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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Debate Prep

Well, the big day has finally arrived. Tonight, in what will almost certainly be the most-watched VP debate in history, Sarah faces off against Sen. Joe Biden with all the marbles on the line. I don’t want to get too bogged down in analysis, but I do genuinely think that all signs are pointing to a Palin win. Consider the following:

1) While I think that much of the criticism of Gov. Palin’s creatively edited interviews with Katie Couric has been overblown, it has succeeded in lowering expectations. In some cases, I think they have been lowered so far that it is literally impossible for Sarah to perform worse than expected.

2) Gov. Palin is generally regarded as a good debater. Coupled with low expectations, even a typical performance from Sarah will be regarded as a major win.

3) Thanks to her book on Obama, Gwen Ifill will be under more scrutiny than any moderator in history. She will likely go overboard to ensure that she is seen as unbiased, meaning that the questions will likely be fair ones rather than “gotcha” pop quizzes a la Katie Couric.

4) Debates cannot be edited. Both the Gibson and Couric interviews were edited to eliminate Gov. Palin’s best answers, and sometimes to make it look as if she evaded questions that, in the REAL interview, she answered. In a debate, there is no way to censor a speaker, so if Sarah answers a question, the public will actually hear her.

Now, Joe Biden is a good debater and a formidable opponent. He’ll be tough to beat, but I think that the deck is currently stacked in Sarah’s favor. In their rush to destroy her, some in the media have created a situation where she can look “better than expected” simply by forming complete sentences and not behaving like a character from “Hee Haw.” Hence, if she does indeed look competent and prepared, she will get even more of a bounce than she otherwise would have. An otherwise "good” performance will be seen as “stellar”, and an otherwise “stellar” performance could rise to the rank of “legendary”.

No promises, but I am going to try to live-blog tonight’s festivities. Hopefully, we will be watching the launch of Sarahmania version 2.0. See you then.


politicman said...

Check out this printable Palin finger puppet. It's making it to my debate party:

Flavius Aetius said...

It would be interesting to see the unedited Couric interviews.

The bottom line is that the media has been in the bag for Obama and against Palin. There is no question that media bias has played more of a role this election than previous elections. While The View isn't necessarily "the media," they do reach out to a key demographic. The absolute difference between how they treated McCain and the Obamas has been deplorable and irresponsible as well as typical of the more mainstream media like Gibson, MSNBC and Couric.

Mountain Mama said...

Gwen Ifill's questions might seem fair tonight, but watch for "sins of omission:" if she avoids asking Biden about his plagiarizing, fibbing, bragging, or voting record.

I'm still furious that Ifill didn't disclose her book's BIASED, FAWNING title to the candidates ahead of time. ("The Age of Obama:" BLEAH!)

When else has a national debate moderator ever stood to PROFIT from the success of one of the candidates in the debate? This is just TERRIBLY unethical.

Lord, please help McCain-Palin WIN. Help Sarah do well tonight.

huskyonspeed said...

As one of your coworkers wrote, Adam, when discussing energy Sarah needs to bring up Biden voting against the pipeline back in the 70's. Just say that the caribou need to be patriotic and help us get out of the rut we're in.
In regards to the View, I can't believe McCain goes on there. Whoopi Goldberg is a joke. Saying if we put strict judges on the SC we will get slavery again? Has she read the 13th Amendment?
I saw the clip with Couric regarding disagreements with SC decisions. I don't mean to sound like a whiner, but that is not a question i recall any other candidate ever being asked.
Anyway, sorry for the ranting. I'm not too worried about Ifill. If she comes across as overly biased it will probably help Sarah anyway.

Vern said...

This could be a reversal of the McCain Obama debate, where pundits thought McCain won on the merits, but polls and focus groups felt Obama did better.

The MSM will certainly decry her generalisms and sparse use of facts or examples.

