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October 2, 2008

Liveblog: Vice-presidential candidates debate away

Joe Biden and Sarah Palin are debating over tax breaks and healthcare during tonight's debate. Palin seemed very nervous at the beginning but smoothed out eventually. Here's a partial transcript from CNN.

When asked about climate change, Palin said she didn't want to argue over the causes while Biden said it is man made.

Biden says that same sex couples should have the same constitutional and legal rights as heterosexual couples. Palin say she's doesn't want to re-define the traditional definition of marriage, which Biden said he agrees.

Biden: "Barack Obama nor I support redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage. We do not support that. That is basically the decision to be able to be left to faiths and people who practice their faiths the determination what you call it."

The debate moves to foreign policy. Biden says religious leaders control Iran's foreign policy. Palin says there must be a two-state solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflicts.

Both candidates call for the end of the genocide in Darfur.

I'm waiting for the transcript to get the context for these, but Palin seems to be speaking Christianese: "Her reward is in heaven," "worldview," "city on a hill."

Update: Palin to Biden "I know education you are passionate about with your wife being a teacher for 30 years, and God bless her. Her reward is in heaven, right?"

Update: "That world view that says that America is a nation of exceptionalism. And we are to be that shining city on a hill, as President Reagan so beautifully said, that we are a beacon of hope and that we are unapologetic here."

An abortion reference slipped in when Biden talked about why he changed his views on appointing Bork to the Supreme Court.

"Had he been on the court, I suspect there would be a lot of changes that I don't like and the American people wouldn't like, including everything from Roe v. Wade to issues relating to civil rights and civil liberties."

TV commentators are saying people who were hoping for a train wreck are probably disappointed.

The Susan B. Anthony List president implies a comeback for Palin but doesn't offer to say where she went.

"The Sarah we saw tonight was the same Sarah from the GOP convention - the real Sarah. She is back," Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement.

In a CNN poll, 51 percent thought Biden did the best job, while 36 percent thought Palin did the best job. However, respondents said Palin was more likable, scoring 54 percent to Biden's 36 percent.

The Boston Globe's Michael Paulson writes, "Joe Biden wasn't asked about whether he should take Communion. Sarah Palin wasn't asked whether she speaks in tongues. In fact, tonight's vice-presidential debate featured only minimal talk of faith at all..." Reuters' Tom Heneghan asks, "Has the faith factor fizzled in the U.S. campaign?"


Palin's inability to answer any question (e.g. "let me go back to energy" on EVERY QUESTION) beyond how she was coached was indeed a train wreck.

She can memorize a script and people think she's attractive. So maybe the maverick should go try to reform Hollywood. It is still clear Washington is out of her league.

Given recent events, the use of "train wreck" is unfortunate, don't you think?

What is a "traditional marriage?" It wasn't that long ago when a marriage contract was between a man and, not a woman, but with his future father in law. The woman was bought like some expensive luxury item...certified 100% pure and ready for exclusive servicing... forming, from "the seed," "legitimate" male heirs to the man's property, privileges, duties and position in society.

Give me a break. "Traditional marriage" is merely a tawdry propaganda fantasy of dubious morality. Respect traditions, certainly, but remember, traditions seldom go long without some necessary modifications to keep them within nodding distance of reality. And sometimes, such as in the case of slavery, they simply have to be let go entirely, no matter what one thinks the Bible says is God's will.

As near as I can figure out, I think God's will is for us to try that Golden Rule thing as best we can. So, why not let Gay people get married? Nobody I know well cares if someone is Gay or not, and that's as it should be, in my Golden Rule reading of the Bible anyway.

The transcript will show that Palin did not say or even refer to "going back to energy on every question." Those who watched the debate with an interest in learning more about each of the two candidates and their positions were rewarded. Those who didn't saw what they typically do, which is to say, they saw only what they wanted to see.

Palin wasn't quite a trainwreck: she performed much better in the debate than she had in recent interviews, for example.

I was much more impressed by Biden's performance, though. He was polite, well-spoken and actually quoted facts and numbers rather than eschewing all that to spew out folksy wisdom by "speaking directly to the American people." After watching both of the debates, I'd much rather Joe Biden be running the country than Barack Obama.

Also, after the "her reward is in Heaven" line, my agnostic roommate turns to me and says, "that's it, I'm voting for Obama." I've got to admit, it was pretty tacky.

