Biden Won the Debate

Yesterday I wrote:

Palin, tonight, has to prove to the people who are tuning in to laugh at her that she’s not a punchline. She actually has to prove tonight that she knows things. Sarah Palin has to prove that she can rise to the challenge of leading a nation in which the overwhelming majority feel we are heading in the wrong direction. “Connecting” with the audience isn’t good enough. Her “down home” style isn’t enough. Tonight, Sarah Palin has to prove she’s ready to be Vice President; simply not failing is insufficient to do that.

Last night, Palin managed to not fail. She didn’t drool on herself, she wasn’t a gibbering idiot, she delivered a few canned one-liners, she avoided any moose in the headlights moments. Palin’s performance last night was about what I expected of her – although even I was surprised when she announced in essence, “I won’t be answering your questions tonight. I’ll talk about what I want to talk about.” Palin stuck closely to her script. In normal times, she’d be fine. We don’t live in normal times. Palin had the misfortune to share the stage with Joe Biden.

And Biden was on fire last night. He brought his A game and it showed. He was confident, knowledgeable, and clear. He knows his stuff. He hit the McCain ticket hard and did a good job of tying them to Bush.

At the end of the day, Biden demonstrated that he is able to rise to the challenge of leading the nation if need be.

Biden Seeing Son Off to Iraq

Biden Seeing Son Off to Iraq

  1. #1 by Richard Warnick on October 3, 2008 - 9:00 am

    Gwen Ifill failed as a moderator. I know she broke her ankle, that’s sad, but why were her questions so lame? Why so few followups? Sometimes she didn’t really ask a question, just threw out a topic and let the canned talking points fly.

    I guess the McCain campaign and the right-wing noise machine intimidated her with their pre-debate charges of bias.

  2. #2 by Glenden Brown on October 3, 2008 - 9:02 am

    She wasn’t on her game at all. I guess all the conservative whining about her bias made her feel like she couldn’t challenge Palin’s nonsense.

  3. #3 by Richard Warnick on October 3, 2008 - 9:07 am

    I read on TPM that the McCain campaign demanded a last-minute rule change that disallowed followup questions.

  4. #4 by Richard Warnick on October 3, 2008 - 9:15 am

    Senator Biden really nailed McCain on his dumb idea (from the last debate) that all Afghanistan needs is an Iraq-style “surge.” He cited our Afghanistan commander General McKiernan (who Palin had clearly never heard of, she called him “McClellan”) just yesterday, rejecting the “surge” idea in favor of a sustained commitment.

    Beyond the simplistic talking points is the serious question of whether traditional counterinsurgency strategy works in a 4GW environment, where there is no such thing as a legitimate national government. I don’t think it does, and I don’t think McCain understands that. Maybe Biden and Obama don’t get it either, that’s an open question.

  5. #5 by Ken on October 3, 2008 - 9:26 am

    Gov. Palin won the debate despite the hostile “moderator”, Gwen “gotta get Obama elected so I can sell my book” Ifill, who was clearly in the tank for Obama. Many questions she asked Sarah Palin were laced with snide editorial comments which she did not include with the softballs she lobbed with a transparent and gushing admiration she displayed towards Biden. Contrasting with the leering and condescending looks she fired towards Gov. Palin.

    Gov. Palin showed that she is not the caricature that the leftist media is trying to portray. She is smart, quick witted, and tough, while Biden looked like the tired politician he is. In fact, I do not think Biden even has his heart in this election. I think he would be just as happy to bow out and let Hillary take over (which may be the ultimate plan).

  6. #6 by JFarmer on October 3, 2008 - 10:14 am


    You make me laugh. I can already hear what’s being repeated over and over in your mind: “Please, somebody help us republicans; we have fallen and can’t get up.”

  7. #7 by Ken on October 3, 2008 - 10:42 am

    House just passed the bail-out. Too bad we are on the Titanic. Oct 3rd 2008 RIP free enterprise system. Oct 3rd 2008 the day the United States abandoned 200+ years of principles and embraced socialism.


    Do you have the word “socialism” filtered out because every time I right a post with the word “socialism”, which I write often because there is a lot of it at, it says “comment awaiting moderation”. What do you have against socialism? I mean it is the bases for your entire ideology.

  8. #8 by Jenni on October 3, 2008 - 11:01 am


    Palin did well in the debate. She was likeable, and more importantly she was coherent. But won? No. Being cute is not winning. It was pretty obvious that Biden knows more on almost every subject than she does. She also dodged or didn’t answer several questions, probably because she didn’t have scripted answers for them.