Palin should only do it more. Use ONLY "kitchen table" examples, not policy wonk crap. Sarah's job is to connect with the American people, to make the case that all those facts and figures and specifics have not helped Joe Biden do one thing in 30 years to help America, that for all his deliberation and eloquence, Barack Obama cannot name a single accomplishment.

All that thought and mastery of the issues didn't stop the financial crisis, didn't stop Iraq from deteriorating for years before the Surge, didn't stop Russia from going into Georgia.

What America lacked, is what America needs - someone who thinks like YOU do, who is willing to act to secure and defend US from all this nonsense that is going on.

tom paine said...

Adam, your comments about tonight's debate were almost spot on. Obviously, I am not as big of a supporter of Gov. Palin as yourself, but I really admire your honesty. It's interesting that if myself or anyone who does not blindly support Gov. Palin said some the things that you mentioned...they would be either ridiculed or vilified by a huge majority of the blog. So congrats on your courage.

Now, on the points you make:

1. Taking statements out of context such as the Couric interviews. No doubt this is the oldest political trick in the book. But it is difficult to deny some of Gov. Palin's ridiculous answers. Or what seemed even more damning, when Sarah would not even address the subject while dancing around the question.

2. "Gov. Palin is generally regarded as a good debater. Coupled with low expectations, even a typical performance from Sarah will be regarded as a major win."
Another rather brutally honest assessment on your part. Gov. Palin has done very well in previous major AK debates and the bar seems to have been set so low for Gov. Palin that she would have to forget McCain's name for it be considered a major gaffe. Of course, both sides try to lower the expectations in case their person does not do well.

3. "Gwen Ifill will be under more scrutiny than any moderator in history. She will likely go overboard to ensure that she is seen as unbiased..."
Again, you realize what so many here do not about how Ifill will probably react. On the other hand, it really should be a non-issue since Team McCain okayed Ifill and certainly knew (unless they are incredibly stupid and uninformed) about her book that was announced nationwide in July.

4. "Debates cannot be edited. In a debate, there is no way to censor a speaker, so if Sarah answers a question, the public will actually hear her."
Contrary to what many here might believe, you are entirely correct. We should get a much more true picture of the real Gov. Palin (and also Biden) during this debate than all the other mostly structured and scripted appearances of both of them.

As you said "if she does indeed look competent and prepared, she will get even more of a bounce than she otherwise would have. An otherwise "good” performance will be seen as “stellar”, and an otherwise “stellar” performance could rise to the rank of “legendary”."

Basically, Gov. Palin has much more potential upside in this debate simply because (rightly or wrongly) she has had so many issues the past few weeks. Her GOP convention speech, albeit nothing more than reading prepared material, gave McCain and Sarah an incredible boost but a great performance tonight could be much more viable and long lasting if Gov. Palin is the real deal. We shall see.

But again Adam, your honesty is truly refreshing in a sometimes wilderness of fluff, half-truths, and demonizing.

momprayn said...

I'm new at this but love this site & thought I'd give my "02". Your bloggers are pretty good & humorous! I'm another mom for Sarah in Texas!! My whole large family is crazy over her! TYPICAL comment: the young "bag boy" at the grocery store yesterday was saying he was not happy with McCain and was going to vote Independent but when Sarah was announced, he got excited & will vote for them (in hopes she will become President). Wanted to share with those that are interested in the "Bible codes"/prophecies: see and Both say Sarah is "encoded" in the Old Testament (& McCain) many times. She appears 12 times in the ELS. The number 12 means "governmental perfection" corresponding with her passionate quest for reform and in connection with Israel. Read a prophecy in Jan. that said there will be a VP "second to none" and will become a leader of this nation....maybe a modern day "Deborah" (Judges).?? Yes, I know this is controversial, etc. but thought it "interesting". Re the debate, etc. - yes, guys --- please PRAY for her!! I feel she is "God's pick" but we'll see......

Seth Adam Smith said...


