The Eclectic Quill

October 2, 2008

Live Debate Blog

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly @ 6:50 pm

I will be posting all my thoughts and reactions from the debate here. Feel free to comments that you want, liberal or conservative. Just keep profanity out please and treat any other commenters with respect.

8:00 PM: I’m watching the debate on CNN because I want to see the handy-dandy little response meter. I’ll update what I get from that. Ifill is getting ready to brief the candidates on the rules now. It’ll be interesting to see how she handles this.

8:03: The candidates come out. Palin asks Biden if she can call him Joe. I wonder if this is some sort of response to Obama calling McCain John.

8:04: the first question goes to Biden about the bailout. Biden goes straight for the throat talking about how bad the economy has been over the last 8 years. He also talks about the Obama plan and the four points he laid out. He’s hitting with the undecided voters, but doing with women better than men.

8:05: Palin talks about going to a soccer game and listening to what parents have to say about the economy. Essentially the people have fears and the barometer isn’t bad. She brings up McCain’s attempt to regulate over Fannie and Freddie. She brings up McCain setting politics aside an the voters don’t like it. Her lines plunge.

8:07: Biden responds to Palin’s comments bringing up some of McCain’s comments about the fundamentals of the economy are strong.

8:08. Palin responds that he was talking about the American work force when he was talking about he fundamentals of the economy. The people seem to be buying it. She points out that 96 percent of Obama’s vote have been along the party line. She says American’s are sick of the politics as usual.

8:09 Ifill points out that neither one answered the question. She asks who was at fault over the subprime mortgage crisis.

8:10 Palin says it was the predator lenders. (She’s partially right.) The voters, both men and women gave her high marks there. She says we need to demand strict oversight over these sorts of things. (Which is against the record of McCain, but who cares. Right now she’s scoring off the chart with the voters.

8:11: Biden talks about Obama warned about the subprime mortgage crisis while McCain was deregulating. Biden is actually making more sense but the undecideds are not getting it. Palin right now is winning the debate for the uncommitted voters.

8:13: She says that Obama voted to increase or not support tax reduction 94 times (a lie). The voters seem to be neutral. She repeats the $42,000 lie also. Most of the voters are responding favorably though.

8:15: Biden points out that according to the same standard McCain voted 472 times to raise taxes. Palin goes on one of those victim rants and her numbers sink to it. The uncommitted voters are not responding well to that.

I think that right now after all that talk about taxes no one really understands where anyone stands on taxes.

8:16: Biden brings up the 95 percent figure and the voters respond very well. He points out that even the wealthy will do will. He points out that McCain wants to give the tax relief to the corporations and the wealthy. Palin has a smirk on her face.

8:17: Minnie Mouse (That was for you liam) throws out the patriotic to pay your taxes comment. She says let the private sector grow and thrive and prosper. She talks about how Obama wants to raise spending a trillion dollars. (Incidentally most objective analysts have said that McCain will give a bigger deficit.)

8:19: On health care she rambles about Obama for a while, lies here and there and throws out talk credit. Generally the voters aren’t responding to her. One interesting thing here is that Palin is scoring better with men and Biden with women.

8:20: Biden calls the McCain plan the "ultimate bridge to nowhere and scores the first real zinger of the night.

8:23 Biden talks about the 100 billion dollar tax dodge and explains that’s what he calls the ultimate tax dodge.

8:24: She points out how McCain doesn’t say one thing to one group and then another to another group. (Does she know John McCain) Then she claims that she took on the oil companies. Biden is laughing at a little joke she makes about the oil companies in Alaska not being her biggest fans. She says Obama wanted to give the tax breaks to the oil companies.

8:25: She says she wouldn’t change anything about the bailout plan and took a huge dip with the voters.

8:26: Biden points out that when there was an opportunity to vote against oil tax cuts Obama voted against it but McCain didn’t. He then points out that the same windfall taxes she just bragged about putting on the oil companies the McCain ticket was opposed to but Obama was for.

8:27: She talks about how politics need to be set aside for the present crisis to be resolved. She gets a lukewarm response.

8:28: Biden points out that 2 years ago Obama was talking about the subprime mortgage crisis while McCain was saying he was surprised just a few months ago.

8:31 She starts rambling about energy and she takes a dive with the uncommitted voters. She talks about the huge dependence on foreign oil, and how some of them are not friendly. (Trivia question: who is our biggest oil supplier? The answer is Canada).

8:32: The question is about climate change, and she seems to be real unclear as to what the cause is.. She talks about the cause doesn’t matter, but the answer is what matters. I can’t help but wonder how you get the answer if you don’t know the cause.

8:32: Biden says he believes he knows what the cause is. He says you can’t know the solution if you don’t know the cause. Men seem to be having a hard time accepting these answers. He starts talking about clean coal and gets huge scores. He talks about exporting clean coal technology and he goes close to maxing out. He says that McCain only wants to drill. (Ifill defends McCain).

