Biden-Palin debate open thread

I don’t know whether I’ll be online later this evening, but use this thread to discuss tonight’s big debate.

It seems that expectations for Sarah Palin couldn’t possibly be lower. How do you think Joe Biden should handle this? I think he needs to ignore any gaffes she makes. Let the media handle that. Biden should focus on promoting Obama’s policies and attacking John McCain.

Note to conspiracy theorists: this diary by ipsos suggests it would not be easy for Palin to get away with wearing an earpiece during tonight’s debate.

I still believe George Bush was wired during his first debate with John Kerry in 2004.

UPDATE: For entertainment value, it’s hard to beat TPM’S Ultimate Sarah Palin Video Guide.

POST-DEBATE THOUGHTS; Palin was smart to look right into the camera almost the whole time she was speaking. There weren’t any deer in the headlights moments, but on several occasions she transparently sidestepped the question and plugged into some programmed response full of buzzwords. I have no idea how it’s going to play with relatively uninformed voters, but I would hope that they could see past her repetition of certain phrases. I also couldn’t believe she kept winking at the camera!

Biden didn’t make any mistakes as far as I could see, other than looking too much at Gwen Ifill and not enough at the camera. However, he did look at the camera more during the second half of the debate, which was good.

On several answers he was devastating, pointing out the contrasts between Obama and McCain. I liked that he kept bringing the focus back to economic issues. I liked how he repeated that McCain was wrong about the war in Iraq being easy. I loved how he repeated that we spend more every three weeks on combat operations in Iraq than we have in six and a half years in Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden has been. It was great the way he put the lie to McCain’s “maverick” image, showing that he hasn’t been a maverick on any of the issues important to Americans, like health care and education.

Although Biden’s not flashy, I felt he turned in a very solid performance tonight. I would be surprised if the snap polls show Palin winning. I know I’m not her target audience, but I felt she looked and sounded programmed. It seems like the people already supporting McCain would love her, but I’m not sure how she played with undecided voters and independents.

What was your favorite Biden moment? I loved when he talked about McCain’s flawed health care plan being “the ultimate bridge to nowhere.”

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I have just one question

If today is John McCain’s birthday, why did he give us a present?

I strongly disagree with the idea that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is a game-changer for the Republicans.

Hillary Clinton gave a strong endorsement of Barack Obama on Tuesday and will be out campaigning for him this fall. I’m supposed to believe that women who preferred Hillary in the Democratic primaries will flock to McCain, with his horrible record on women’s issues, because a conservative woman is his running mate?

I get the rationale for picking Palin, as laid out here by Chris Bowers and in a different way by Iowa blogger Douglas Burns.

But McCain is staking his campaign on persuading Americans that Obama is “not ready to lead.” I cannot see how it helps McCain to choose a running mate who is younger and less experienced than Obama. Palin has served less than two years as governor and before that was mayor of a town with fewer than 10,000 residents.

At 72 years old, McCain would be the oldest president ever elected. He is also a cancer survivor. Can the Republicans make the case that Palin is ready to lead this country should the need arise?

Supposedly the GOP base will be thrilled to see the anti-choice Palin on the ticket. I read some “mommy blogs” written by religious conservatives and will be checking them in the next few days to see how they react to this pick. (These bloggers tended to favor either Mike Huckabee or Ron Paul.)

I assume they will be relieved that McCain did not choose the detested Mitt Romney. However, I am not convinced these rank and file members of the religious right will celebrate Palin’s selection. They believe women should be homemakers who homeschool their children, and they think feminism and the trend toward working outside the home is undermining “Biblical womanhood.”

No matter how enthusiastically the Republican pundits welcome Palin, I suspect that many social conservatives will feel she should be at home, taking care of her special-needs infant and schooling her older children.

The business wing of the Republican base tended to support Romney in the primaries. Mitt himself is reportedly furious at the way McCain strung him along. Look for the knives to come out if anything goes wrong with Palin–for instance, if she gets tainted by the trial of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens.

I’m skeptical that Palin will neutralize Joe Biden (supposedly because he can’t afford to be seen as a bully). Biden has two jobs: to alleviate concerns about Obama’s lack of experience, and to be an attack dog. The first task will be easier with Palin as his counterpart. As for the second, Biden can ignore Palin most of the time and focus his fire on McCain during the only vice-presidential debate.

Choosing Palin looks like a Hail Mary pass from a candidate who knows he will lose unless he shakes things up in a big way. I’m feeling much more optimistic about Obama’s chances than I did five days ago.

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Democratic National Convention open thread

Hillary Clinton released her delegates earlier today and told them that they could vote their conscience, but she had voted for Barack Obama.

Later she urged the convention to nominate Obama by acclamation, which it did enthusiastically.

This is an open thread for discussing any of Wednesday’s speeches or other events at the convention. Bill Clinton and Joe Biden will be the prime-time highlights. (By the way, one of my neighbors has put her Biden for president yard sign back in front of her house. She is “fired up and ready to go,” as they say.)

After the jump I’ve posted the text of Governor Chet Culver’s remarks (as prepared) to the DNC yesterday. He focused on energy policy, which is certainly among my top 10 reasons for Americans to vote for Obama.

UDPATE: When Bill Kristol idiotically claimed last night that Hillary Clinton gave a weak endorsement of Obama, he noted that she hadn’t said Obama would be a good commander in chief.