    Give her 15 or more years as a politician (on a national level) and she may catch up. Of course in 15 years she will have been likely to lose the “cute”.

    And Gwen hostile? Uhh . . . were you watching the same debate I was? I thought she was meticulously neutral. Biden got as many editorialized comments as Palin. And there were no sneers from her, although I did detect a few from Palin — she’s quite expressive in the face.

  9. #9 by Glenden Brown on October 3, 2008 - 11:17 am

    Here’s a link to the transcript.

    I don’t recall Ifill asking any questions of Palin that were filled with snide editorials. Maybe Ken could point out a couple for my edification.

  10. #10 by Matt on October 3, 2008 - 11:24 am

    I agree with your analysis of the debate, except maybe for “At the end of the day, Biden demonstrated that he is able to rise to the challenge of leading the nation if need be.”

    How does one debate, or any debate, demonstrate that anybody is ready to lead the nation? Clearly, Biden knows more what he’s talking about, but does knowledge and ability talk necessarily make one “able to rise to the challenge”?

  11. #11 by jdberger on October 3, 2008 - 11:50 am

    I’ll give this one to Biden. 35+ years as a politician have served him well. He was comfortable in front of the cameras, comfortable with the moderator and comfortable with the questions. And yes, he did have the policy wonky facts and figures down.

    But he was EXHAUSTINGLY the same old tired old oily politician. Joey Danko? Please. And the fake tears – golly – you’re just one of us, Joe….do you feel my pain, too?

    Governor Palin had an annoying habit of stringing words together in a monotone when she didn’t have an answer. She also dodged lots of questions. Biden was much more on point….

    However, Sen. Biden kept returning to the same old tired talking points. Bush Bad. Republicans Bad.

    A good friend, who’s currently undecided watched the debate with me and remarked how “politiciany” Biden was. The friend also wondered if he could answer a question without adding, “and it was all George Bush’s fault” to the end.

    They were also a little taken aback by the Obama/Biden “go in and kill them” foriegn policy.

  12. #12 by Don on October 3, 2008 - 12:26 pm

    Fake tears? You’re joking, right? You question the sincerity of a man who lost a wife and daughter and didn’t know if his sons would survive? Palin was clueless in not acknowledging Biden’s emotional response, but you’re just an asshole.

  13. #13 by JFarmer on October 3, 2008 - 12:38 pm

    Well put, Don. You took the words out of my mouth – jd is an asshole!

  14. #14 by Jenni on October 3, 2008 - 12:39 pm

    That choke up wasn’t faked. He’s not that good of an actor.

  15. #15 by Cliff Lyon on October 3, 2008 - 12:39 pm

    Ken, It not ‘socialism’ that us trapping your posts. It may be a the built in natural language interpreter that recognizes the excessive use of popular phrases as advertising.

    Any other ideas are appreciated.

  16. #16 by Richard Warnick on October 3, 2008 - 1:09 pm

    Last night, Governor Palin falsely claimed that U.S. forces in Iraq are “down to pre-surge numbers.” She’s sticking to the claim, according to Fox News.

  17. #17 by jdberger on October 3, 2008 - 1:10 pm

    Awww… I’m such a meany.

    Really Albert, it turns me on when you call me names.

    Crocodile tears. At an opportune time.

    And Don, what did you expect from Gov. Palin? Was she supposed to go and give him a hug or something?

  18. #18 by Don on October 3, 2008 - 1:17 pm

    I expected her to be human.

  19. #19 by jdberger on October 3, 2008 - 1:18 pm

    Last night, Governor Palin falsely claimed that U.S. forces in Iraq are “down to pre-surge numbers.” She’s sticking to the claim, according to Fox News.

    And Sen. Biden falsely claimed that he never said he was against Clean Coal.

    But he did, and here’s the context…

    Woman: Wind and solar are flourishing here in Ohio, why are you supporting clean coal?
    Biden: We’re not supporting clean coal. Guess what? China’s building two every week, two dirty coal plants, and it’s polluting the United States. It’s causing people to die.
    Woman: So will you support wind and solar …
    Biden: Absolutely, before anybody did. The first guy to introduce a global warming bill was me, 22 years ago. The first guy to support solar energy was me, 26 years ago. It came out of Delaware. But guess what? China’s going to burn 300 years of bad coal unless we figure out how to clean their coal up. Because it’s going to grow in your lungs and there’s nothing we can do about it. No coal plants here in America. Build them if they’re going to build them over there, make them clean, because they’re killing you.

