Joseph Biden | News | Sarah Palin

Senator Joe Biden and Governor Sarah Palin Debate in St. Louis


Vice-presidential candidates Senator Joe Biden and Governor Sarah Palin exchanged opinions in the only debate they'll have at Washington University in St. Louis tonight. Here are some initial notes. I'll be adding to this.

road.jpg Debate transcript.
road.jpg CNN poll on who did best: Biden 51%, Palin 36% (video)
road.jpg CBS Poll: More uncommitted voters saw Biden as winner. "Forty-six percent of the uncommitted voters surveyed say Democrat Joe Biden won the debate, compared to 21 percent for Republican Sarah Palin. Thirty-three percent said it was a tie." (video)

road.jpg W in a skirt: Here's a side-by-side comparison of Bush in 2000 and Palin last night.
road.jpg Biden on Dick Cheney: "Vice President Cheney has been the most dangerous vice president we've had probably in American history. The idea he doesn't realize that Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the vice president of the United States, that's the Executive Branch...The only authority the vice president has from the legislative standpoint is the vote, only when there is a tie vote. He has no authority relative to the Congress. The idea he's part of the Legislative Branch is a bizarre notion invented by Cheney to aggrandize the power of a unitary executive and look where it has gotten us. It has been very dangerous."
road.jpg Strange moment where Palin refuses to answer a question on campaign promises.
road.jpg Won't defend McCain on deregulation.
road.jpg Biden: McCain 'out of touch' on economy.
road.jpg Palin's biggest lie of the night, and her Katie Couric moment.

Two of Biden's best moments, on the difference between Obama's and McCain's policies on everything, and on his Achilles heel:

Palin sees her support dive when attacking Biden on Iraq. She also gets the Army Commander in Afghanistan's name wrong. It's David D. McKiernan:

Biden slams the "maverick" label and calls McCain's health care plan the real "bridge to nowhere".

road.jpg Ex-Bush officials: Biden won the night.
road.jpg Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: "Americans could not help but conclude that any president would be stronger and more confident with Joe Biden by his side."
road.jpg WSJ Washington Wire: "A confident, folksy Sarah Palin attacked the Democratic presidential ticket on taxes and partisanship, holding her own against her senior vice-presidential rival. Joe Biden, assiduously avoiding any direct attacks on his opponent, kept his focus trained on the top of the ticket, charging again and again that Palin’s partner, John McCain, wants to give tax breaks to the rich and deregulate the economy."
road.jpg L.A. Times Noam Levey: "Sarah Palin may have helped herself in debate, but not McCain."
road.jpg Marc Ambinder: "Averaging expectations, style and points, it was a wash. Partisans have reason to be satisfied; I honestly have no idea how undecided voters will react. But the topline here is that, when it comes to worrying about Palin, the McCain campaign can now exhale ..."
road.jpg Andrew Sullivan: "She doesn't have it. Maybe one day she might. But not now. Biden's peroration was very, very strong. There is no contest here."
road.jpg AmericaBlog: Sarah Palin's 18 lies.
road.jpg Shrum: "McCain lost the VP debate too..."
road.jpg WaPo's Eugene Robinson: "The pattern, so far, has been one of Biden presenting facts and Palin countering with… saying stuff."
road.jpg CNN's Bill Schneider: "Palin's answers do not lack confidence, they lack coherence."
road.jpg Chicago Sun-Times: Palin survives, and Biden thrives...
road.jpg Do Americans want a vice president who winks at them?

Rachel Maddow and Pat Buchanan discuss the debate's ultimate impact, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. If I hear the word 'maverick' or 'betcha' (as in you betcha!) again, it will be a day too soon.

    The US does not need a 'folksy' VP or God forbid President. The thought of this woman leading this country scares the crap out of me, and I just can't understand why it doesn't for everyone.

    Posted by: Gregus | Oct 3, 2008 12:15:48 AM

  2. It proved Matt Damon's point. Watching her was like watching a bad disney movie. It's horrifying and sexist that people are saying she held her ground. Hillary would have been annihilated if she answered the same way.