Sarah-rah = cute, doggone it! ;-) ;-) ;-) She didn't have a trainwreck but she did refer in one breathy phrase to "Obama and Obiden" HaHa!

Joe "Scranton Six-Pack" = strong and seasoned, meat and potatoes

Barack the Rock = sleeping well tonite.

Dear John = I'm breaking up with Joe, before he breaks up with me.

I was a little disappointed. Perhaps I am confused about the purpose of a presidential (or in this case vice-presidential) debate. To be fair, the debates were useful for reinforcing the positions of the candidates and their respective parties. The candidates have been at their best when they've carefully outlined and defended their positions.

Unfortunately, much of the precious debate time was wasted on he-said, she-said, no-I-didn't-say (with all due respect) statements aimed at discrediting the opposing candidate. The truth is, I didn't want to hear a debate on who I should vote for--I already know where the candidates stand on that issue.

I wanted to hear more about how we'd keep a government health plan from being a drain on taxpayers or what "victory" in Iraq really means. I know that McCain & Palin hate greed and corruption. We all do. I know Obama & Biden want change. Of course they do---otherwise they'd be republicans. I guess I'd like a little less ethos and pathos and a little more logos. I find myself asking "Who performed better?" instead of "Who is putting forth sound, reasoned policies?" Perhaps in the next debate...

When Sarah Palin winked, my stomach lurched. I'm surprised she didn't flash some leg.

Palin is pro-gay rights and tolerant of abortion - Jimmy Carter redux

During the debate, Palin said she agrees with the Democrats on gay rights. During her interview with Katie Couric, she said she will not outlaw abortion. Palin will not deliver on the social issues conservative Christians care about - she'll be just like Jimmy Carter, who campaigned as an evangelical Christian, but disappointed conservatives.

Abortion and gay rights are therefore no longer issues in this campaign. The McCain camp promises expanded wars, tax cuts for rich people, and economic incompetence during a dawning depression. Obama/Biden is much, much closer to the political positions of the National Association of Evangelicals and other evangelical fellowships. While Republican operatives like Chuck Colson and James Dobson will try to spin these issues away, the fact is that Palin has told us from her own mouth that she will do nothing about social issues, regardless of her own family story, and no one trusts McCain on those issues. Obama-Biden is the only option for informed, thoughtful Christians seeking to support the most Biblical candidate. It will be a shame if Christians cannot rise above their "sports team" mentality that they've adopted concerning politics and fail to vote for the most godly candidate - Obama. At the very least, conservative Christians should vote for a third-party candidate rather than McCain.

I'm curious if any evangelical Christians watched the debate and want to post.

So far, the only comments seem to be those who believe Obama (the one who supported allowing aborted babies born alive to die on a table, or in a trash bin, or wherever) is the logical candidate of faith and compassion. The one who claimed that ignorant people "cling to religion?" The one who sat for 20 years under the pastor who preached anti-American, anti-Jew hatred? (Obama said that he didn't realize his pastor held these views, but if he sat in that church for 20 years and didn't know what was preached, how in the world can he be trusted to correctly "read" foreign dictators?)

Obama and Biden have promised lots of things. Obama even hopes to rebuild the American infrastructure (apparently to bring it up to Chinese standards), give everyone taxpayer funded healthcare, and even hand out checks to those who don't pay income taxes. At some point, you've got to PAY for it. This country simply cannot pay for all the things they promise.

The last Democrat that ran for president promising tax cuts and "free" health care was Bill Clinton in 1990. He didn't provide "free" health care, he implemented the largest tax increase in history, and he raised Social Security taxes. The government is not to be a hammer used to punish those that politicians believe make too much money. They're not kings.

Politicians can promise a lot. But they rely on Americans have short-term memories.

Hey candidates, did you forget something, what are our big plans to create jobs and fix our economy? The American public is left holding the bag to bail out the banks, how are you going to create jobs so people don't have to deal with this; http://www.buymyhousebeforethebanktakesit.com ... is this the future of America?

