Whew. Thought there would be an ad break or two. For those who missed it, here is a quick rundown, typed while it happened.
9:02 -- She really is pretty. "Hey, can I call you Joe?" Hell, she can call me Joe.
:03-- Worst or best of DC?
Biden: Blames Bush for economic policies. Fair enough by us. OTOH, Congress hasn't exactly been "put in a tough spot." Makes Obama sound like an MBA for minute. Beats an ideologue.
Palin: Soccer moms! Apparently, they've figured out that we're in trouble. Canaries in the coal mine. Blames "Federal Government," claims McCain was out ahead on this with Freddie/Fannie "reform bill." Praises him for "suspending".
:07 -- Can Veep reduce polarization?
Biden says he's been doing it whole career. But ... it's gotten worse during his whole career. So he goes back to beating up McCain on economy.
Her response is to defend mcCain on "fundamentals." Team of mavericks, claims she's known for putting partisanship aside -- ummm, how? Then a dig at Biden's "years in senate." And !@#$% "maverick" again.
09 -- Ifill calls non-responsive, moves on to mortgage crisis. Promises to come back to it. Never does.
Palin: blames predatory lenders, corruption on Wall Street. Is corruption per se really the issue? As in lawbreaking?
Biden: blames deregulation, and talks about McCain's experience w/ same. Great bit about desire to deregulate healthcare on banking model -- is it true? Palin wants to turn it into a meaningless discussion of taxes, but does make one interesting point -- McCain has also been pretty involved in regulation, which is why so many conservatives hate him. But she's just silly on that 2-yr-old procedural thing that McCain dragged out last time, and Biden swats her down. Gently.
The baby cries, and I lose the ability to keep time. Hey, it's live internet.
"I may not answer the questions the way the moderator or you want to hear" -- what the hell does that mean? Ah, she cut taxes, and wants to brag, even though its off-point. (Did she?)
So on to taxes: Why isn't Obama's plan class warfare, McCain's dumping on poor?
Biden: Bush tax cuts are going to the rich, Obama's to the middle class. Worth repeating, and it is simple fairness, isn't it? "This is not punitive" -- even though that's how most people seem to see all taxation. Nice bit about doing just as well as they did under Reagan.
Palin: Less job creation! Taxes aren't patriotic -- see? Government is the problem! (Why won't people who think that stay out of government? They stink at it). But has to be reminded to talk about the health-care plan, which is a lame-o $5000 credit. (Tell that to your oncologist or surgeon, who charge as much for one procedure). Oh, and misrepresents Obama's plan.
Biden: Reminds us that the really small businesses don't get tax increases. Then great argument about McCain's tax deduction -- is a tax on the insured that is paid directly to insurance companies. (Can that possibly be true? What a lousy plan, if it is. A "Bridge to nowhere" -- nice dig.)
Next: Promises you'll have to break?
Biden: Foreign assistance won't double. Then, weirdly, says he won't support McCain's policies. Uh, yeah. We thought that already. Then, like Obama, talks about all the stuff he won't change on. Um, yeah. Non-responsive.
Palin: McCain has character! (Tell his first wife). Obama voted for tax breaks for oil companies, and she claims that she -- what? Rescinded them? Who knows. She broke up a monopoly? Which one -- only McCain is old enough to remember Standard Oil. (What precisely is she saying she did? What precisely does this have to do with the question?)
Ifill: "So ... nothing?" Palin says that's right, because I haven't promised anything yet. Complete waste of airtime.
Biden: Okay, back to taxes. Alternative energy; and hey, about McCain's budget -- why is he cutting oil company taxes more? But he knows what she actually did in Alaska -- windfall profits tax that she imposed and McCain opposes. Nice maneuver -- using the facts.
Next: Making bankruptcy harder. McCain supported it -- do you? Oh, and Biden did, Obama didn't.
Palin: Yes, but, ahem, um, it was different 2 years ago, and McCain warned us. (Which is meaningless. He still wants to punish the bankrupt.)
Biden: Obama and I disagreed. And Obama knew about the crisis 2 years ago! We've done this already. But he wants bankruptcy courts to have the power to change your debt principal -- holy cow, that's intense. Anyway, claims McCain and Palin oppose it.
Ifill: Is that so?
Palin: That is not so. Now let's talk about something else -- energy! We need energy independence! My God, the terrorists are selling us oil!
Next: Energy and climate change.
Palin: Hey, we've got that. Did you know I'm from Alaska? But Man may have done some of the damage, and then some damage is "cyclical," and I don't care about the causes. Let's just talk about what we can do to clean it up. (Um, yeah. Without understanding the cause?) Hey -- if we were energy independent, that would somehow keep China from polluting with all the cheaper oil ... what was I saying again?
