Alright, folks! The VP debate is now over, the dust has mostly settled, and I've had my morning latte, so I'm ready to dig in.

I came away from the debate being very impressed by Biden. He really went after her when he needed to, but was respectful the whole time - the one time he slipped and called her Sarah Palin, he quickly corrected himself and said Governor Palin. He had a few slips here and there with words - I'm not sure what a Bosniak is, but I hear that Bosnians live in Bosnia a Bosniak is a Muslim Bosnian, thanks Anonymous!, but he had other flubs too - and some of his points took a few seconds to understand, but overall, I thought he was really good and I definitely liked him better after it was done than I ever have before.

And then, there's Palin. If we're talking about a performance or appealing to the average Joe, then Palin did well. Certainly, she spoke in complete sentences and didn't veer too much away from her talking points, but that's hardly winning in my book. There are three things I got from her:

1) Basically, she learned about a dozen talking points and McCain positions and then used them whenever she wanted to. If the question could not be easily answered with one of her responses, she answered whatever question she wanted to. I guess the McCain campaign thought there would be more questions about energy and absolutely none about education.

2) Palin's general public speaking strategy seems to be talk, talk, talk until you can't talk anymore. If you say enough words that seem to go together, then you'll win! Seriously, all she does when she doesn't want or know how to answer something is string together a series of words - lots of them - without caring if they actually make sense. Apparently, it works! I have yet to see anybody pick up on this, so I guess nobody actually pays attention to what she's (not) saying. Try to listen to footage from her interviews and the debate and you'll see that a lot of it is gibberish.

3) When it comes to answering the actual questions she has a response to, she still doesn't seem very comfortable answering them. I understand this, because if you've been repeating memorized lines whenever you want to, but suddenly have to give one of them on cue, it's hard! Think about when you were in school and had to give a speech or something of the sort. You had your own rhythm and could pick up at any given point you were comfortable. If prompted to start from a particular place, you stumbled. This might be what happened to her, but I think it's also because she just isn't ready to be discussing these issues. If she actually understood and believed in these positions, she wouldn't need to remember her lines for these questions; she could just answer them honestly and go on with her lines for the questions she doesn't know the answer to.

For these reasons, I don't think she won the debate. I know that the bar is low for her and she came across as having won, but I find that very disappointing. Let's just say that if this had all happened in school, Biden would've gotten at least a B/B+ but my professor would've given Palin no more than a C, if that. She would've told her that at the very least, Palin should've stuck to the rules of the debate and answered the questions asked of her, however poorly. But, what do I know.

What did you all think of the debate? I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts (assuming you're not all hung over from taking shots last night).


At Fri Oct 03, 09:48:00 AM Maggie said...

Maybe I'm being a little bit too much of Miss Manners here, but I thought it completely inappropriate for Palin to call Obama by his first name. She's never met him so I don't think she has the privilege. I know she's folksy, but it rubbed me wrong.

At Fri Oct 03, 10:17:00 AM Bianca said...

So...I do not appreciate being called "Joe Six Pack" or a "Soccer Mom" because I clearly do not fit either of those categories. Who was this average American that she was gearing her arguments to? This lady upsets me...NUCULAR is not a word.

Nothing made sense...I'm still trying to figure out her platform on practically all of the issues.

At Fri Oct 03, 12:15:00 PM Anonymous said...

A "Bosniak" is a Muslim Bosnian. Biden's use in discussing Serbs, Croats, and Bosniaks is absolutely correct.

At Fri Oct 03, 12:16:00 PM frau sally benz said...

OOOOOOH! You learn something new every day! I love it!

I can't tell you how many people I asked what a Bosniak was and everyone told me it was a word he made up. Cool!

At Fri Oct 03, 01:01:00 PM J said...

I agree. All Palin did was talk, talk, talk and the media is praising her for it. Many were expecting her to fumble and although she didn't, she avoided questions and decided to focus on her own issues--the ones she is knowledgeable about. I wasn't on the Debate team or anything, but I think the point is to answer the question that's being asked of you. Thank you to Gwen Ifill for pointing it out "Governor, Senator, neither of you really answered that last question about what you would do as vice president. I'm going to come back to that".

Palin still doesn't convince me as a credible candidate for Vice-President.

I wish I would have bet on how many times she was going to say certain words like Maverick, Kitchen Table, Nuke-ular, Hockey/Soccer Mom. Definitely would have cleaned up.

Thank you Anonymous for clarifying what a Bosniak is, I never would have known.

At Fri Oct 03, 02:07:00 PM Allyson said...

Oh, I noticed that she talked and talked without really saying anything. Geez, how often did she REALLY have to bring up energy? It was ridiculous. And she kept looking at her notes whenever she wasn't speaking. She didn't really look like she knew her material at all.

At Sat Oct 04, 04:48:00 PM aviva said...

I was both glad that Sarah Palin didn't fall on her face and a little disappointed that she didn't make a fool of herself like she did with Katie Couric. Like you said, she sounded reasonably intelligent and informed and she seemed relaxed and confident--all good things on a performance level. But she didn't answer the questions asked of her, and I noticed too that sometimes her answers didn't actually make any sense even though they sounded somewhat sensical from a distance.

I was happy with how both of them were extremely respectful and professional and didn't interrupt either each other or Gwen Ifill. McCain could learn a thing or two. Actually Obama could to (in terms of interrupting the moderator; he was downright rude and condescending the way McCain was two weeks ago).

Biden, however, clearly knew what he was talking about (despite a couple minor gaffes) and Palin was, as you say, spewing talking points. It seemed pretty obvious and I think it's generally agreed that Biden won the debate.

Also, check out Arianna Huffington's take on the debate.

At Sat Oct 04, 04:50:00 PM aviva said...

Urgh. I meant to say that Obama wasn't downright condescending rude the way McCain was. Not that he was. Sorry.

At Sat Oct 04, 06:24:00 PM frau sally benz said...

Yea, Aviva, I did also notice that there was a lot more respectful this time around as far as not cutting each other off and not talking over each other or Ifill.

Allyson, I was getting very annoyed at how much she was looking down at her notes. I kept wishing that they would do those split screens so more people could notice she was studying her notes furiously while he was speaking.


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