill just called Palin by her title, Governor, but referred in the intro to Biden merely as Joe.

Sarah asked if she could call Biden, "Joe."  Smart.  Seeming to defer to him.

Oh, pitiful.  Biden is standing there telling people AGAIN the stale line that the economic fiasco is the fault of the last 8 years and this President.  He looks like he has memorized his answer.  Focus on the middle class....blah, blah, blah.

Palin speaking to Americans directly.  Looks like Reagan in a skirt.  She is speaking directly to the people and knows how to smile and relate. 

I love this woman

Ed Lasky:

Palin leads off with a response showing she identifies with the people out there who are hurting and fearful. Good, though I hope she does not overdue the sport mom metaphor.

Thoams Lifson:

Sarah Barracuda bares her teeth and zings Joe. Love it.

Then she moves on to attack the predatory lenders, call for oversight. Populism and reform.

Marc Sheppard:

Biden seems rushed, deliberate and preprogrammed while Palin is coming off quite natural, responsive and personable so far. 

C. Edmund Wright:

Palin has been McCain-ized. That first answer from Palin, with a direct attack from Biden on the "policies of the last eight years," was very weak. Now, under attack from Biden on the follow-up, she is back on the putting partisan politics aside thing.

Now she's on the predatory lenders. And greed on Wall Street. And now back on the folks "lending us those dollars."

Hey Sarah, what about Fannie and Freddie and Chris Dodd and Barney Frank and Franklin Raines?

I fear this debate and this election is over.

Ed Lasky:

Good for Palin; gets some facts out about Biden/Obama voting record on taxes.
Biden shoots back; he is being rude -- accusing Palin of not responding to Biden's answers. As if Obama did during the debate with McCain.

Kyle-Anne Shiver:

Sarah Palin is CLEANING HIS CLOCK.  In every way.  She relates to the American people, because she lives our lives. 

Joe Biden is beginning to attack McCain on moving to "deregulate."  Oh, this is good:  Joe is relating a story from the gas pump.  But no emotion.  No authenticity.  Sorry, Joe, no sale here.

Sarah, on the other hand has the figures on Obama's votes regarding taxes. 

Oh Biden is calling her a liar.  Now they are trading stats.

Palin is going on offense and making it clear that she will answer the way SHE wants. 

Biden's grin looks strange.  Is it a nervous grin?

I agree with C. Edmund Wright-go after the Democrats on this debacle. Raines, Frank. Use quotes from that devastating Wall Street Journal article today

Marc Sheppard:

When not to Biden, Palin speaks to the camera -- therefore the world, while Biden directs his responses primarily to the moderator only.  Will someone remind me which one’s got all that experience?

Ed Lasky:

Palin sounds like Reagan-government can be the problem. But show it with the example of Fannie and Freddie.

C. Edmund Wright:

Oh good, finally a redistribution of wealth comment...and a small business sighting on the 250 thousand threshold. And good, a "government is the problem" statement. After a horrible start, she is warming up
a tad. Her comment questioning the government's ability to run heath care is good too.

Ed Lasky:

Biden is running the risk of channeling Al Gore-the smugness, the recitation of "facts". The rudeness.

He talks about his neighborhood-and mentions Scranton first. Gimme a break. has not lived their since he was a kid.  How about the Biden spread on the front-page of the New York Times today? Did Biden read his New York Times today?

C. Edmund Wright:

What is Joe Biden thinking on the health care thing? And I love his comment about giving money to the "insurance companies" in tax breaks. Who does he think the coverage is being provided by?

Ed Lasky:

My lord.Did Biden actually repeatedly say we are not going to support tax cuts McCain is proposing? That does not resonate-is he now channeling Mondale who famously promised to raise taxes?

C. Edmund Wright:

Oh no, an anti oil company comment coming from the Republican. I suppose tying Obama to the plan that Biden just made fun of has some value, but who is the party of tax cutting anyway?

Ed Lasky:

Palin notes it was Obama who supported tax breaks to oil companies and pointed out that she did the converse-and raised taxes on oil companies. Score a big one for Palin. Did Biden think she did not know about Obama's vote?

How about Ifill asking questions about the Senator from MBNA's role in making it tougher for credit card holders in getting out from ruinous credit card debt? This has actually made it more tempting to walk away from their homes and mortgages.

Now Biden is okay with bankruptcy courts adjusting mortgages to help people; he did the exact opposite as Senator when it came to credit card obligations

C. Edmund Wright:

Let's see, Fannie Mae is in Washington. Freddie Mac is in Washington. So what's up with all the "Wall Street greed" related to this? What's up with all the greedy lenders who were simply dong just what the government
made them do.