    (Just for the record, I don’t like coal in any form)

  20. #20 by JFarmer on October 3, 2008 - 1:19 pm


    Let’s just say I hope you never experience the same thing Biden experienced.

  21. #21 by JFarmer on October 3, 2008 - 1:21 pm


    Just where in the comment you provide does Biden say he is against clean coal?

  22. #22 by jdberger on October 3, 2008 - 1:23 pm

    Albert – get with Larry. Have him make you some new glasses.

    Biden: We’re not supporting clean coal….

  23. #23 by jdberger on October 3, 2008 - 1:31 pm

    Thank you for the wish, Albert – but how do you know that you’re not too late?

    Tragic death is all too common, and people are killed all the time on the highways. Assuming that because I find the tears of a professional politician to be suspect that I haven’t experienced a similar tragedy is just idiocy. And it’s idiocy void of any fact.

    And calling me an asshole for pointing it out is even worse.

    But – if it makes you feel better, that you’ve somehow “made a difference”, go for it.

  24. #24 by Bob S. on October 3, 2008 - 1:32 pm


    There are some people with reading comprehension issues on this blog.

    I’ll bet dollars to donuts that the argument will be, Biden didn’t say he was against clean coal, just he isn’t for it. It is a very nuanced approach that we conservatives can’t understand.

    Obviously, it’s because we lack the education, degree, experience or the cultured ability to lie by splitting hairs, etc.

  25. #25 by Richard Warnick on October 3, 2008 - 1:42 pm

    jd– There are a lot of things I don’t like about Senator Biden. What I do like are his gaffes. A gaffe is when a politician slips up and tells the truth, even though it puts him/her off message. There is no such thing as “clean coal,” and I’m very glad to know that Biden is aware of this fact. He is supposed to pretend to believe in “clean coal” because there are 16 major coal-producing states, and a bunch of them are swing states.

  26. #26 by JFarmer on October 3, 2008 - 1:56 pm


    I repeat my question. Just where in the comment you provide does Biden say he is against clean coal? Your answer above is incorrect; maybe it is you who needs the glasses.

  27. #27 by carbon sequestration on October 3, 2008 - 2:05 pm

    coal carbon sequestration.

    Germans and Swedes are doing it.

    Is Biden into nuclear, the zero carbon producing form of power production? Yes he is, with the research and safety issues addressed, he would support it. Funny thing, what he wishes us to spend money on to research, has already been going on in France for decades.

    Yeah, Palin is supposedly stupid, but we aren’t getting a genius in Biden either. Given our situation, it may be time to start praying in earnest.

  28. #28 by JFarmer on October 3, 2008 - 2:07 pm


    Thank you for the wish, Albert – but how do you know that you’re not too late?

    If I were too late, you’d be far less of an asshole, asshole!

  29. #29 by jdberger on October 3, 2008 - 2:14 pm

    Albert? I guess that when ole Joe said, “We’re not supporting clean coal” it was Opposite Day?

    Bob’s post was sure prescient, wasn’t it

    I’m sorry that I hurt your feelings so much that you need to lash out…maybe you should go out and get a snowcone or something?

    Richard, you’re right on…(Dear God, I NEVER thought I’d say that).

  30. #30 by Richard Warnick on October 3, 2008 - 2:18 pm

    “Clean coal” is the coal industry’s greenwash buzzword. Any time coal is burned, contaminants are released and they have to go somewhere.

    Despite $5.2 billion of investment in the US alone, clean coal research has been plagued with difficulties. For example, of the 13 clean coal projects that the US General Accounting Office looked at, eight had serious delays or financial problems – six were behind schedule by 2-7 years and two were bankrupt and will not be completed.

  31. #31 by JFarmer on October 3, 2008 - 2:22 pm


    You have now crossed the line from asshole to pathetic loser. Congratulations!

  32. #32 by jdberger on October 3, 2008 - 3:24 pm

    In other words, Albert, you got caught in a “mistruth” and can’t dig your way out?

    So you sling insults? What are you? 6 years old?

    I’d love to watch you in front of a judge. Get sanctioned much?

    Albert? How was my answer above incorrect?

    What did Big Joe Biden mean when he said:

    Biden: We’re not supporting clean coal….

    (errr…Cliff? You might want to look into more competent counsel)

  33. #33 by JFarmer on October 3, 2008 - 3:59 pm


    You must have missed logic in grade school math. Heck, reading some of your thoughts makes me wonder if you missed grade school all together. Loser!