GOVERNOR PALIN is 'real', and Americans could feel it and connect with it. Palin is running for V.P ... but, let's take a look at the qualifications, judgement, and experience of Obama, who is running for President. Obama had 25 years to fulfill the potential he displayed as a rising start at Harvard Law School ... and, how did he live up to that potential? He chose to align himself with anti-American racist, Jeremiah Wright for TWENTY YEARS ... along with Ferrahkan, Rezko, Ayers, and others. As a community organizer, he registered thousands of voters in Chicago ... then, when he ran for the state legislature, he took away their votes, by disqualifying his opponent (a black woman) on a technicality. As a U.S. Senator, he voted present 160 times ... he never called a meeting on the Afghanistan committee he chaired (although he NOW says we must shift all our military from Iraq to Afghanistan). He claimed Foreign Policy experience from a 9 day whirlwind photo op to 6 countries. And, he spent almost half of his tenure neglecting his responsibilities as a U.S. Senator, so he could run for President. Senator McCain served America honorably for 22 years in the military. He proved his love for America, as well as his honor, integrity and character, by refusing early release as a P.O.W., even while being tortured. He served America as a 'contributing' U.S. Senator, working across the aisle, for 20 years. Governor Palin will learn the details of the current national and international issues ... but, what Obama never learned is Character. He can't be trusted ... ask Jeremiah Wright, Rezko and Ayers. The American people can recognize 'real' character and integrity in McCain and Palin, and that's why she won the debate by 87% on the FOX text messaging poll.


1. TAX VOTE: Biden said McCain voted “the exact same way” as Obama to increase taxes on Americans earning just $42,000, but McCain DID NOT VOTE THAT WAY.

2. AHMEDINIJAD MEETING: Joe Biden lied when he said that Barack Obama never said that he would sit down unconditionally with Mahmoud Ahmedinijad of Iran. Barack Obama did say specifically, and Joe Biden attacked him for it.

3. OFFSHORE OIL DRILLING: Biden said, “Drill we must.” But Biden has opposed offshore drilling and even compared offshore drilling to “raping” the Outer Continental Shelf.”

4. TROOP FUNDING: Joe Biden lied when he indicated that John McCain and Barack Obama voted the same way against funding the troops in the field. John McCain opposed a bill that included a timeline, that the President of the United States had already said he would veto regardless of it’s passage.

5. OPPOSING CLEAN COAL: Biden says he’s always been for clean coal, but he just told a voter that he is against clean coal and any new coal plants in America and has a record of voting against clean coal and coal in the U.S. Senate.

6. ALERNATIVE ENERGY VOTES: According to FactCheck.org, Biden is exaggerating and overstating John McCain’s record voting for alternative energy when he says he voted against it 23 times.

7. HEALTH INSURANCE: Biden falsely said McCain will raise taxes on people’s health insurance coverage — they get a tax credit to offset any tax hike. Independent fact checkers have confirmed this attack is false

8. OIL TAXES: Biden falsely said Palin supported a windfall profits tax in Alaska — she reformed the state tax and revenue system, it’s not a windfall profits tax.

9. AFGHANISTAN / GEN. MCKIERNAN COMMENTS: Biden said that top military commander in Iraq said the principles of the surge could not be applied to Afghanistan, but the commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force Gen. David D. McKiernan said that there were principles of the surge strategy, including working with tribes, that could be applied in Afghanistan.

10. REGULATION: Biden falsely said McCain weakened regulation — he actually called for more regulation on Fannie and Freddie.

11. IRAQ: When Joe Biden lied when he said that John McCain was “dead wrong on Iraq”, because Joe Biden shared the same vote to authorize the war and differed on the surge strategy where they John McCain has been proven right.

12. TAX INCREASES: Biden said Americans earning less than $250,000 wouldn’t see higher taxes, but the Obama-Biden tax plan would raise taxes on individuals making $200,000 or more.

13. BAILOUT: Biden said the economic rescue legislation matches the four principles that Obama laid out, but in reality it doesn’t meet two of the four principles that Obama outlined on Sept. 19, which were that it include an emergency economic stimulus package, and that it be part of “part of a globally coordinated effort with our partners in the G-20.”

14. REAGAN TAX RATES: Biden is wrong in saying that under Obama, Americans won’t pay any more in taxes then they did under Reagan.

What's the "faith factor" anyway? Just because they weren't asked about religion, then, what?--faith isn't important? These are two candidates for whom religion is very important in their lives; neither would be the type of person or politician that they are if they were of a different faith tradition.

