Thursday, October 2, 2008

Random Notes on the Vice-Presidential Debate

- Much livelier than the first presidential debate. There was a spark that had been missing from that previous debate, which I personally ascribe to both Sen. Obama's generally cool demeanor and Sen. McCain's percieved sense of annoyance. (It was as if he just was dying to blurt out "Why am I here? Don't you people know I'm the only real choice here?" Or something to that effect.)

- Gwen Ifill was very good in her role as moderator. Her tone, approach, and demeanor were just right. She is undoubtedly a pro.

- Sen. Biden was a bit restrained but made his points clearly and effectively. Brilliant on foreign policy; steadfastly made his case for a John McCain administration to be the continuation of George W. Bush's across the board; attacked with might but not excess (directly questioning the 'maverick' tag and getting a few good zingers in there throughout the debate); and showed a very human side when he touched on the death of his wife and daughter and subsequently raising his sons as a single parent. Unfortunately, I was once again wondering--as I did during the presidential debate--why Sen. McCain's 'friend of the troops' claims were not countered by the Arizona senator's dismal record voting against veterans' hospital budgets and his standing with veterans' groups. (There's a reason why the troops are contributing cash to the Obama campaign by a margain of 6 to 1 over the McCain campaign.) But Biden rocked. More importantly, and in direct contrast to his opponent of the evening, he looked--dare I say it--presidential. And consequently, deeply reassuring if the unspeakable were to happen to a President Obama.

- Gov. Sarah Palin was not the train wreck she was in her dealings with ABC's Charlie Gibson and CBS' Katie Couric, and kept gaffes at a minimum in comparison to her past dealings on the national stage. If folksy charm is what is going to decide the outcome of the election, then she undoubtedly made a big push for it this evening. However, she clarified very little regarding her ticket's positions; was frequently disingenuous and made little sense at times; and her constant repetition of GOP talking points that had no real bearing on whatever question she was being asked at that moment, revealed both a defense mechanism designed to keep her from putting her foot in her mouth, and how out of her league she actually was. But, she was admittedly confident and assured--if a bit tense--in her demeanor, holding her own. In essence, what she takes from this debate, after all her blunders post-convention and pre-debate, is that she managed to live another day. Of course, with that she helps the Sarah Palin cause more than she does the ticket. Hopefully, it won't be enough to help them become victorous on Nov. 4th.

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