I made a pro-Palin video and I'm trying to get it out there. Could you help me by putting it on your blog and/or sharing it with your contacts? Thank you!


pete said...

McCain is down 7 everywhere. She's got nothing to lose. It's time to take the gloves off. Obama is vulnerable all over the place.

-132 'present' votes
-born alive infant protection act
-doubling the cap gains tax
-Jeremiah Wright
-clinging to guns and religion
-Bill Ayers

She needs to attack Obama relentlessly. It's time for some payback.

Patriot1776 said...

Ok, can I ask something? I know Sarah is debating tonight, but if you go to the campaign website about 'events'...nothing. Nothing planned?

Obama is all over the map, Fl, MI, CO etc...yet McCain and Palin haven't done a thing.

I am deeply worried about the final outcome.

I trust in Sarah, I trust she will just be herself tonight and just answer the question as she always has (before the handlers) - with honesty and integrity. No more fear of these Washington elites.

But what is the McCain campaign DOING? Why are they not out there having rallies etc? Are they just working to shoot themselves in the foot further?

I pray that they prevail, but you have to put the effort forward. The consequences of Obama/Biden is truly scary.

Carlos Echevarria said...

Some zingers above for Sarah in my post.

Tonight Sarah will be Sarah, even the Huffington Post (isn't that her ex gay husband's last name?) ran a video of her debating virtues...LOL

Gwen "Obama Goose Stepper" Ifill is going to be under a microscope tonight.

Either way, Uncle Joe Bin Biden, D-Tehran, is going down...

AbiSomeone said...

Hey, Mosby2...if you check the news/media tab at the McCain site, you will see all the information about the VP dabate tonight.

And great post today, Elephantman!

techno said...

Here's the lowdown on Gwen Ifill-the worst is that she is totally in the tank for Obama; the least is that she is a professional journalist who stands to benefit financially if Obama wins the election. This smells to high heaven. A pig is still a pig regardless if you put lipstick on it. Using a sporting analogy a referee doesn't have to participate fully in influencing the game-all he has to do is make one or two calls that favor the side that he wants to win. Take my word if Sarah is too successful out of the gate Gwen will do something to try to trip her up. Folks, she doesn't care if her journalistic integrity is impugned.The sales of her Obama book will set her up for life. boy, I didn't think you conservatives could be so naive about life-many of you as Sarah once said live in la-la land!

techno said...

3 polls, Marist, Hotline and Gallup have McCain behind by 5 points and Rasmussen has McCain 7 points behind. Folks, as we sit now before the debate, I think if McCain and Sarah still win it will be like 2000 all over again where Obama wins the popular vote and McCain the electoral college. For McCain to do that he must hold Florida, Virginia, Indiana and Ohio, win all of the other states in the Deep South, hold Missouri and the breadbasket states and the Rocky Mountain states that Republicans traditionally win (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming)and Arizona. Thus as many experts have speculated it may come down to Colorado. Of course it could be a landslide for Obama and this analysis could all be academic. Sarah, the fate of this election is in your hands.

USMC15 said...

I hope that Governor Palin will show up in tonights debate as she did in previous debates during her run for Governor of Alaska. She truly is a formidible opponent and if she shows up she will wipe the floor with Senator Biden. OOOH RAH!!!!!

Tati Sabadini said...

Hi, Adam!
I'm a reporter from a newspaper, Correio Braziliense, from Brazil. And we are doing a article about the debate. We are asking voters to share their thoughts on Sarah Palin. Can you give your opinion about it too? The question is "Is Sarah Palin ready to be the next president?". The answer can be short, maybe 10 lines, the text has to be send today because we're publishing tomorrow. I hope you can help us with that. Please contact me on Our website is

momprayn said...