Marc Sheppard:

WOW.  Biden continues to respond with robotic Dem talking points and has stammered quite a bit.  Big Oil.  Tax cuts for the rich,  blah, blah.


And he keeps repeating himself.  Are we going to hear about Obama’s subprime warning and McCain’s subprime surprise a third time?


Palin sounds like she’s having a conversation with friends.  An honest and one. 

And she is displaying a much greater command of her speaking topics.

Palin way ahead on both points and style

Thomas Lifson:

Biden has just announced that there is no cyclicality to the earth's climate, since all climate change is man-made. What a doofus!

Ed Lasky:

So now Biden is for clean coal?

C. Edmund Wright:

Man I hope Kyle Anne and some others are right...I see this as a debacle. I hope I am wrong.

Kyle-Anne Shiver:

I'm sorry to seem so partisan tonight!  But honestly, Joe Biden is not even looking into the camera.  He is looking, evidently, into the camera.

Oh, wonderful!  Now Sarah Palin is hammering the energy issue, her strongest point.  She has nailed energy independence to the national security.  And reminded us that this is the "key to this Country's future."

Another one right into Palin's backyard.  Climate change.  She says I don't want to argue about why we have climate change; I just want to do something about it.  And she reminds us that she was the first governor to do something about it.

She is continuing to CLEAN HIS CLOCK.

Biden is picking a loser of an issue with Global Warming, since the public no longer sees it as so important.  Palin comes out saying we need an EVERYTHING approach, and Biden comes out strong on COAL!  I'm surprised he will touch the coal issue.

Oh, Palin getting to talk about the pipeline now and reminds folks of her real expertise.  And it's one of the top issues this year, with about 2/3 of the public now supporting drilling here, drilling now.

Ed Lasky:

Why does Biden have that condescending smile when Palin talks about developing domestic energy resources. I am watching a split screen on Fox. I hope everyone saw that odd grin of Biden's.
By the way, I recommend people read Cool It by Bjorn Lomborg about climate change.

C. Edmund Wright:

Drill Baby Drill! I love it. Clean Green Natural Gas. Love that too. And good call on the "no clean coal" comment from Biden.

Marc Sheppard:

When Gwen tossed Climate Change Palin’s way I cringed a bit.  I was right to.  For some reason, she gets flustered on the topic – even called her opponent Senator O’Biden.  She questions man’s contribution, yet said she agrees with cap-and-trade. 

While at least half of Biden’s response was regurgitated alarmist nonsense, he put forth a more consistent case on the topic.

Shake it off and move on, Sarah.

C. Edmund Wright:

Biden finds in the constitution what Obama found in the Sermon on the Mount -- all kinds of rights for non traditional families and proclivities. And thank you Gwen for bringing up this non-issue in a debate will all kinds of major issues that do need discussing.

Ed Lasky:

I have hard time seeing why foreign policy should be given much time in a VP debate. This is more appropriate for a Presidential debate. This is repetitive. The time could have been used to let the candidates describe their accomplishments on the domestic level. Palin would have cleaned Biden's grin right off his face. The point: it is nice to have a Governor on a ticket.
Good point about Biden saying Obama was not ready to be C in C.

C. Edmund Wright:

When Biden goes off on the big Iraqui budget surplus due to oil, it's dangerously close to saying we should use oil revenues won by war. Which, of course, we should. If a Democrat
"almost" says it is ok to have war for oil, then maybe a Republican will one day say that. Because frankly, we should be sharing in the Iraq oil revenues.

Kyle-Anne:

Biden talking about the war...coming home ASAP.

OMGoodness, Sarah is a pistol when talking about the War! 

Now Biden is telling us that McCain voted against the timeline bills, which included funing for the troops.

C. Edmund Wright:

Yeah, let's bomb Pakistan with 7000 schools to compete with the Madrassas. Hey, while we're at it, why not some "school choice" here at home! Bet you won't find Biden for that!

Kyle-Anne:

Okay, I know the elites are cringing every time Palin says, "nuc-u-lar," like Bush, but I love it.  It's almost code for spit in the eye of East coast liberals.

Marc Sheppard:

Joe (now looking at camera) made a forceful speech about ending the war.

Palin smiled and hit him with White Flag of Surrender and Obama’s continuing Surge Denial (with a respectful nod to Joe’s son being in country)

Joe said Barack Obama has been right on the war and John McCain has been dead wrong.  This vacuous platitude has been flying around for over a year now and no one has ever explained just what Obama was so right about. 

