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 It doesn't look a fair fight in the VP debate, as doubts grow over Sarah Palin's suitability to be on the Republican ticket, but it was only a few weeks ago, the campaign felt confident that Mrs Palin was on course to energise the base of the Republican Party and hopefully win over a large section of the independent vote.

While recent stumbles by Mrs Palin – notably in a series of interviews with Katie Couric on CBS News, and their Saturday Night Live parodies – have served to lower expectations for tonight, the fact remains that she has suffered tremendous damage not least with her burblings about Alaska, Russia and her so-called foreign policy expertise.

Democratic Party VP candidate Joe Biden is not without faults, of course, but many think that his biggest challenge will be not to patronise Mrs Palin and nor to eviscerate her to the point where viewers, especially women, begin to feel sorry for her. Read more.

Question: Will the VP debate be the start of Palin re-building her reputation? Or will Biden triumph?

Edit: Joan Smith in The Independent on Sunday ponders on whether Palin's enthusiastic anti-intellectualism may actually play pretty well.

Comments

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(no subject) - erynn999 - Oct. 2nd, 2008 09:48 am (UTC)
del_burton wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 10:22 am (UTC)
This debate is going to be a tricky one.

I think Palin will be under greater scrutiny as there is a perception that of the two VP candidates, she's more likely to become President if McCain wins than Biden is if Obama wins.

I think you underestimate Palin at her peril. What she may lack in details and policies I think she makes up for by winning over the audience by being one of the people.

Biden also has to avoid some of the gaffes he's made in the past (http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/dominic-lawson/dominic-lawson-why-should-anyone-trust-joe-biden-946127.html).
calchandler wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 03:29 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure how long her being one of the people will continue to win over the audience. Her interviews with Couric are starting to cause people that liked her for that reason to seriously start to question her ability to handle office.
(no subject) - del_burton - Oct. 3rd, 2008 07:42 am (UTC) Expand
heavenly_action wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 11:11 am (UTC)
I predict that she will keep it personal and not about policies or issues at all. She will appeal directly to a populist sentiment. I'm hoping though that she does go specific because we'd like to have that from her. We need a better idea of how exactly she would govern. Being evasive and cute has worked for her so far with her base but the rest of us are left scratching our heads. No more whining about 'gotcha' questions we Americans have the right to know how sophisticated she is in foreign policy, the economy, healthcare. That is reasonable I don't care how much they try to spin it. Bidden on the other hand needs to say very little. Restraint is going to be his friend tonight.
renegade_blue wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 11:31 am (UTC)
I think Palin is being watched because people expect her to make fun of herself. Everyone knows Palin for the wrong reasons. If Biden can stick to the script so to speak and focus his arguments on incisive foreign policy counterarguments it can't fail.
galbinus_caeli wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 12:13 pm (UTC)
The question is bullshit. Presidential and vice presidential candidates should not be graded on a curve.
jeffxandra wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 12:22 pm (UTC)
Palin will use the standard techniques debaters use to avoid answering questions they don't have answers for: rephrasing, redirection, catch phrases and anecdotes.

As far as anyone can tell from her debates in Alaska, she can be very effective at these techniques. Whether or not the moderator allows her to get away with non-answers or presses her the way Gibson and Couric did, will determine the evaluation of her performance.

I still think there are enough damaging facts out there about Palin that she cannot significantly improve her image among voters. Those who support her will continue to do so, but I don't think she'll gain significant additional support.
lavenderfrost wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 01:22 pm (UTC)
There's no way to know for sure without actually seeing the debate, but I don't think Palin has much working in her favor at this point.

1. Her interviews with Charles Gibson and Katie Couric have pretty much gutted the her in the eyes of the media and a majority of the public. Even her own party is beginning to think she is or could be a liability.

2. Her aw-shucks small-town Hockey Mom charm may work for the smaller elections in Alaska, but I think most people realize we aren't dealing with Mayberry PD, here. The United States is not a small town, not even close. If nothing else, 8 years of Dubya has driven this point home.

3. Her alleged skill at non-answers and dancing around questions may have been an asset in other elections, and possibly this one, if circumstances were different. People are much more concerned about issues than image this year, though - they want actual answers to their questions and not just party lines and talking points.
mamculuna wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 02:15 pm (UTC)
The format is perfect for her to deliver meaningless sound bites and not be challenged. I think she'll do well. But hopefully future interviews will remind us that the soundbites cover a profound lack of knowledge and understanding.
wolfwyndd wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 02:26 pm (UTC)
Much as I dislike McCain's political leanings, I thought he was smart for picking a woman who's a hometown 'soccer mom' as a running mate to really connect his platform with the average american. However, now that she's been around for a couple of weeks, I really have to wonder why in the h@ll he picked her? Connecting with the average american is important, however, after seeing some of the few interviews with Gov. Palin, she comes off to me as an uneducated ignorant fool who got as far as she has so far on her looks.