Guess what? Today’s theme is national security, and Bill Clinton has already said,

“In Barack Obama, America will have the national security leadership we need. My fellow Democrats, I say to you Barack Obama is ready to lead America…”

Got that, Mr. Kristol?

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Reaction to the Obama-Biden ticket

Icebergslim brings you pictures and speeches from today’s rally in Springfield.

Hope Reborn brings you lots of clips from journalists and bloggers reacting to Barack Obama’s selection of his running mate: “Glowing Reviews of Vice President Joe Biden: GOP ‘disappointed silence’”

Markos is not happy that Obama “filled a gap, rather than reinforced.”

Paul Rosenberg is disappointed for a different reason, as he explains in “Biden and the Primacy of the Inside Game.”

James L. of Swing State Project looks at what might happen to Biden’s senate seat from Delaware (Biden is up for reelection this year.)

dcprof says “Biden crimps McCain’s VP choice,” and I completely agree.

dday analyzes Ron Fournier’s hit piece for the Associated Press and makes the case that Fournier should recuse himself from covering the presidential campaign or be fired. He makes a strong case, since more and more newspapers rely on wire services like the AP for political coverage, and Fournier considered taking a job with John McCain’s campaign last year.

Steve Benen gives you the gory details on how bad Fournier’s piece is.

Firedoglake also put up an action item on calling for Fournier’s dismissal.

John Deeth’s take on Biden is here. You can find some of Iowa Independent’s greatest hits on the Biden family here. is giving away Obama-Biden stickers:

You can get one Obama/Biden sticker for free. For a $3+ donation, we’ll send you 5 stickers. For a $20+ donation, we’ll send 50 stickers. Stickers may take 4-6 weeks to arrive.

If you donate at least $30 to the Obama campaign, you’ll get an official Obama-Biden t-shirt with the campaign logo.

How do you feel about the ticket?

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Biden will be a good surrogate for Obama

CNN noticed that Secret Service arrived at Joe Biden’s home in Delaware last night, which makes it almost official.

The case for Joe Biden as Barack Obama’s running mate is simple: he’s got a lot of experience at the federal level, particularly in foreign policy. That will reassure voters who may be concerned about Obama’s resume and blunt a major line of attack from John McCain (whose ads have been questioning whether Obama is “ready to lead”).  

But plenty of people in Washington have served in Congress for 20 or 30 years. What makes Biden better than most of them as a running mate? Media scripts about the “gaffe machine” notwithstanding, I submit that Biden’s campaigning ability will be a huge asset to Obama.

I know the stories about Biden putting his foot in his mouth, and I am old enough to remember the Clarence Thomas hearings, when Biden talked too much and didn’t put Thomas on the spot enough.

But he is a much better campaigner than people give him credit for.

Of all the presidential candidates, Biden got the best word of mouth from Iowans who attended his events last year. I don’t think I ever talked to anyone who went to hear him and walked away unimpressed. I wrote about this last summer and again right before the Iowa caucuses.

If you don’t believe me, read accounts by other people who listened to Biden take questions for an hour or more from voters, sometimes just about Iraq and foreign policy but more often about any topic Iowans felt like bringing up.

Biden is not going to need a crash course in federal policy to prepare for the vice-presidential debate, because he knows this stuff inside-out. And despite his reputation for long-windedness, he is able to answer questions in 30 to 60 seconds. In the Democratic candidates’ debates last year, Biden did extremely well despite consistently getting 30 percent to 50 percent less time to speak than the front-runners. He often had the most memorable one-liners from those debates too.

Speaking about the news media’s blackout of long-shot Democratic contenders, Elizabeth Edwards wrote in this op-ed for the New York Times:

And it’s not as if people didn’t want this information. In focus groups that I attended or followed after debates, Joe Biden would regularly be the object of praise and interest: “I want to know more about Senator Biden,” participants would say.

Biden’s speaking style is more aggressive than Obama’s, which will help him be the attack dog Obama needs.

I also agree with Jonathan Singer’s point that Biden’s relative lack of wealth will reinforce the message that the Democratic candidates can relate to ordinary Americans on bread-and-butter economic issues.

Finally, Steve Clemons is absolutely right: Americans are going to love Jill Biden.

Biden wasn’t my number one choice for Obama’s vice president, but he is going to bring a lot to the table.

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Last chance to show off your VP prediction skills

Most people seem to think Obama’s short list is Biden, Bayh and Kaine, but there’s a lot of late buzz about him surprising us all, perhaps with Hillary.

What do you think? I don’t think he will choose Hillary, because his people stupidly made a big point of saying earlier this summer that he didn’t want her on the ticket. If he chooses her now, it looks like he is acknowledging he can’t win without her, and I don’t think he wants to show weakness.

She would be a good choice, though. The right-wing hate machine has been doing a good job of rallying Republicans around McCain. The argument that choosing Hillary would galvanize conservatives against Obama no longer holds water.

UPDATE: Politico says Hillary was never vetted and Congressman Chet Edwards of Texas is on Obama’s short list. Please don’t let Obama be dumb enough to pick him. If he wants a conservative Democrat, it should at least be someone who puts a state in play. Also, Chet Edwards is not seasoned as a communicator on the national stage.

SECOND UPDATE: A friend of a friend of a source of Matt Stoller says Biden’s family is making plans to be in Springfield this Saturday:…

THIRD UPDATE: Marc Ambinder picks up on a chartered flight from Chicago’s Midway airport to New Castle, Delaware…possibly going to pick up Biden’s family?


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