LiveBlogging Palin vs. Biden
Written by Bwog Staff
Hello! And welcome to Bwog’s exciting liveblog of the Vice Presidential Debate, brought to you by White House Bureau Chief James Downie and Bwog Editor Juli Weiner. Okay, let’s go.
9:05 PM: They’re both excited to be here. Palin wants us to ask ourselves if it’s a “good time or bad time” for the economy. Palin brings up John McCain’s warnings about Fannie and Freddie.
9:06 PM: Oh, god, Palin mentioned how McCain suspended his campaign and there were Partisan Laughs in the Piano Lounge, where your Bwog correspondents are stationed.
9:07 PM: Biden reminds everyone that McCain said the “fundamentals” of the economy are strong, just two weeks ago he said this thing.
9:08 PM: Palin said McCain has a “team of mavericks.”
9:09 PM: Ifill says Palin “didn’t really answer that last question.” Huge Partisan Laughter.
9:10 PM: Both at least have made sure to mention/credit the top of their tickets in every answer…
9:11 PM: Hockey moms and Joe Sixpack mention #1
9:12 PM: This debate has significantly tighter rules than the presidential debates, which many thought would help Palin. Actually, it may help Biden more, because he’ll have to shut his mouth.
9:13 PM: Biden is talking about his friend named “Joey” who doesn’t even know how much it costs to fill up his own gas tank.
9:14 PM: Biden said Obama supported deregulation across the board. First sharp argument of the debate. “I may not answer the questions the way moderator wants to hear, but I talk straight to the American people.”
9:15 PM: Why is Palin arguing on the “not answering the question” charge? Politicians normally ignore it.
9:16 PM: Biden says no one making less than $250k will see their taxes raised. “That seems to be simple fairness.” Biden is calling McCain “John.”
9:17 PM: Palin directly addressing Biden to try and equal the stature field. Saying he and Obama are taxing small businesses is straight out of GOP Talking Points 101.
9:19 PM: Biden says “I don’t know where to start.” He says a list of places he’s lived. He says 95% of small business owners make less than the aforementioned $250k. Biden calls McCain’s health care plan an “Ultimate Bridge to Nowhere.” There is clapping, and “oooh-ing!” in the Piano Lounge.
9:21 PM: Though that was a zinger, Palin’s managing to stick to her script and not do too terribly. Biden stumbles through “characterize.”
9:23 PM: Palin tries to reverse the standard narrative by claiming she took on the oil companies as governor.
9:24 PM: Palin says her area of expertise is “energy.” She says, “How long have I been at this, like five weeks?”
9:25 PM: Biden says Obama voted for the energy bill because there was real support for alternative energy. He says McCain is adding $4 billion in tax cuts for “the Exxon-Mobils of the world.” Biden says that he and Barack want to give money back to America like Palin has been able to do for Alaskans.
9:26 PM: On to the economy. Palin is talking about the “corruption and the greed on Wall St.” She brings up McCain and Fannie and Freddie again. Why does she keeping bringing up that McCain suspended the campaign?
9:27 PM: Biden kind of avoids a question about a bill he supported that Obama didn’t. He says they both support bankrupcy courts being allowed to adjust the interest rates and principal rate on mortgages. He says he thinks McCain and Palin don’t support this too, but he’s “not sure.”
9:29 PM: Uh, Palin refuses to discuss the economy and says she wants to talk about energy independence.
9:30 PM: And the focus group lines crater. What will the media think tomorrow about her constant refusals to answer the question? They don’t like getting pushed aside.
9:31 PM: Ifill bites back with “Let’s talk about energy issues.” Palin tries to thread the needle on global warming, and the focus group lines don’t actaully move that much.
9:32 PM: Palin says she “doesn’t want to argue about the causes of climate change,” despite this being the exact question she was given.
9:33 PM: Biden thinks the cause of climate change is man made. He says McCain has voted 20 times against funding alternative energy. He wants to export clean coal technology to China and other places.
9:34 PM: Palin says the chant is “drill baby drill.” What is she talking about? Who chants this? She says that Biden and Obama think offshore drilling is “raping” the intercontinental shelf.
9:35 PM: Biden and Palin both support clean coal technology.
9:36 PM: Now we’re on to same-sex benefits. Biden supports it. He says that the Constitution supports this, there is scattered clapping in the Piano Lounge.
9:37 PM: Palin says she’ll be “tolerant,” claims being gay is a choice, a “lifestyle people choose for themselves.”
9:38 PM: Biden nor Obama support “redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage.”
9:39 PM: Okay! On to Iraq. Palin says we have a plan for withdrawl but we do not need “early withdrawl.” She says “we’ve got to win in Iraq” and says the Surge has worked.
9:40 PM: Biden says there must be a timeline for withdrawl. Obama says it’s time for Iraq to spend their own money.
9:42 PM: Palin to Biden: “Your plan is a white flag of surrender.” Yet the focus group numbers just went from very positive for Biden to really negative.
9:43 PM: Biden has also figured out generally that he can take shots at McCain because Palin hasn’t fought back until the most recent exchange.
9:44 PM: Palin uses “another story” phrase to describe Obama twice in about ten words.
9:45 PM: Greatest threat? Nuclear Iran or unstable Pakistan?
9:45 PM: Biden says they’re both threatening. He says Iran getting nukes would be “very destabalizing.” He says that McCain continues to tell us that the central front for the war on terror is in Iraq. Biden thinks it will come from al-Qaeda planning in the hills in Pakistan.
9:47 PM: Palin pivots away from the question, cites support for Iraq strategy fighting “the leader of Al-Qaeda there.” Then she rambles into an answer on Ahmadinejad and “the Castro brothers.”
9:48 PM: She still will probably beat expectations though.