Biden: It's manmade. Clearly manmade. "If you don't understand the cause, it's impossible to come up with a solution." So he cites some facts. We like facts. More alternative energy, then export the tech to China to clean them up. (Could that have been what Palin meant? Or was she just blathering?)
Next: Cap and trade, clean coal.
Palin: Drill, baby drill. (So ... not so big into alternative energy, just alternative wells?) Says the Dems have said no to everything, called drilling "raping the continental shelf." Oh, okay, she does want alternatives, like "nuke-you-lar." And she supports cap and trade.
Biden: Hard targets on clean coal for 20 years, something abut China. So why does McCain keep voting against funding alternative energy? (Repeat)
Same-sex benefits to couples -- like Alaska?
Biden: Yup. Gives examples, but answer is clear and unambiguous.
Palin: No. It might redefine marriage. But she is tolerant. Umm ... so? She won't prohibit certain rights, but wants to make it about .... (Wait. she's the governor of Alaska. Shouldn't she support her own state's policy? My head hurts.)
Biden: No. let your own damn church decide. But as to rights under law, Palin agrees with me.
Palin: No. (But again avoids some details of question.)
Iraq exit strategy?
Palin: We've got one! The surge! Petraueus and McCain invented it -- Note to Self: remember not to mention POTUS. Oooh -- reminds Biden that he argued with Obama about this. Anyway, we've got to win in Iraq in order to win in Afghanistan. Hey, she knows who the Shi'ia are.
Biden: Shift responsibility and draw down troops over 16 months, just like Bush is starting to say but McCain won't. And, yet again, he knows more about the details of the vote she's talking about. "We will end this war -- for John M., there is no end in sight."
Palin: Calls him chicken. We'll stand down when they stand up. Never mind the ongoing negotiations and express will of the Iraqi government. Reminds him of some more times he and Obama disagreed.
Biden: McCain also voted to cut off funding for the troops -- specifically a lot of $ for M-RAPS. Brings up McCain and Cheney and the absurd idea that the war would be fast and cheap.
Nuclear Iran and unstable Pakistan: Which is worse?
Biden: Both bad. Pakistan has nukes; Iran isn't close. Both are "game-changers." And hey -- McCain still thinks an attack will come from Iraq, but we all know it will really come from the Pakistani-Afghan border. We need to get our tails in there and (a) build schools, (b) kill OBL.
Palin: No, no, no -- Petraeus and the Iraqis say it's Iraq, so it must be Iraq. She can pronounce "Ahmadinejad," and considers him "neither sane nor stable." (Does McCain really want to launch a preemptive strike on those guys? And how badly?) Anyway, on to negotiating without preconditions. Again.
Secretaries of State who all want us to engage with enemies.
Palin: I met Kissinger! He likes diplomacy! But not with dictators who hate our freedoms and our respect for women's rights.
Biden: You misrepresent Obama. And you guys do know Ahmedinejad doesn't control the security apparatus, right? And you know that our friends and allies, the ones you want to drag along into a negotiation, have been begging us to negotiate? Picks on McCain for not negotiating with Spain. (What WAS that Spain thing about?)
Israel/Palestine: What have we done, done wrong, and is 2-state the way to go?
Palin: Yes. 2-state. But no 2nd Holocaust. (Well. That's revolutionary).
Biden: I love Israel! So does Obama! But you asked about this administration -- "an abject failure." Gives examples. We like facts. Especially all the "we-told-you-sos." And we don't like Iran either, and I know more about it than she does.
Ifill: Abject failure?
Palin: No! Bush Administration has made huge blunders, but shouldn't be blamed. All this talk about the past makes us wonder if you care about the future. (Wtf? Can she name anything Bush did right? She certainly isn't trying.)
Biden: Will McCain's policy be different than Bush's? I haven't heard ... (Long list of things he hasn't heard McCain differentiate from Bush. He memorized this stuff way in advance. Still, it sounds good.)
Interventionism and Nukes: When do we push the button?
Palin: Our enemies should never have the chance. We have a deterrent, and that's "safe and stable." Sure. Again, she doesn't answer the question. And then moves on to Afghanistan -- where McCain promises to be different from Bush because he'll implement ... a surge.
Biden: 1. Afghanistan: the commander said today that the surge principles used in Iraq will not work in Afghanistan. We need more troops, more $ on infrastructure. (Not sure about difference.) 2. Back to nukes -- we need a test-ban treaty, and McCain voted against it. Obamam and Lugar worked on it,
Palin: McClellan did not say that! Did not! (Yes, she calls him McClellan, which was actually a Civil War general.)