She wasn't a trainwreck, but sadly the transcript does not make for good reading. She waffled, and I have to agree she simply avoided answering some of the questions and also agree that at one point she brought things back to energy a bit too often.
She was never going to do well against Joe Biden, she didn't do badly all told. But I doubt she brought over one person who was sitting on the fence. IMHO it is clear she should never have been picked for the VP slot, I say that despite the fact that I actually quite like her. She is simply not VP material - and the blame has to lie at McCains feet for frankly using her as a bit of a stunt to appeal to conservatives in a way he never can. The country and its future are far too important right now, Palin should never have been brought to the ticket, and I think last night was confirmation of that. I hope she goes back to Alaska - continues to do a good job there, and maybe runs as a Senator at some point. She would be a breath of fresh air in Washington at that level.

The VP debate simply served to underscore one inescapable conclusion. Sarah Palin is woefully, pitifully unqualified to be VP of the United States.She has nowhere near the experience or the policy expertise needed to hold such high office.Should she be forced to assume the presidency it would be a disaster of epic proportions.This woman simply would not have a clue of how to function in such a role.In times such as these the result of a Palin presidency could well be a tragedy for the human race.

What Sarah Palin showed in the VP debate is that she has a certain amount of folksy charm, can memorize a few lines, and that she comes across as a likable person on TV. This might qualify her to become a reporter on "Entertainment Tonight" if there was an opening there.Come on folks, let's get real here. It's simply absurd to suggest that this woman is remotely qualified to be the leader of the free world.

"William" above cites a litany of Obama's alleged sins and then concludes:

what Obama never learned is Character. He can't be trusted ... ask Jeremiah Wright, Rezko and Ayers. The American people can recognize 'real' character and integrity in McCain and Palin,

William omits to comment on McCains' serial adultery which continued for years before he found Cindy and decided he had found the partner who would make it financially worthwhile to divorce his wife and mother of his children. This is a man of 'real' character? No wonder William put 'real" in quotes.

Everybody misspeaks from time to time, and if you speak much, you're bound to misspeak more than someone who speaks rarely. Hence the old saying: 'It's better to hold your tongue and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.' But some charity in debate is always better than none, so, clearly neither VP candidate is a fool.

But given their similarity of position on abortion and gay rights, it shouldn't be a difficult choice: a well informed, affable, statesman; or a shockingly uninformed, snarky, Evangelical. Still, I know people who are chosing both.


For those that think Biden is great, he does spout facts. Most are made up or half truths, but his delivery is as smooth as a snake's belly.

Unaffiliated Voter, can you provide specific examples of Governor Palin's being "snarky?" Also, for those who believe that Biden won the debate, not only do a majority know that Sarah Palin did, it is always possible to talk a good game, but you have to see who can back it up. In terms of experience, when Sarah Palin was a mayor of a small town, Obama was merely a community organizer. Also, keep in mind that she is not running for president, just vice president. Not to mention, Governor Palin has shown that she's at least capable of making a speech without a teleprompter.

For H.C. --

You posted the 14 (alleged) lies of Biden. You posted them as if they were you own thoughts -- without attribution. In fact, they were lifted word for word from johnmccain.com. That's plagiarism and that makes you the liar.

And, BTW, you and johnmccain.com are just factually incorrect on a number of points. Check out factcheck.org for the real facts. Then make up you own mind. Mindless recitation of the campaign's (any campaign's) talking points is no more helpful than the madrassa students who memorize the Koran without even understanding Arabic. Please, God gave us minds to reason. She must have meant for us to use them!

As an evangelical, one cannot deny the many years of experience Biden brings to the Vice Presidency (surely more than a "wink" to strengthen your points). The substance issue in the debate was handled much better than the learned responses coached by those in Sedona, AZ. She did well in parroting them. We as evangelicals will have to face the issue that being politically sensitive to the needs that Christ must also see out there outstrip the rather shallow perspectives offered by the Palin camp.

Palin is only doing what is best, she thinks, for the campaign. I have more of a problem with John McCain. His family is involved in liquor distribution. Am I the only one who sees this? Cindy McCain's family business is like the 8th largest beer distributor in the US. We need to rethink where peoples values really are. I don't think McCain's values represent my values. Plus, he divorced his first wife. Does Sarah Palin actually speak in tongues or not? I would like to know.