I was scared for America before that we might have John McCain as our President simply because he would take America in a direction that would help our world standing. I'm even MORE fearful now that if John McCain gets elected and then dies while he is on office, that Sarah Palin might be the President of the US. Judging from what I've seen so far, she couldn't govern her way out of a wet paper bag.
wolfwyndd wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 02:30 pm (UTC)
I was scared for America before that we might have John McCain as our President simply because he would take America in a direction that wouldn't help our world standing.
Sorry, that was a grammatical error on my part. That's suppossed to be WOULDN'T help our world standing. My bad.
(no subject) - unsilenceddream - Oct. 2nd, 2008 04:42 pm (UTC) Expand
lifeismagic wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 03:09 pm (UTC)
i think we may be expecting too much. from what i've heard, the debates are going to be pretty reined in, with limited back-and-forth between the two candidates. if it's just a straight-up Q&A without many followups, then she'll probably do fine -- she'll throw out a little self-deprecating humor, smoothly roll out the party line and the talking points, and the repubs will fall over themselves to say how she has completely redeemed herself and is once again america's sweetheart. especially if biden says anything that they can point at and call mean or sexist, which they'll do if he sneezes in her direction.
jeffxandra wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 03:14 pm (UTC)
which they'll do if he sneezes in her direction.

Actually I think they'll do it regardless of what he does.
(no subject) - lifeismagic - Oct. 2nd, 2008 03:27 pm (UTC) Expand
grace_om wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 03:23 pm (UTC)
Neither.

Palin will have snappy one-liners and evasions at her fingertips. Her hair and outfit will be perfect. She won't say anything of any substance.

Biden will show a depth of knowledge and understanding of the issues, but he will also make a gaff or two, which will be all over the place tomorrow.

No one's mind will be changed one bit, and the whole debate will be rather dull.

And afterwards the Republicans will whine about how the moderator was mean. Because of course as VP, no one will ever disagree with her or ask tough questions (and if they do, they're just a bunch of meanies).

nebulosity wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 03:23 pm (UTC)
Biden can totally take her. I just hope that Biden isn't being advised to "go easy" on Palin. :(

Edited at 2008-10-02 03:23 pm (UTC)
seldearslj wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 10:15 pm (UTC)
I find myself wondering if anyone would have "gone easy" on Hillary.
princekermit wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 03:27 pm (UTC)
I'll be more than happy to answer this tomorrow.

The expectation levels that folks are setting for this make it sound like Palin is the mooseburger being thrown to Biden's grizzly. Let's not forget that she is a politician. People have been lowballing Palin for awhile and I'm thinking there has to be something in there that made her stand out to John McCain (besides the ability to breed).

What concerns me is not the rampant sexism of people fearing Biden will "make her cry." It's that her bright-eyed, mommy-voiced stonewalling will be seen as "heroically standing up to Biden's onslaught."
calchandler wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 03:39 pm (UTC)
If Biden is very detailed in his evisceration of Palin, that may end up benefiting him. It's hard to hold idealistic views of someone when they can be argued point for point against them.

Patronising Palin would be one of the worst things he could do though. Biden needs to go through the debate treating her as an equal, no matter how he may feel about her.

Biden has made his mistakes in the past, but the thing for him to do tonight is to actually be less a politician trying to win votes and just give some straight talk. The more succinct Biden comes across, the more Palin will have to work to trim down her stammerings (rephrasing, anecdotes, etc).

From past interviews Palin doesn't seem knowledgeable enough to be able to do this. If Biden has done his homework, and avoids patronisation, then I feel Biden will likely triumph tonight.
chlorine_brain wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 06:38 pm (UTC)
Palin's "inexperience"
I think Senator Obama should be very careful about how much he criticizes Palin's "inexperience" because I would rather have an inexperienced candidate in the number two spot opposed to number one.
mightyafrodite wrote:
Oct. 3rd, 2008 04:20 am (UTC)
Re: Palin's "inexperience"
There's a difference between inexperience relative to others that have been in national politics longer versus Palin's level of inexperience, which is accompanied by lack of informed understanding of issues that affect the nation's populace and a lifetime of unfinished educational opportunities.
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