    Posted by: Kev in LA | Oct 3, 2008 12:20:06 AM

  3. Sarah Palin didn't answer the questions. She's perky as shit though.

    Biden cleaned her clock.

    Posted by: joe | Oct 3, 2008 12:26:48 AM

  4. Honestly, I was expecting a bloodbath, and I commend MY senator for his restraint. He didn't verbally assault her like he really could/should have, even though she kept avoiding the subject of the questions she was asked...economic status of the country=energy crisis? lol

    Oh, and the bit about Iran and Pakistan...nucular? Was it just me or did she mispronounce nuclear 3 times? Apparently, she didn't screw that one up in the RNC because it was spelled "new-clear" on the teleprompter...dumbass.

    Granted, she didn't make herself look like as big of a moron as I had hoped, but if you really listen to everything she says, she still paints herself into a corner and repeats the same general statement every time. Biden repeated himself, but when he did, it was a reference to something he previously mentioned, and he was aware that he did and even acknowledge the fact, proving that he at least paid attention to wtf he was saying.

    Posted by: Brian | Oct 3, 2008 12:35:32 AM

  5. I think she was coached by Bush...She kept saying "nuke-you-lure"!

    Posted by: CB | Oct 3, 2008 3:29:29 AM

  6. I thought Biden's moment when he discussed his family was one of his strongest. Palin kept pointing out how she was a mother but Biden stood his ground and informed her that parenthood, or single-parenthood in his case, isn't exclusively reserved for a woman. It was a very personal moment. He proved his superior knowledge throughout the debate but I was most impressed with him during that point.

    Posted by: Smith | Oct 3, 2008 4:00:42 AM

  7. Thank you, folks, for as Rachel Maddow would say) talking me off the ledge.

    I thought Palin did well, and I left the night feeling that >if< McCain loses, it won't be because of her. I also thought both candidates were balanced, and depending on what your wanted to hear, you could hear it.

    Joe was the consummate Statesman. Sarah the hockey mom.

    I guess it boils down to this; who does America want as that 1-heart-beat-away person?

    I hope people realize that Palin still does not know what a VP does.

    Posted by: Rad | Oct 3, 2008 6:33:46 AM

  8. Like Richard Dawkins says, a debate is fairly useless as a vehicle for getting at the truth. It is just another type of commercial really. A form of marketing... and like every other type of marketing, outright lies and exaggerations abound, and about every logical fallacy that is possible is committed, but few even notice or care. Thus, we put too much faith in debates, and I think there are better ways to decide who is the better candidate... but less entertaining of course.

    Posted by: Jay | Oct 3, 2008 8:16:07 AM

  9. (looking at my note cards) This thread is about the debate and you all are talking about the debate, but I am going to talk about puppies (furiously looking at note cards)

    Puppies are so cute (wink wink) ah shucks, puppies

    The debate? I'm going to talk about sunshine. Sunshine is nice (wink wink)

    (note cards note cards) Issues? Beer is good, but the carbs are a killer

    (note cards note cards)Your talking about a deeply emotional tragedy in your life. screw that and you, me a maverick arghhhhhhhh

    (wink wink)

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | Oct 3, 2008 8:31:13 AM

  10. I most certainly do not want a potential President who winks at the TV audience, repeatedly. Dagummit! Yeah, ya betcha, fer sure.

    La Palin acts (deliberate choice of term) as if she is running for Miss Congeniality of the Wasilla Junior League. I do not want a dour and bitter person as President, see John McCain, but this country needs a person of substance. Neither the top nor the bottom of the Repub ticket meets this de minimus standard.

    We need someone who recognizes the severity of the domestic and international economic and public safety issues that beset our country and the failed Repub policies that begat them. La Palin only talks 'change' and "new ideas" but did not--indeed cannot--cite to one instance where she or McCain actually brought it about. We cannot endure four more years of failed Bush-Rove policies and tactics without serious repercussions.

