2008 Vice Presidential Debate: Liveblogging

PHOTO: Sarah Palin, right, prepares the debate at a ranch owned by McCain.

Dü-veeeeeep dü-ba-dü-ba-dü-ba-debate!

» Skip down to my conclusion «

Baseball is really good at making me sleepy. Gonna drink an iced coffee so I can stay awake. That’s right. Iced. Coffee. I’m an elitist.

If you’re one of those three people that have internet but no TV, you should be able to catch the debate live on MSNBC.com.

BTW, do you think prepping at a creek is preferrable to prepping indoors?

It has begun. Palin apparently did not come up with an excuse to skip town.

This is my first debate in HD. Biden looks a lot older with higher resolution.

Palin is not so good at repeating stories she’s memorized in a way that sounds authentic.

Good for Biden. Palin wasn’t telling the truth when she said that McCain’s been on top of economic issues from the beginning.

I can’t believe Palin repeated that garbage about the fundamentals of the economy being the American workforce. And she says Biden is too old to be the change candidate. Has she met her running mate?

At this rate, Palin is gonna use up all her catchphrases by the 30 minute mark. Proclaiming herself Joe-Sixpack and a maverick are the highlights so far.

Palin’s repeating lies about Obama’s tax record.

Biden can barely keep from cracking up at Sarah Palin’s responses. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing.

Palin blatantly changed the subject twice when confronted with McCain’s record of consistent deregulation.

Palin’s family makes $250,000 a year. Is that middle class as she claims?

Biden got a good zinger in comparing McCain’s healthcare plan to the Bridge to Nowhere. And he explained it exactly right. If you don’t like your health care supplied by your employer and you’d like to buy it yourself, McCain is your man.

My question to Palin: What reform did he ask for two years ago? Why did he say he was surprised by the mortgage crisis less than a year ago?

Biden and I think alike (see question above)…

Palin dodged the question again, because she doesn’t know anything about the economic question she was just asked. But she does know how to talk about drilling for oil. Yay.

Another question to Palin: How do you solve the climate crisis if you don’t the cause?

Biden proves again that he and I think alike (see question above)…

I’m glad that Biden cut off the attack line on nuclear. Obama has never opposed it outright, he just wants more safety guaruntees.

She uses another catchphrase: “Drill baby, drill!”

Biden isn’t gonna win me over with his support for “clean” coal. Does that make me a tree hugger?

Gay rights time.

I wish Obama & Biden would support gay marriage rather than civil unions. I guess they believe in separate but equal.

But Obama is lightyears ahead of McCain and Palin. Nice to know she’ll “tolerate” gay couples.

She badly dodged another question. I hope someone is keeping count.

Palin claims the surge is an exit strategy and repeats laughably rehearsed lines about the heroes John McCain and Petraeus. And then she basically called Obama a traitor.

You can tell that Biden is more in his element on foreign policy.

Palin out of nowhere says that Obama and Biden are calling for surrender. Charlie is going nuts over her pronunciation of EYE-RACK.

“NUKE-YOU-LAR!!!!” Heh.

Biden takes the reasonable approach to Iran and Pakistan. Palin takes the hardline, you’re with us or against us, and likely the second coming of Hitler. That’s a paraphrase.

“Back-E-up-there!!!!” Heh.

Biden repeats the line about McCain being unwilling to talk to Spain. I think it seems a little contrived the second go-round.

I suspect Palin is lying when she says she supports a two-state solution in Israel. Not a chance if she’s been schooled by AIPAC as reported.

Biden uses the third person, “No one has been a better friend to Israel than Joe Biden.” WTF.

Palin claims that criticizing George Bush is a sign that Obama won’t change anything. And she calls McCain and “maverick” again. It sounds soooo lame.

Now we hear again that McCain wants to have a “surge” in Afghanistan. The “surge” is the new cure-all.

Biden pwns Palin. He says the commander in Afghanistan has stated that the “surge” tactics wont work in Afghanistan.

I’m waiting for a fact check on that commander’s quote on the “surge” in Afghanistan. Palin disputes it. (Here is the fact check from ThinkProgress, Palin is wrong about the name of the commanding general in Afghanistan.)