9:49 PM: Biden clarifies Palin’s statements about meeting with Ahmadinejad without preconditions. Ahmadinejad doesn’t control nuclear weapons in Iran, he says.
9:50 PM: Biden says McCain will not even talk with adversaries. He says McCain wouldn’t even sit down with the government of Spain, that has troops in Afghanistan with us now. Biden: “I find that incredible.” Claps, and Partisan Laughter!
9:51 PM: Palin says a “two state solution is the solution.” She’s talking about Israel, and how she doesn’t want to “see a second Holocaust.”
9:52 PM: Biden refers to himself in the third person and says that no one has been a better friend to Israel than him, Joe Biden.
9:53 PM: Biden said that we should have moved NATO forces into Lebanon. We didn’t, and now Hezbollah is a presence there. Biden says we must back Israel and stand with them, and no insist on specific policies like Bush.
9:54 PM: “I’m so encouraged to know that we both love Israel!” Palin gushed to Biden.
9:55 PM: Palin respects Biden for respecting McCain. Biden wants to know how McCain’s policies are different from Bush’s.
9:56 PM: He keeps saying the phrase “same as George Bush’s.” This is comical!
9:56 PM: Ifill: What should be the trigger in terms of when we should use nukes?
9:56 PM: She says that regimes should not be allowed to acquire weapons. “Can we talk about Afghanistan real quick also?” Well yes, we are. She’s talking about the success of the Surge, and implmenting it in Afghanistan.
9:57 PM: She says we’re building schools for children and fighting terrorists in Afghanistan. And this is when we should use nuclear weapons!
9:58 PM: Biden says that commanding general in Afghanistan said that the Surge will not work in Afghanistan.
9:59 PM: Biden purposefully repeats himself two separate times in one answer. He seems like he’s starting to share McCain’s disdain for his debate opponent.
10:01 PM: Palin and Biden disagree on whether the commanding general said this thing.
10:02 PM: Biden is talking about his recommendations for Bosnia. “The end result was it worked.” Now there is a stable government there. Biden is talking about how the President said he needed to keep sanctions on Iraq, not go to war.
10:02 PM: “We should rally the world to act” re: Darfur.
10:03 PM: Palin says she’s not “used to the way you [Washington insiders] work.”
10:04 PM: Like last time, the deeper the debate goes into foreign policy, the better one candidate does. This time it’s Biden. Also, the format of this debate has forced talking points to take precedence over policy explanations, unlike the first debate.
10:05 PM: Biden says he never supported McCain’s stance on the war and suggests you go to JoeBiden.com and see for yourself!
10:06 PM: “John McCain was lockstep with Dick Cheney about how this was going to be easy.”
10:06 PM: Palin disagrees. “John McCain knows how to win a war. He knows what evil is.”
10:07 PM: What if your running mate died while in office?
10:07 PM: Biden would “carry out Barack Obama’s policies” and goes about naming them.
10:08 PM: “Most important election we will ever have voted in. In essence I agree with every major initiative he has suggested.”
10:09 PM: Palin: “What do you expect? A team of mavericks — we’re not going to agree on everything.” She winks.
10:09 PM: She wants to get rid of greed and corruption. “A little reality from Wasilla Main St.”
10:10 PM: Biden says he spends a lot of time in Home Depot. Just like your dad!
10:11 PM: He says the middle class has gotten the short end. Barack Obama will change this.
10:11 PM: “Say it ain’t so, Joe!” Palin says in a ridiculous southern accent.
10:12 PM: Oh, damn. Palin says Biden’s wife Jill’s “reward is in heaven” for being a teacher. On a related note, Biden’s first wife died in a terrible car crash.
10:13 PM: Palin says Ifill’s remark was a “lame attempt at a joke” because no one got it.
10:14 PM: Biden “has a history of getting things done in the Senate.”
10:16 PM: According to Palin, the founding father’s were “flexible” in their definition of the responsibilities of the vice president.”
10:17 PM: Biden: Cheney has been the most dangerous vice president. Clapping and cheering in the Piano Lounge.
10:18 PM: Much as some in the Piano Lounge roll their eyes at “small-town America” talk, Palin does well when she can stick to that. CNN putting each question on the screen probably hasn’t help her dodge questions though.
10:21 PM: Biden chokes up a little while talking about worrying bringing up kids, given the death of his wife.
10:22 PM: Palin’s repeating her talking points.
10:23 PM: Biden “Let’s talk about the Maverick.” McCain voted four times for Bush’s budget. “He has not been a Maverick.” McCain has not been a Maverick on virtually anything that people talk about around the kitchen table.”
10:24 PM: Ifill: Issue that you are forced to change a long-held view to usher in change?
10:24 PM: Biden is talking about his time at the judiciary committee. Palin is talking about times she didn’t veto budgets. “There hasn’t been something that I’ve had to compromise on.”
10:26 PM: Ifill: How do you change the partisan tone?
10:27 PM: Biden says he learned a lesson from Mike Mansfield about this thing. It’s a story about Jesse Helms and what if he adopted a child with special needs? Uh, what if? Anyway moral of the story: don’t question people’s motives.
10:28 PM: Palin says the “proposals have to speak for themselves.”
10:29 PM: Biden’s been able to close this debate strongly with several personal stories that have matched Palin’s ability to empathize with “small-twon America.”
10:30 PM: Palin closes by saying she and McCain will “fight for America” and for freedom. Ends the debate on a very negative note, warning of the end of “freedom.”
10:31 PM: Biden sticks to the Obama campaign message by emphasizing the need for change. He ends with a shout-out to Scranton values, “dignity,” says Obama and he will reassert those values.
10:32 PM: The debate’s over. Enjoy the partisan pundits afterwards!