    Biden's tearing up as he recalled the death of his wife and the life-threatening injuries to his children was a perfect moment of insight into his soul and a striking rebuke to the studied cornpone folksiness of Palin.

    As for her declaration that she would not judge me or my family: go to hell! I do not give a rat's ass what she thinks of the state of my soul but I will not tolerate or abet her efforts to deny me and my brethren the fundamental human right to form my family with someone I love. She is more dangerous than an outright bigot because she cloakes her bigotry in the veil of "tolerance". I will not settle for being tolerated by her and her ilk. I demand that they respect my rights to live my life as I am as a full citizen of this country with inalienable rights. Tolerating me is worse than hating me because it denies your inherent bigtory.

    Palin's performance solidified her base, the closet racists who would never vote for Obama, but I am heartened that the inst-polls show her losing to Biden. I'll repeat what I have said before: the key to Obama/Biden winning this election is to get out the young people to vote. Please do your part to see that they do.

    Posted by: rudy | Oct 3, 2008 8:35:01 AM

  11. Rudy

    There you go again (wink) darn tooting (wink)

    Ah shucks, you know "tolerance" means dragging you down to the "pray away the gay" rally (wink)

    Hockey mom and joe six pack (wink) arghhhhhhhhhhhh maverick (wink)

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | Oct 3, 2008 8:49:15 AM

  12. BAH! typical liberal media bullcrap! Palin was fabulous and held her own... and all of you predicted her downfall! HA! When will you listen to YOUR QUEEN who speaks from authority AND knowledge AND experience! I AM WOMAN!!!!

    Posted by: the queen | Oct 3, 2008 8:56:45 AM

  13. The Queen

    you do not count. Neither do I. We cancel each other out

    The indies baby. It is all about the indies/ undecideds

    The indies/ undecideds just like last week give it to Biden hands down.

    (wink) golly gee wilikers (wink) Bankruptcies? I want to talk about taxes 9wink) maverick

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | Oct 3, 2008 9:04:27 AM


    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Oct 3, 2008 9:22:23 AM

  15. "Say it ain't so Joe"


    Posted by: daveynyc | Oct 3, 2008 9:24:57 AM

  16. Both parties seem to put more pertinence on rebuilding Iraqi and Afghani infrastructures rather than America's own. Besides obvious infrastructure concerns in the U.S. (bridges, highways, power grids), the ravaged Gulf Coast (and Tornado Alley) require and deserve immediate attention. Instead of building schools in Afghanistan perhaps immediate attention and funds should be allocated to U.S. schools and educating Americans (so you don't end up with such moronic V.P. candidates). Ultimately democracy at home for all citizens will no doubt make American foreign democratic overtures more believable.
    The day America starts working from within will be the day the world regards America with respect again.

    Posted by: healthcare | Oct 3, 2008 9:33:20 AM

  17. I'm glad that most people (beyond the drooling base and toxic-shocked Queen) don't seem to be buying the folksy shtick today. It gives me some reassurance that the American electorate hasn't lost its collective mind. Let's get real, straight up, she wasn't qualified to be president yesterday and she won't be tomorrow. She's a moderately intelligent (to call her dumb as rocks is a mistake) person with large ambitions who's quite capable of memorizing talking points and folksy expressions and delivering them zestfully. But, unlike Biden, who was impressive and presidential on any number of levels, she doesn't have a presidential bone in her hockey mom's body, and the fact that she was on that stage remains a joke no one should get. I'm still confused by how people somehow think she's "warm" and "real" when in fact she's thoroughly scripted and colder than a winter's afternoon in Alaska.

    Posted by: Ernie | Oct 3, 2008 9:58:16 AM

  18. She was bright, optimistic, perky, all-American and totally empty. She mentioned "world view" twice, and then proceeding to show that she didn't have one. McCain's choice of Sarah Palin will not help him with Independents (as JIMMYBOYO pointed out), and it may hurt him with old style, honorable Republicans (pre-Reagan Republicans). She was a mistake.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Oct 3, 2008 10:02:14 AM

  19. Healthcare, Keep in mind that the Veep's general position, not that Palin is aware of this, is to maintain foreign relations.