She’s looking down a lot. Seems like she’s reading notes for a speech. Not cool.

I don’t know what to think about Darfur. I don’t how how we could possibly fix it without making it worse for a long time. Either way, Biden is able to articulate a position about it, while Palin is reading talking points about entirely different topic for most of this discussion.

Palin calls herself and McCain mavericks again. You shouldn’t be allowed to do that! Seriously. Oh and.. Drill baby drill!

We just learned Biden discusses foreign policy in Home Depot.

What the hell is she rambling on about?

She’s dodging the question about whether or not she agrees with McCain and his idea of the Veep belonging to the 4th branch of government.

Biden has a clear answer on the same question. Simply that the VP is part of the executive branch, and Cheney sucks. Can’t turn off too many independents dissing the amazingly unpopular Dick.

Now Palin is dropping in her biographic information. Probably would have been more effective in the 1st part of the debate.

Biden says his Achilles Heel is too much passion. *Rolls eyes*

Is Biden tearing up?

Palin calls McCain a maverick again. Ughh. Uh oh. She said it twice in one answer. AHHHH!!!

She’s says we’ve got to win the wars, but didn’t she already say we’ve won in Iraq thanks to the “surge”?

Biden calls out Palin’s description of McCain as a “maverick.” I guess he got tired of the label after Palin mentioned it the 1,000th time.

Biden’s biggest change is that he now supports an ideological test for SCOTUS judges. No kidding. I’d be surprised if he wasn’t lying about that.

Palin says her biggest change is that she wants more tax cuts! Less pork! But she couldn’t get it done in Alaska. Aw shucks! Dagnamit!

She’s rambling again.

Closing statements
Palin attacks the “filter of the mainstream media.” Is she claiming the Couric and Gibson interviews were badly edited? She says she understands middle class issues, but in the entire debate she never addressed them. Then she goes onto a discussion about the greatness of America, McCain and freedom. Claims that McCain is the only person on either ticket that has “fought” for America.

Biden makes an eloquent statement about how Obama/Biden won’t measure progress simply by how many tax cuts they can pass.

My conclusions
First off, the moderator Gewn Ifill was bad, but I can’t be sure it was because of the rules laid out by the campaigns or because she was cowed by recent rightwing calls of bias. Sarah Palin completely dodged a few questions, and Ifill should have called her on it.

Palin for her part, rambled just like she did during the Couric and Gibson interviews, but because Ifill and Biden didn’t press her on actual responses she was able to dodge. She didn’t dodge very well, but she dodged none-the-less.

Biden started off really slow. He looked like he couldn’t figure out how to respond to the big joke that is Palin. But once the topic moved to foreign policy, he began to clean her clock stylistically and substantively.

The whole thing was exhausting, and I can’t begin to predict how this will play with the Main Street, to employ an overused phrase of late. All I can say is that I hope Americans saw through Palin’s performance, because that’s all it was.


  1. Jordan

    Who is Joe Six-pack and what does he want?

  2. Chris

    More beer, and football 7 days a week. Clearly.

  3. Ted

    anyone catch Palin’s “Barack Obama and Senator O’Biden”

  4. Jordan

    “No one has been a better friend to Israel than Joe Biden.”

    Bob Dole says…

  5. Chris

    I caught that… but did you see when Biden almost said he was gay?

  6. Jordan

    He was probably thinking of you and your obsession with tea

  7. Chris

    Damn you.

  8. lauren

    word clouds from transcripts


  9. Chris

    I love how one of Palin’s top words is ‘also.’ She used that a lot to string together her canned and often unrelated talking points.

  10. Ian

    I’m sad I was out of town an missed the boat on timely commenting here. OK, not really sad, but I would’ve commented here while the debate was going on. I think the SNL skit hit it best when they claimed that as long as Palin didn’t run out crying or something, the media would call it a draw. I’m glad polls show most people thought Biden won (by about a 2 to 1 margin). I’m guessing that the majority of the people who said Palin won are in that 20 or so percent who still approve of President Bush.