8:35: She says that she’s surprised that Biden supports clean coal (It’s actually a part of Obama’s plan.) Biden says that comment was taken out of context.

8:36: Biden points out that McCain voted 20 times against alternative energies.

8:37: Now the question is the same sex couples. I’m a little surprised here because he’s saying yes, but he’s actually doing better with men than women on this question.

8:38: Palin says she’s not real happy about it. But she’s not "anything but against" people chosing their own relationships. She says that she wouldn’t prevent visitations in a hospital. She says she wouldn’t define marriage as anything but between a man and woman.

8:39: Biden says he doesn’t want to redefine marriage either and neither does Obama. He compliments that in civil rights there shouldn’t be any difference. Palin says she agrees but I’m not sure she was paying attention to Biden.

8:40 Now the question is about the Iraq war. She goes on about the surge. She says that Obama voted against funding the troops (another lie). She says we are down to presurge numbers (another lie).

8:41: Biden says he didn’t hear a plan. He talks about bringing the troops home and scores high with the voters. Biden points out that the voting against the troops thing works both ways. Biden says we need to shift the responsibility to the Iraqis and use their own money and take their own responsibility. He’s peaking with both the men and women now.

8:42: She says that’s a white flag of surrender and plummets. She says the commanders on the ground will tell us when those conditions are met. She’s really not scoring with the voters right now.

8:44: She brings Biden’s son into it. She talks about how Obama is cutting off funding for the troops. Biden says that McCain did the same thing. He points out that there was a timeline against it. For those who don’t know what this is about, Obama voted against one without a timeline and McCain voted against one with a timeline. Neither voted against funding. The timeline was the issue.

Chris makes a good point. There’s not been much of substance offered by Palin but there’s been enough disguised as substance that people will talk about how she did what she had to do.

8:47: Biden says that they’ll go after Osama and scores high.

8:48: Palin says the central front of the war on terror and the brings up Iran. (If making comments about nuking your enemies makes you unstable then what does that make her running mate) She talks about Obama being naïve and her ratings take a dive.

8:49: She just said that Kissinger was right, that she and McCain would be willing to have diplomacy with Iran, but Obama was being naïve.

8:50: Biden is really blasting away at this point. He’s impassioned and he’s cogent and he’s really drawing a big difference between him and Palin here.

8:54: An exchange on Israel really goes to Biden. Biden has been demonstrating a big difference between the two. She’s starting to look at just annoying now talking about Brrrock OObombA all the time. She is starting to get annoying.

8:56: Biden talks about how he "hasn’t heard how his (McCain’s) policy is going to be different than George Bush’s in several ways. He scores huge.

8:57: She answers a question on North Korea which reveals that she knows little more than the name Kim Jung Il. Then she starts going on Afghanistan. Now her Obama attacks are now starting to cause a dip in her ratings. She says that McCain wants to use the "surge principles."

8:59: Biden says the general in Afghanistan says the surge principles won’t work. Biden is really clobbering her here.

9:00: Palin is now lecturing Biden on the Afghanistan war. Biden corrects her. In her "correction" of Biden, her voice went up and her ratings went down.

9:03: Biden talks about the war and peaks in the ratings. Now Palin is starting to talk down to Biden. She’s getting snarky. The voters don’t seem all that high on it.

9:06: Palin is doing some more condescending to Biden and it’s really hurting her. She was consistently in the positive line, and now she’s dipping into the negative most o the time. Men are starting to get turned off by her.

9:08: Biden is really hammering every question now. He’s pretty much maxing out every answer. Palin is consistently getting a moderate to negative answer now. Most of her talk now isn’t saying anything now. She’s supposed to be talking about how a Palin administration would be different than a McCain administration, but she rambled without saying anything.

9:11: Biden talks about how there’s nothing different about the potential McCain administration from the Bush administration.

9:13: Palin tries a "Joe, there you go again" comment and follows it up with a lot of nothing. It’s really hard to say what Palin is talking about right now. She’s literally giving a "shout out" to a third grade class right now. She is talking about education and says "My kidses education." Remind you of anyone?

9:14: Palin talks about how she’s going to be in charge of energy and a couple of other things! YIKES!!!

9:16: Ifill asks about Cheney’s position on the Vice President. She gives a Katie Couric answer that really says nothing, except that maybe they forgot to prep her on that one.

9:17: Biden calls Cheny the most dangerous VP in the history of the US. Biden points out that Article I of the Constitution details the duties of the VP. Biden is hitting this one out of the park.

9:18: Palin talks about her experience as the governor of a "huge state". She’s connected to the heartland of America. She’s prattling on about her strengths, but the question was, "What is your real Achilles heel?