Just heard on Fox News from Carl Cameron (reporter for McCain campaign) reporting that Sarah will be on the "offense" and will be on the attack. I hope that is right!!!! Personally, I think (as another woman), that she will be much better with a man (than with women like Couric). And, yes, I think this might "make or break" the election with her "performance" but, that said, it is not "in her hands", but in God's. He is always in control of who is elected, etc. The question is we don't know His plans (even though she seems to be the one He'd want to us).
It's more complicated than that. Who can explain why He allows or doesn't allow things and what's in store for the future. But I'm encouraged by the way she was chosen, etc. A LOT of things had to happen first in order for that to happen that I don't take as "coincidence". So.....if He wants them to win guys, don't worry, with His intervention, they will.

Jeff Tompkins said...

So to sum up your post: "It's all the media's fault." LOL

dic'npam said...

1 thing sarah should put in perspective for the audience...straight up,to bidens face,look him in the eye if you will,,and state the obvious.''your ticket is upside down''.theres been an intentional subdefuge with regaurd to that issue,she should clear it up,and hammer it home.thats just one thing i would try to get across to the people..he may have expierience but he's not the number one.the inexpierienced person is at the top of their show and would have the final say on policiy,she would not..

12thMan said...

Why is Tom Paine Obama even here?

Rush was on it (as usual) today with the Mondull speech from '76 that Biden will most likely parrot, Biden being Biden and all...........

Levin's playing "The Best of Joe Biden" now. Sarah be Sarah? Let Biden be Biden!

tom paine said...

12thman asked...

"Why is Tom Paine Obama even here?"

Well man, I guess so that at least a semblance of balance appears on the board. I am sure that you were blind sided by Adam's very honest assessment of tonight's debate.

Or do you prefer the "Preaching to the choir" approach to politics?

techno said...

Politico reports that the RNC set a record in September by raising $66m breaking its all-time record; the next best month was $43m in October of 2000. The RNC spokesman claimed it was due to the strength of John McCain and Sarah Palin. Three points: John McCain was a small factor; there is no way that Sarah will be dumped, and money kept flowing in despite the relentless attack from the MSM and the mockery of Sarah's perceived gaffes. In politics money talks.

12thMan said...

"Well man, I guess so that at least a semblance of balance appears on the board. I am sure that you were blind sided by Adam's very honest assessment of tonight's debate.

Or do you prefer the "Preaching to the choir" approach to politics?"

No, in fact I'm all for crticism, as long as it doesn't sound like regurgitated talking points that came straight from, Fluffington Post, MSM, whomever.

Oh, and I like a little MERIT to make your criticisms legit. Don't just attack whomever for everything under the sun, else you'll have nothing at night.

You honestly think parroting an SNL skit or deliberately leaving out half the quote (mission from God) qualifies as legimate, critical journalism?

Some of her Couric answers (although I'm clearly of the opinion that Couric deserves NOTHING) were subpar at best, sure. That's why you gotta go out and refresh yourself and get in your element. She did just that. How many times has Biden NOT been ridiculous? I ask because it's much easier to count that way.

I can take aim at Bush, McCain, Reid, Pelosi, Frank, Schumer, Hillary, Dodd, Barry, Biden and whomever else I want to yet it'll have meaning because I don't do it for everything under the sun and there's merit to it. Can you do the same?

Patriot1776 said...

ok techno, what the HECK is the RNC doing with that $$$???!! I live in PA..nothing, no ads...only the McCain ones. What are they doing with all the cash?!

Is McCain telling them not to run ads?

I really can't figure out this is turning out to be a total disaster.

Mountain Mama said...

I encourage you to think POSITIVELY, Mosby 2!

It's barely October---

We can expect many (unfortunately costly) SURPRISES this month........

laurence said...

I assume that anyone who is chosen to be the moderator for the debate will have a candidate that they intend to vote for. Why pick on Gwen Ifill. Her book is not about Obama. It’s about politics in the early 21st century and the African-American. It’s not going to sell that many copies no matter who wins because very few Americans read books and even fewer read books about race and politics. It will be used in political science classes and read by people interested in race and politics in America.