Biden: Yes he did. (So, let's check this later, shall we?) Anyway, McCain considered Afghanistan over and done with 2 years ago, and wouldn't let us spend money on it.
Interventionism. Can the public stomach it?
Biden: If we succeed. (Hey -- he saw the first ten minutes of "Patton.") Bosnia was limited success; I voted for Iraq b/c Bush told me it was about giving sanctions teeth. And we need to intervene in Darfur.
Palin: I'm an outsider, silly. You flip-flopped on the war -- for it before you were against it. And you've gone soft since you got into the Veep race. We agree on Darfur. Hey, I'm the governor of Alaska -- we divested from Sudan. That's like a war, right? Except it hasn't passed yet.
Ifill: So what's the line? For when we go in?
Biden: Can we win? And how bad are they -- like genocide? Then more about Iraq, and how Cheney screwed it up and mcCain supported Cheney.
Palin: You're a liar. McCain knows how to win a war (And again we ask: How? And why won't he tell us before we elect him?) She says it again.
Next: How would you govern if you had to, given differences from principles?
Biden: God forbid. But I would carry out his policies -- break for middle class, health, tax, college, energy, Iraq. And on and on. "In essence I agree with every major initiative."
Palin: Team of mavericks! Push him on ANWR. He wants debate to make good policy. But, ahem, I would continue his good work, especially fighting greed and corruption on Wall St., make it more like Wasilla Main St. "Government, get out of my way!"
Biden: I go to Home Depot. And everybody I know is poorer than they were 8 years ago. So where does McCain differ from Bush? Go to my old neighborhood. Or Scranton.
Palin: You're talking about the past again! Let's tell people what we want to do. Ramp up the schools -- with funding. Love the 3rd graders. So let's "increase the standards," but "emphasize the profession of teaching."
Next: One of you didn't know what the Veep did, the other didn't want it.
Palin: My "jke" didnt work. Neither did yours, Joe. Constitution would permit a bit MORE authority given to Veep "in working with the Senate." What??? Special needs children, just like the Constitution says.
Biden: Hey, about education -- John doesn't support it. Back to the Veepship: Point person for initiatives in Congress; no portfolio; but give advice on major decisions.
Ifill: Palin, what branch is the Veep in?
Palin: Well, it's flexible. We'll do what's best for the people in ushering an agenda. "So, um, yeah, I do agree with [Cheney]...." Oh, and did I mention I'm an executive? <--- SCARIEST PART OF THE WHOLE DEBATE. She agrees about Cheney's insane theory.
Biden: Cheney is the most dangerous Veep in history. He doesn't read the Constitution. "Bizarre notion ... invented by Cheney to aggrandize the power."
What are your weak spots?
Palin: I have experience as an executive! Energy independence! Heartland of America. Once, I didn't have health coverage. "And that world-view I share with John McCain." (Um, those are your weaknesses?) We're a good team.
Biden: I have plenty of Achilles' heels. And I won't change. Wrote some good laws. I'm a single parent -- my wife and daughter died. My Dad went bust. I'm doing great (even though I'm the poorest Senator). (Again, these aren't really weaknesses ....)
Palin: McCain is a maverick! Why, even other Republicans like him -- Giuliani, Romney, me. And partisanship is bad.
Biden: Maverick my pasty behind. Voted for Bush's deficit budget. Voted against expanding health care. Education, tax cuts, war -- "virtually anything that generally affects the things people talk about around the kitchen table."
Finally: Single issue on which you changed your view to fit circumstances?
Biden: Yes. Issue of basis upon which to approve or reject federal judges. More than just moral turpitude -- ideology counts.
Palin: Budgets I did not veto -- "I caved." Didn't cut taxes enough. But on principle, No. Oh, and did I mention that I'm from Alaska?
Ifill: How do you change the tone in DC?
Biden: Work across the aisle, the way Mike Mansfield taught me -- remember that Jesse Helms adopted a child; don't question your colleagues' motives. Earn their respect. (Not sure how that qualifies as "change.")
Palin: Appoint people without regard for party. (Good answer. Easily her best of the night. Question: Does her track record reflect this?). Hey -- did you know I support jobs and energy and stuff?
Palin: We will fight for America, including the middle class (that we intend to use to pay for the tax cuts on the rich). Quotes Ronald Reagan! From memory!
Biden: Economy tanking, so is credibility abroad. We don't measure progress by CEO pay or corporate success -- but by how families are doing. Dignity and respect in my old neighborhood. "When you get knocked down, then get up." I'm a working class guy.