Sarah should have pounced.


Ed Lasky:

Palin says Ahmadinejad is netiher sane nor stable. Never hear that from Obama-who wants to break bread with him.

Kyle-Anne:

The best Palin zinger so far, in my opinion:  reminding Americans why our Islamo-Fascist enemies HATE us, and she mentioned our protection of women's rights.

Biden is making a huge mistake, I think, to aim all of his arguments at Gwen Ifill and only occasionally looks at the public through the cameras.

Ed Lasky:

Biden lied. Obama did say he would sit down with Ahmadinejad-the Obama disinformation campaign on this matter is non-stop. Surprised Biden would go along with this deception- but, hey, he did cheat in law school and plagiarized Neal Kinnock's speech.
Biden''s tone at times verges on the contemptuous.

C. Edmund Wright:

We should protect Israel from a second Holocaust, especially at the hands of those who say the first one never happened.....

Kyle-Anne:

Way to go Palin!  Reminding Americans (and Israelis) that Israel is our very best ally in the world.

Biden then makes a really lame attempt to reassure voters that he would not have joined the ticket if Obama did not fully support Israel.

Ed Lasky:

Repeat after me: Obama did say he would sit down and meet with Ahmadinejad. The big lie campaign continues.

I cannot repeat this enough-the Obama campaign has no problem running a disinformation  campaign that (1984 is here) wipes away Obama's own history.

No one in the Senate has been a stronger ally of Israel than Biden?

Reminds me that Obama said that no one has spoken out more fiercely against anti-Semitism that he did.
I don't think either of those statements are truthful.

Kyle-Anne:

Okay, Sarah keeps topping herself!  when she said they keep talking about change and future, but all they do is point fingers back at the past!

C. Edmund Wright:

Uh, memo to Governor Palin: The Democrats playing the blame game are kicking your ticket's you know what. I must agree with Biden on one thing: past is prologue.

Since when did the Democrats start worrying about what our Generals on the ground think? And besides, what does spending in Afghanistan have to do with anything? The entire country could be bought for one Fannie Mae insured sub prime mortgage.

Ed Lasky:

This is a somewhat odd argument for Biden to make-we are not spending enough money fighting in Afghanistan. He said this at least two times. How will that resonate with their base. I could see him saying we spent as much in Iraq in three weeks as we did in pre-school programs in America or some comparison with domestic spending. That would have been more effective.

Brett McCrae:

Did the distinguished Senator from my home state just say we needed to move NATO troops to stabilize Lebanon???? I believe he did and maybe the Senator from the Great State of Delaware forgets the last time Western troops were in Lebanon 241 US soldiers and 58 French paratroopers died. The Democrats constantly lament about the casualty count in Iraq…..so we are going to deliberately put US troops in Lebanon where 1983 would most certainly be replicated. Make no mistake it would be US troops there, not NATO, because none of Western European allies would follow us into Lebanon, none of them.

Ed Lasky:

Great point, Governor. Pointing out the flip-flops that are part of the inside the beltway modus operandi and that she as an outsider has hard time understanding the logic of how business is done in DC.
Very good-I am sure she was waiting for an opportune moment to contrast herself as an outsider and Biden as an insider. She could have done this with Fannie and Freddie and should have.

C. Edmund Wright:

Nice little elbow on the war issue and Biden's vote for it, etc. But I gotta tell you, I like the "kind of like a community organizer" smart aleck Palin of the convention much better than this
McSanitized Bi Partisan aisle reacher.

Ed Lasky:

McCain knows how to learn from mistakes, from blunders. He has fought in a war-getting politics out of the picture.

Good, Governor.

Marc Sheppard:

Barry O called for UN Troops to enter Lebanon to take on Hezbollah?  Funny -- I don’t seem to recall that.

Biden says he hasn’t heard how McCain’s foreign policies will be different than GW’s.  Other than sitting down with madmen and telegraphing our retreats to our enemies, has he heard how the man at the top of his ticket’s will be?

Pounding his fist in the air at times (he just gave a Goreish sigh) he’s obviously becoming frustrated that his foreign policy laundry listing is neither flustering his opponent nor making any real points.

Palin smiled, called him on his Iraq invasion vote, then moved to common ground in Sudan and ultimately emphasized that McCain knows how to win the war. Nicely played. 

The foreign policy expert came off sounding like a bad high school history teacher.  The “dummy” on the subject more than held her own.