Dean said...

I think this is a joke to have Gwen Ifill as moderator. At the very least Gwen should have disclosed her book deal. However, this was no accident on Gwen's part. Gwen Ifill is nothing more than a liberal hack. She works for PBS which is just another liberal think tank.

PBS does well with their other programing, but when it comes to politics it doesn't get any more liberal.

I think Sarah will do fine tonight. Sarah needs to implement the art of not answering questions point blank that she doesn't know or want to answer.

An example of this was last week during the McCain Obama debate. They both were asked what programs would have to be cut as a result of the bailout. Both candidates answered the question without mentioning one thing they would cut.

Go Sarah Palin!

laurence said...

The book was anounced months ago - believe me it was a known issue for the campaign. Everyone knew about her book. This is a non-issue.

Dogmom said...

I tuned into the debate because I've been undecided. However, Gov. Palin turned me off with her cutsie wink and grin. She really needs to stop. I wanted to throw a brick through my TV

Scott said...

dogmom you shouldn't judge according to someone's looks and mannerisms.. it's the equivalent of someone not voting for obama because his skin is too dark..

12thMan said...

Dogmom said:

"I tuned into the debate because I've been undecided. However, Gov. Palin turned me off with her cutsie wink and grin. She really needs to stop. I wanted to throw a brick through my TV"

And you came to a Palin blog to offer that brilliance? What, have all the Barack America blogs crashed with panic?

And what kind of look is she supposed to have? Permament scowl? Typical DC politician? Snake oil salesman?

Na, tonight's the night Sarah got her groove back. Let her show the world. Meanwhile were you impressed with Uncle Snarky? Must be easily if so.

tom paine said...

Well, I think that Adam hit it pretty square on how the debate might go. Sarah basically did fine. She probably did herself more good than she did for McCain. Sarah too many times did not have responses to Biden's attacks on McCain's record on a variety of items and she just left it hanging.

She came across overall okay and mostly didn't revert to the goofy "hockey mom...pitbull...lipstick...moose hunter" etc stuff that she seemed programed to repeat recently. Her reference to "Joe Sixpack" was probably the worst one tonight. I wonder if anyone who is familiar with her Alaska years ever heard her utter that phrase. It sounds like another idea of McCain's lobbyists and she should lose it.

The only big gaffe that (I think) I heard was not picked up by Ifill or Biden. Sarah said "...the mess on Main Street is causing the problems on Wall Street.." when she certainly meant just the opposite. I would need to read the transcript to see if that is correct. Or maybe the TV talking heads will note it tomorrow.

Both Sarah and Biden (but mostly Biden) really missed some great opportunities. She contradicted herself on the economy. He waffled a bit on his and Obama's vote differences. When Palin kept mentioning how McCain was this big "maverick" and agent of change I kept waiting for Biden to bring up McCain voting with President Bush 91% of the time. He did not and definitely blew that one.

There were quite a few smaller missed opportunities for both of them. Another one Biden missed was when Sarah mentioned that Biden should not be "looking back" so much. A few sentences later when Sarah was talking about something in Obama's past Biden should have said "hey Sar, what about that not looking back thing" and even she would have had to laugh.

It's also surprising that with all the prep work Sarah did not seem to know quite a few of McCain's past voting records.

That's my take...tomorrow we get the big spin from both sides!!!

12thMan said...

"She probably did herself more good than she did for McCain."

As I noted, Mac's gonna have to do that himself, and early returns that see him talking up Warren Buffett/Al Gore and giving up Michigan like he was the Wisconsin Badgers AREN'T encouraging.

She's in it for herself, clearly. 1)That's the only way to win because it's obvious McCain won't do it, 2)You could tell that she still isn't comfortable parroting McCain (Wall Street, global warming)--not that I blame her, and 3)Going down with the USS Straight Talk destroys her political future.

Rush is right (again), McCain is Al Davis.