    And maybe I'm missing something, but it seems that people are calling this a draw simply because the woman that knows nothing about the position that she is applying for didn't use the phrase "I dunno". Hell, even a good portion of the mainstream media that I've observed is talking this asshat up.

    I can't help but notice that most people that are voting for McCain/Palin can't actually say why they are. A majority of Obama/Biden supporters can typically state why they prefer their choice, and not simply because Palin is totally lacking in experience and McCain's shelf life is 1 year at room temperature, and 2 years frozen. I can tell you that besides living 2 miles from Biden, I'm partial because he is cutthroat. He is a lawyer at heart, as well as a damn good friend of the community. Most people oppose him because he isn't afraid to do things like tell GW to his face that he's a effin moron for listening to Rumsfeld regarding terrorism.

    It's been said before that Palin is simply GW in heels. DAMN RIGHT SHE IS! When McCain dies in office, she will be the one making decisions, not based on what she thinks is appropriate, but what others want her to say. People, please, I beg you...realize that she has no actual opinion because she has NO EXPERIENCE! I'd be willing to bet that she has never seen the floor of the Senate, and call me critical, but in the case of the Veep it's somewhat important.

    Posted by: Brian again | Oct 3, 2008 10:05:32 AM

  20. WRONG -- jimmyboyo boyo boyo boyongyongyongyongyong -- AS I BOUNCE OFF THE WALLS LIKE A RUBBER BALL -- boyongyongyongyongyong -- i like many am an independent and see the light -- WE ARE LEGION!!! and the south will rise again!!! I HAVE SPOKEN -- I AM WOMAN!!!

    Posted by: the queen | Oct 3, 2008 10:10:55 AM

  21. What I struggled with is the fact that most media (and people) already had low expectations -- what's the deal with that? I pray it doesn't happen, but she could be running this country should McCain croak (which is a possibility)...that has got to be scary and the fact that there are still millions out there that think she's ready for this position -- seriously??

    Many of the comments said already note her failed attempts at answering the actual questions asked -- instead, she spurted out the memorized text, text on the note cards she couldn't take her eyes off (except when she winked at the camera - reminded me of that weirdo American Idol singer a few seasons ago), and in fact announced to us all that she would tolerate us (the gays)...well, thank you so much Sarah Palin, for tolerating us! Do we assume that any other type of person that you wouldn't normally hang out with you'd learn to tolerate too if you were VP?

    I know on this website, I am mostly 'preaching to the choir' but I am just baffled that there are still millions out there who love her, want to vote for her, and actually think she's ready to lead this country -- what does it take to convince you otherwise?? Do we really need four more years of a Bush-like country?? Look around -

    Posted by: DaninSea | Oct 3, 2008 10:38:03 AM

  22. It is obvious. Ms.Palin is not qualified to Vice President. She does not even know the requirement of the position she is running for. Help!

    Posted by: Tom Nunnery | Oct 3, 2008 10:39:08 AM

  23. can someone please tell me why all homosexuals are so fucking liberal???
    is it just gay rights? because if it's going to be a long time before a democrat speaks out publically in support of US. I have never heard Hillary, Obama and like say they stand up for gay rights and are willing to go to bat for them.

    Posted by: joe | Oct 3, 2008 10:52:02 AM

  24. The scary thing is that 36% voted that Sarah Palin won the debate. Ignorant idiots who don't check up on anything and who will blindly vote for the Republicans come election day.

    Posted by: Philip Wester | Oct 3, 2008 11:44:30 AM

  25. "can someone please tell me why all homosexuals are so fucking liberal???"

    Because they do something sexually that most conservative folks have (hypocritically) regarded as a filthy abomination...for over a couple of thousand years now, JOE.

    You ought to be liberal if you're an abomination, JOE. If not, you're like Roy Cohn, J Edgar Hoover, or Larry Craig. You like the sex, but don't like the title: GAY.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Oct 3, 2008 11:52:02 AM

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