C. Edmund Wright:

Nice little transition to letting the pundits tomorrow calling Biden out on the lies (not that any of them will, but it's a nice thought)....and did Biden just say that it would be a "national tragedy of historic proportions" if he had to be President. Heck, I agree with that.


Rick Moran:

 
She is doing much better than I thought possible. I knew she would be fine with domestic issues but I've been impressed with her foreign policy answers. Not as wide ranging as Biden's but she shows a basic understanding of  and a grasp of some of the underlying issues.
She is doing well enough to make a liar out of me - and I think she is impressing millions.

Biden? What's with the smirk, Joe? No doubt Kyle Anne is smiling to herself. We talked on my radio show about the probability that Biden would not be able to help himself and would be his regular condescending self, thus angering millions of American women.

Biden may be outpointing her. But she is holding her own for the most part - showing everyone that she belongs on the same stage. 

C. Edmund Wright:

ANWR and not checking opinions at the door...nice line. And thankfully a mention that there is greed in Washington and not just on Wall Street.

And anyone who believes Joe Biden "spends a lot of time in Home Depot" raise your hand.

 
Rick Moran:

Holy cow. She's taking over the stage. She is starting to dominate him.

C. Edmund Wright:
 
Oh no....more and more and more money for public education. Where is the Republican in this debate? What about choice?
Wow. Never thought that was possible.

Kyle-Anne:

Palin may be getting a little tired, and Biden seems to be warming up.  That's not good, because it will be the last impression that sticks.

The inevitable heartbeat-away question.

Sarah is back on her own game and reminding us that she brings a bit of "Wasilla-Mainstreet" to DC.  It came across as genuine and very authentic.

Biden tries to throw in Home Depot and his neighborhood and sounds as phony as a 3 dollar bill.

She comes on again with that charming common sense, and talking about coming from the family of school teachers.  She is on her game again with educattion.  And Palin reminds EVERYONE that she has children in public schools.  No other candidate can say that, now can they?

The woman comes across as Reagan in a skirt. 

Ed Lasky:

Aside from cutting off Palin a couple of times, Ifill does not seem to be biased in her questions and approach. Sorry, folks, I just don't see it-maybe all the hubbub the last two days moderated the moderator.

Memo to Biden-we did fund No Child Left Behind-this is another canard that takes advantage of arcane budget customs in DC

Palin makes a good point about her executive experience. Biden has none.

Marc Sheppard:

She caught attacking Bush again.   Now he’s going after Cheney.  His attempt to merge the sitting with the aspiring administration and attacking the latter by defaming the former is simply not working.

Ed Lasky:

CNN-which I do sample every now and then-has a gauge measuring uncommitted voters in Ohio. The tally has been running since the start of the debate. Palin does well, overall.
I am sure the house is not Biden's entire investment

Rick Moran:

 

Ifill is bending over backwards to show how impartial she is. I think she has been as unobtrusive as is possible which is a big change from 2004 when her hostility toward Cheney was palpable.

I think the publicity about her writing the book shamed her.

C. Edmund Wright:

The only thing I like about this night is that some of you think it's gone well. I think it's been a disaster, mainly for the missed opportunity. I hate it. Rush will hate it. I don't think the
polls will treat McCain-Palin well in the coming days. And if I hear Maverick one more time, my laptop is history.

Ed Lasky:

I agree with Kyle. Palin seems to be stumbling a bit into the close. She surely could have pointed to many examples of McCain being able to reach across the aisle-it is not just Lieberman.

Thomas Lifson:

Joe Biden admits to using ideology for his judiciary choices. At least he is honest.

Now that it's over, I think Palin undid some of the damage from the interview gotchas. This may show up in the polls. Gwen Ifill did a good job, though her disgrace in not revealing her conflict of interest remains.

Kyle-Anne:

Anyone who says that Joe Biden won this debate, I believe, is thinking in terms of an abstract point system, not in terms of who has made the best impression on real voters.  Sarah Palin relates to voters in the way that Reagan did. 

Joe Biden is coming across now as the angry liberal.  And everything has to do with money.  Anyone ever notice how the only things Democrats seem to think government does is redistribute income. 

Sarah Palin talks about the work, not the credit.  Very effective.

Biden promises not to question the motives of others.  Nice for a party, but does it actually do anything.

Palin zeroes in on policy and ignoring party affiliation, while relying on agreeing on policy.