  34. #34 by Leo Brown on October 3, 2008 - 5:39 pm

    The “all the above” energy plan may be good for starters, but in the end, not all the above will contribute equally to our energy solution. At some point, some decisions will have to be made by the government. These decisions cannot be simply left to the market because government regulations will partly determine whether nuclear or “clean coal” or anything else is the most economical.

  35. #35 by Larry Bergan on October 4, 2008 - 1:46 am

    When Palin pulled the old Reagan debate line out, “there he goes again”, I think I heard the audience groan, I know I did.

  36. #36 by Richard Warnick on October 4, 2008 - 9:16 am

    Larry, at the time she copied Reagan it I really thought it was the sound bite that would get re-played the most. It wasn’t re-played at all as far as I know. It was intended as a zinger, to excite the “base.” But “there ya go again” landed with a thud, the same as “say it ain’t so, Joe.”

    Can you get the logic behind saying Bush is not to be talked about because his administration (which is still in office) is “in the past” –and at the same time quoting Ronald Reagan as often as possible?

  37. #37 by jdberger on October 4, 2008 - 11:42 am

    Albert? Why do you have to sink to name calling? “asshole”, “jerk”, “loser”?

    When you make a mistake in a discussion, like where you claimed that Saddam wasn’t engaged in genocide or where you claimed that Biden didn’t say, “We’re not supporting clean coal” – just admit it and move on.

    Why sink to meanness? Why devalue your argument with epithets?

  38. #38 by JFarmer on October 4, 2008 - 11:54 am


    Excuse me, but Saddam wasn’t engaged in genocide (at least not on the level we were discussing re Darfur) and I never claimed that Bidden did not say what you claim (you really could use a primer in logic).

    Regardless, when you dismiss emotion as a political stunt as you did recently re Biden, such makes you each of the epithets you refer and more. Get over it and move on!

  39. #39 by Richard Warnick on October 4, 2008 - 12:57 pm

    Does anyone find it ironic that the world’s biggest refugee crisis is happening in Iraq— not Darfur? When are we going to address the world’s biggest refugee crisis?

  40. #40 by JFarmer on October 4, 2008 - 1:49 pm


    But I thought McSame and Palin told us the Surge (TM) was working. Gasp??

  41. #41 by jdberger on October 4, 2008 - 4:23 pm

    Excellent, Albert. You’re moving the goal posts again. After the thorough spanking you recieved, I expected this. Bob saw it coming, too. You did claim that Biden didn’t say, “We’re not supporting clean coal”. You also claimed that, “Saddam was not engaged in genocide.”

    You’ve moved beyond dissembling and into lying.

    It’s really a shame that I’ll most likely never face you in a courtroom or across a table. My guess is that you’re some sort of transactional attorney and not much of a litigator. Lots more writing than thinking on your feet, eh? That’s where your more level-headed colleagues can cover for your gaffes and explosive temper.

    I really do admire the way you rush to the defense of a professional politician, though. Simply admirable. You deserve some sort of medal for bravery and self sacrifice! Maybe you can even get a position in the new Administration (let’s just hope it’s not a job where you have to deal with people, though).

    Finally, Cliffy, if Albert really is your lawyer, think about the potential damage he could do to you with one of his ill timed outbursts. You really should seek out alternate counsel.

  42. #42 by Farmer cow paddie on October 4, 2008 - 4:27 pm

    Patent attorney jd.

    By now you know neither Cliff or Jim can argue their way out of a paper sack.

    Don’t know much about the writing either frankly if this blog is any indication.

  43. #43 by JFarmer on October 4, 2008 - 10:46 pm


    What is hilarious is the fact you support an administration so full of blatant lies it has led most of the world to hate America in less than eight years. And you take issue with me for destroying your argument using simple fifth grade logic – not lies, but pure logic. See you later, sucker!

  44. #44 by jdberger on October 5, 2008 - 12:02 am

    Patent attorney. I kinda guessed that with the engineer background.

    That really explains the reliance on definitions and the disdain for plain english (at least when it suits you).

    I’m guessing that you don’t perform very well when being deposed, do ya? Well, please try not to yell at opposing counsel. It tends to frighten the Court Reporters. 🙂

    Albert/Jim – just because you SAY you destroyed my argument doesn’t mean it’s so.

    Of course, since you have mod powers, you can always, “correct the record” can’t you. You’ve never done that on an application, have you?

    Gosh. Hope not.

    It’s a small world, though. I studied under Donald Chisum. You might recognize the name.

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