9:20: Being fair Biden says he has a lot of weaknesses, and one was his passion, which is hardly a weakness. Neither one really said they had any. A very powerful moment though for Biden when he talks about he understands what it is to be a single parent, raising two children alone, after he details how he lost his wife in a car accident. He seemed to genuinely choke up. His marks spike.

9:22: Apparently now "maverick" is a position, per Palin.

9:23: Biden hammers at the "maverick" thing and scores some pretty vivid points.

9:27: The last question is a little dull in both answers.

9:28: Closing statements. Palin digs at the media. She says they are going to fight for America, whatever that means. She says that McCain is the only man in this race who has ever fought for us, and that’s McCain.

9:31: Biden talks about the last eight years have been a disaster.

In general I think Palin avoided being a complete and total disaster, but she didn’t really have any moments that really made people think, "she’s really got a grasp on the issues." She just didn’t fall on her face. I think right now if you were to say who is better qualified to lead the country, Palin or Biden, it’d be a clear answer. In short there was no game changer here, which goes for a win for Obama.

If you are looking for a live blog of tonight’s final debate click here .



  1. Biden/Obama.. enough said.

    Comment by Liam McGuire — October 2, 2008 @ 7:03 pm | Reply

  2. “I betcha” “Darn right”

    Palin seems like a nice enough person…but eesh, that was the best McCain could find to be a heartbeat away from the presidency?

    9 minutes into the debate and she’s already annoyed me with her aww shucks attitude and hollow answers…and since I’m absolutely undecided right now that ought to worry McCain.

    Comment by Chris — October 2, 2008 @ 7:11 pm | Reply

  3. Sarah Palin is about a good choice for VP as Mickey Mouse. McCain wanted to catch Hilary votes and its going to bite him in the ass.

    Comment by Liam McGuire — October 2, 2008 @ 7:15 pm | Reply

  4. “Palin talks about going to a soccer game and listening to what parents have to say about the economy.” Soccer mom for VP?

    Anyways, I would love to bash McCain/Palin more but its almost 10:30 and I got school in the morning.



    Comment by Liam McGuire — October 2, 2008 @ 7:18 pm | Reply

  5. Wow, Palin sets a record for “greatest amount of buzzwords without saying anything” in a single sentence. …and the uncommitted Ohio voters ate it up.

    Comment by Chris — October 2, 2008 @ 7:32 pm | Reply

  6. I would love to see SNL have Christopher Walken come on to play Joe Biden to Tina Fey’s Palin.

    Comment by Karmic Boomerang — October 2, 2008 @ 7:46 pm | Reply

  7. It’s pronounced Nuc-u-ler. The ‘S’ is silent.

    Comment by Karmic Boomerang — October 2, 2008 @ 7:49 pm | Reply

  8. I’ve gotta say thanks for pointing out the voter thing on CNN. It made the debate much more “interactive” and I’m sure it’s exciting psychologists around the world… Every little movement, stumble of speech, and glance seems to register with the voters. From my (non-scientific) observation, it seems men judge Biden harsher and women judge Palin harsher whenever one makes some type of gaffe.

    Comment by Chris — October 2, 2008 @ 8:08 pm | Reply

  9. Although I agree with your assessment of Palin, I think that really means it is a victory for McCain…Palin didn’t screw up too badly. Biden reinforced the fact that he’s better qualified than Palin to lead the country (I don’t think many people think otherwise anyhow).

    Overall, I think the whole thing was a bit of a dud (as far as revelations), nothing was accomplished (in my mind) and neither VP candidate made a good enough case (to me) for me to say that that’s who I am going to vote for now.

    Comment by Chris — October 2, 2008 @ 8:38 pm | Reply

  10. Kelly, thank you very much for livebloggin’ this one. I really appreciate hearing another lefty voice of sanity out there.

    I think that Palin started out cute and quirky, then fell apart when she actually had to put some substance into the answers. Biden got off to a slow start, but once they hit foreign policy, he dominated on every single question.

    I do admit, Biden was my original choice for the presidency. Once Obama chose him to be his attack dog, he won me over. And tonight was exhibit A.

    Thanks again,


    Comment by Joe — October 2, 2008 @ 8:54 pm | Reply

  11. Hey Kelly,

    Palin drove me crazy with her “practiced” sincerity. She tended to answer questions with “The economy is nice, but let’s talk more about energy” responses rather than addressing the actual question.

    Biden came across as much more authoritative. He realized he was actually debating McCain instead of Palin.


    Comment by ShakySpker — October 2, 2008 @ 9:21 pm | Reply

  12. Nick,

    I couldn’t agree more! I thought that Biden’s moment where he talked about his children was the most touching moment of the debate. It was incredibly sincere and actually contrasted with Palin’s practiced sincerity.

    Comment by kelly — October 2, 2008 @ 10:07 pm | Reply

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