Palin's knock at the "filter of the media" perfect.  Also, reminding all that she is proud of America and also happy.  Invoking Reagan with absolute authencity.  And reminding people that freedom is never free and McCain is the only one who has ever fought for us.  Very effective closing.

I don't know...but Biden's stalwart reliance on the old liberal line of we're-the-ones-who-care guys...it comes across as stale.  Very stale.

And not a single question on abortion.  Odd, don't you think?

C. Edmund Wright:

I am very interested in the tete a tete Palin and Biden are having now -- after the debate. Very interesting facial expression there for Palin. Who can read faces?

Rick Moran:

It was Biden on points. His responses were sharper and his attacks were cleaner.
But trying to paint Palin as stupid or slow witted will never sell. Palin showed a lot out there, she showed she belonged on the same playing field as Biden and scored some good zingers.

And Biden did himself no favors by smirking throughout the entire debate. Don't know how that will play but I suspect we'll find out before too long.

All in all - she stopped the bleeding and may have begun to win back some indies and working class women.

Marc Sheppard:

Overall Sarah was composed and spoke to Americans while Joe appeared uptight and mostly addressed the moderator.  While wise to avoid attacking Palin directly, Joe continued to make a batter case – though still a weak one – against those presently in the White House than against his ticket’s opponents.  When Sarah did attack, it was Obama she targeted, and mostly in response to a Biden whopper.

This was the Sarah that caught America’s hearts and imagination at the convention.  She presented herself as genuine, personable, informed, responsive and decisive.

On the other hand, this was the Joe the Dems didn’t want to show.  He seemed tense, repetitive, cold and programmed.

Funny how the MSM spent the last few days demeaning the abilities Sarah excelled at tonight and trying to convince us she needed to be trained for this appearance as she lacks spontaneity.  And yet, when show-time came, it was Biden, not Palin that appeared scripted.

Palin on points.  Polls should pop tomorrow, MSM whining notwithstanding.

And you must admit -- Gwen did a pretty good job of keeping the opinions confined to the stage

Ed Lasky:

I hope John McCain focuses on Barack Obama's history in Chicago and signal lack of accomplishments-as well as his refusal to release records of his past-transcripts,etc. I hope McCain tries to educate people about the Democrats role in the housing/finance debacle. He has to fight for this election-raise legitimate doubts about Barack Obama: his experience, his record, and-yes-his judgment.
Palin made no noticeable gaffes-which is what people were focused upon. She did fine-she could have done better.
Biden did give a good debate performace, overall. He did show a command of facts.

Thanks to everyone. The blog is now closed. Except for Richard Baehr:

If you were listening on radio the other night, you likely thought McCain won. If you listened on radio tonight, you might have thought Biden won (or might not- close call). As a former debater, my experience is that judges in college debates just look at arguments. That is much more like listening to a radio debate.

McCain the other night, Biden tonight, clearly much less so in Biden's case, had a bit the better of the factual argument . In Biden's case, it was mostly negative about McCain and Bush, almost nothing about Obama. But if you watched the debates, Obama was judged the winner the other night, because he was less formal- and seemed nicer, and passed the threshold test that he looks Presidential. . McCain seemed a bit dismissive of his opponent , and more formal.

Tonight you had a real charmer, with a common man or woman touch, against a pretty wooden performance by Biden- with little charm or personality at all. So in the TV debate, Palin cleaned his clock. She held her own and knew her stuff. But she related to people (the instant polls of undecideds seem to show she won decisively). Biden with all his facts and legislative history, did not relate well at all. The good news for McCain is that I suspect many more people saw this debate than Friday night's. Friday night is a bad night for TV viewing - it is a date night. Thursday is second only to Sunday for TV viewing numbers. So this is a plus for McCain, who is bleeding badly in the polls. If the House passes the financial bailout bill tomorrow, and the market comes back a bit, he will have a little wind at his back over the weekend. Maybe Obama's 6 point national lead drops to 4.


Now McCain needs to go on offense against Obama- before the next

debate- on Obama's singular lack of accomplishment, and inexperience- on how he has spent most of the last ten years running for higher office. A few references to Reverend Wright and Bill Ayers would not hurt either, since it emphasizes Obama's history of radicalism, which few people know about. McCain also needs to follow up on Palin's ability to simplify the major themes of the election choice-higher taxes versus lower taxes in terms of impact on job expansion, massive new spending versus lower government spending, government solutions for everything versus more personal responsibility.

Make hay of Obama being most liberal, Biden 3rd most liberal member of US Senate, and how that makes bipartisanship impossible. it is telling how little time Biden spent talking about Obama.