Thursday, October 02, 2008

Near-Liveblogging The Debate

Through the miracle of TiVo and a new HDTV aerial (new today) I can see every one of Joe Biden's hairplugs. Amazing. Anyway, I'm about 20 minutes behind, so refresh to see my take as it goes along.

Joe is muted and low-key

Sarah blew the answer about the financial issue. She blamed the 'Predatory lenders' without mentioning the effects of the CRA, without mentioning the actions of Freddie & Fannie.

She is bright and assertive but a little hyperkinetic. So far she's able to bring details without having to look like she's straining.

Joe is hammering deregulation, she's not responding and sticking on the tax issue. Needs to stop using the term 'heat up' the economy.

Next question: why is raising taxes not class warfare?

Joe "It's called fairness". Hmm. 30% of income tax filers don't pay any taxes. "Simple fairness" IS class warfare. $300 billion to corporate America.

Sarah "redistribution of wealth" good reframe. And she hits the small business issue. Needs to meniton S Corporations. Backwards way of growing the economy. Nice. Looked like she was going to duck the question on health care. Handled it well. "Unless you're pleased with the way the federal government has run much of anything..." Tap that anger, girl. She also snuck in the word 'Universal' -- that's a Frank Luntz word.

Joe is making a lot of hay out of the tax credit for healthcare. Spouts a lot of numbers but I doubt his specifics. I will have to look this up. $12K per insured, that's a lot of money. Maybe more than the entire private health insurance market.

Ifill reasks the "what promises will you not be able to keep?"

Joe Biden promises to slow down foreign aid, and not to keep John McCain's campaign promises regarding taxes. Will keep alternative energy, education, health care. Eliminate wasteful spending, mentions $100 billion tax dodge for offshore tax havens.

Doesn't tell one thing to one group & one to another. Energy bill 2005 -- "That's what gave those oil companies those big tax breaks" Biden used the $4 billion for XOM line twice, she turned it around and sank it in his eye socket. No, there's no promises we won't keep.

Biden responds that Barack Obama voted for it because it had alternative energy things, tried to strip it out. He calls her severance tax a "windfall profits tax", which it's not. If that is not proof of what I say then I don't know what is. Well, if you lie about it, then does it count as proof.

She's hammering the corruption and greed of Wall Street issue. John McCain to thank for failing to get his bill passed. "A toxic mess on Main Street that is affecting Wall Street." As Willy Wonka would say, "Strike that, reverse it."

Ifill asks about the bankruptcy bill -- it's complicated, Biden says. We should be allowing bankruptcy courts to adjust the principal you owe as well as your interest rate. That sounds fishy. Used to be that when you lost your stuff when you declared bankruptcy. The whole penalties thing?


Brief answer from Palin to deflect the bankruptcy issue and then back to energy. She's doing remarkably well so far, few flubs. She's kind of lecturing here, but hammering the ANWR issue. Energy independence is the key to this nation's future. Needs to stop using "heckuva".

Q: What is true and what is false regarding climate change? I don't want to argue about the causes of climate change, want to figure out how we can do that. All of the above plan. As we rely more and more on other countries.

Biden: It is man-made, it is clearly man-made. The cause is man-made. Gives the 3% of reserves/25% of consumption line, which minimizes our true reserves and ignores unproven offshore reserves as well as natural gas and the trillion barrels of oil shale we have. John McCain voted 20 times against alternative energy. Obama-biden wants to develop energy that needs subsidies to be competitive and try to sell that to the rest of the world. No-go in China or India, Joe. Coal is King there and will be for sure in China

Palin does support capping carbon emissions. Joe supports clean coal technology for 25 years, despite his rope-line comment. Maybe he's all for it if the go government doesn't have to pay for it.

Joe Biden supports gay marriage. First gaffe. Saran-does not support gay marriage. Now neither Joe Biden & Barack Obama do not support gay marriage. So much for the people who think Barack Obama is a closet gay marriage supporter.

Iraq: Palin sounds like she knows this. Compliments Biden on standing up to Obama regarding a political vote.

Biden: needs an exit strategy, needs a time table. Palin says we'll go when we're ready, when the Iraqis can govern themselves. She points out that Biden says he would have been proud to be VP candidate for McCain. skewers him effortlessly.

Biden says Pak nukes could hit Israel. Wrong, I believe. Between nuclear Iran and unstable Pakistan he chooses unstable Pakistan. Sarah says both are important but talks about how a nuclear Iran is dangerous. Gets into the "no preconditions" line. Talks about her meeting with Kissinger. Biden bald-faced lies about what Obama said at a Democratic debate HE WAS AT. Misrepresents what McCain said as well.

Palin is clear and articulate on need for a two-state solution. Sounds entirely reasonable. Biden is now running against George W. Bush. He is four years too late for that. Biden: haven't heard how the policy is different from Bush's.

8:55 When do we use nuclear weapons? Palin answers a line about not allowing nuclear proliferation. Makes point about using surge principle In Afghanistan. Biden says CG in Afghanistan says (today) that surge would not work. Mentions Obama-Lugar as if it's important - an update to a 1991 law makes a big difference how? Makes a statement about spending in 3 weeks in Iraq the same as in 7 years in Afghanistan. Ignores difference in geography, technology, etc.

Biden makes an impassioned speech about Darfur. Palin agrees, a little too smarmy, but then mentions divesting Alaska's investments in Sudan. Didn't know that.

9:05 pm: When do we go into another country? Biden if we can win, makes a statement about countries and when we can invade. Palin needles him again about his voting record and statements, she's hammered this enough that she had better have a couple of Aces in terms of backup documentation.

So what if your President dies? Neither one will change anything.

What a Vice-President does? Palin: working with the Senate, she would lead in areas of Energy, Senate, special-needs children. Biden: Senate, advising President, He will tell president if he disagrees. Ifill asks about Cheney's assertion regarding the split nature of VP as Executive vs. Legislative. Palin ducks the question, wisely. Biden gives a long answer that is probably too much inside baseball.

Conventional Wisdom: Palin is inexperienced, Biden undisciplined. Palin makes a good speech. Biden says he's changed things, tears up when talking about his kids. Pain responds, needs to stop using the term 'Maverick'. It's getting annoying. Find another way to say it. Biden: "Maverick he is not."

Final question: What policy position have you changed? Biden: position re: judicial confirmation. Palm; wasn't able to zero-balance budgets, no compromises on principle.

Now the real final question: How do you stop the partisanship as VP? Biden: Don't question others' motives. Palin: get the job done, don't worry about credit.

Final statements: Palin: I like Reagan. McCain fought for you. Biden: it's time for America to stand up together.

Especially people making $250K or more. It's easier to get at their wallets that way.

Debate over. Palin survived, not broken or dispirited. Biden only gaffed once, wasn't nasty. Both did a good job. Hard to pick a winner, Pain maybe wins by not losing, but not by much.

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