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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Liveblogging the vice presidential debate

The first and only vice presidential debate for the 2008 election cycle is about to kick off in St. Louis between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin. It will be moderated by Gwen Ifill of PBS, running ninety minutes and covering a wide range of topics.

I'll be liveblogging the entire debate. The Think Progress team is also going to be doing extensive liveblogging.

First question is about the bailout bill that just passed the Senate last night but failed to clear the House on Monday.

Biden: Contrasted how Senator Obama has responded to the crisis with John McCain's erratic and flimsy position.

Palin: Claims she and McCain are reformers who will make everything better. If only America will be foolish enough to elect them...

Second question is about shrinking polarization and reducing partisanship.

Biden: Has a long record of reaching across the aisle, working to solve problems. But we can't solve a problem that we don't admit exists. Reminds viewers that John McCain recently said "the fundamentals of our economy strong" the day Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy and Merrill Lynch was sold.

Palin: McCain was talking about the American workforce when he said "the fundamentals of our economy are strong." So, um, Sarah, why didn't he just say, "All hail the American worker!"

Third question: Who is to blame for the subprime mortgage crisis?

Palin: Lenders are to blame. There is greed and corruption on Wall Street and John McCain and I will stop it. An obligatory "hockey mom" reference.

Biden: Barack Obama warned of this crisis years ago while John McCain told the Wall Street Journal he was always for deregulation. John McCain's right wing economic philosophy has failed. The middle class is paying more than its fair share in taxes and Barack Obama will help families meet

Palin: Claimed Obama voted "ninety four times" to increase taxes.

Biden: Under Palin's deceptive standard, John McCain would have voted to increase taxes more than four hundred times.

Next question continues the discussion about taxes.

Biden: This is about fairness. Families who make less than $250,000 will . John McCain wants to give billions of dollars in tax breaks to America's wealthiest and major corporations.

Palin: Attacked Biden for saying that it's patriotic to pay taxes. Espoused the right wing principle that "government is the problem".

Biden: Refuted the lie that most small business owners would be asked to pay more under the fiscal policy of an Obama administration.

Next question: what would the candidates slow down or put on hold?

Biden: We'll probably have to slow down our foreign aid. We need to end loopholes for corporations that purposely

Palin: Didn't answer the question but instead talked about taking on oil companies in Alaska (but "bless them" for the energy they provide).

Biden: Reminded viewers that McCain is for drilling and corporate welfare while Barack Obama supports investing renewable energy. Perhaps Sarah Palin convince John McCain to support a windfall tax on oil companies.

Next question is about bankruptcy.

Biden: There are relief measures that we could implement that would help banks and borrowers, but the Bush administration and the right wing doesn't want those on the table.

Palin: Ignored the question and started talking about energy policy again. Slammed "East Coast states" for not allowing Alaska to drill for all the oil it wants. (Sounds like she is talking about the Arctic Refuge).

Next question is about the climate crisis.

Palin: Doesn't want to argue about the causes, wants to address the consequences, presumably by increasing emissions through the burning of the oil that we're going to be drilling if McCain and Palin get elected.

Biden: You can't come up with a solution if you don't understand the cause. John McCain has voted over twenty times in the last few decades against funding renewable energy sources which are the solution.

Next question is about gay marriage.

Palin: Doesn't support marriage equality, but claims she wouldn't attempt to restrict the rights of gay couples.

Biden: Doesn't support redefining the legal definition of marriage. Will take Sarah Palin "at her word" when she says she doesn't want to abridge civil rights for gays.

Next question is about Iraq.

Biden: We need a timetable and a plan to responsibly exit Iraq.

Palin: Sharply assails the Democratic ticket for not supporting Bush's policy. Joe Biden and Barack Obama want to wave a white flag and surrender in Iraq (by um, giving Iraq back to the Iraqis).

Which is a bigger threat - a nuclear Iran or an unstable Pakistan?

Biden: Pakistan needs our attention because the open and porous border with Afghanistan is where al Qaeda is hiding.

Palin: Both Iran and Pakistan are threats that must be dealt with. Didn't provide many specifics.

Next question is about sitting down at the table with adversaries.

Palin: Paraphrased John McCain's attacks on Barack Obama for being willing to talk to our enemies. Because, apparently, talk is for chumps.

Biden: Defended a strong commitment to diplomacy, explaining that Barack Obama will restore our respect abroad and reestablish ties with alienated allies. Mocked John McCain for saying several weeks ago that he wouldn't meet with leaders in Spain, a NATO member.

Next question is about Israel.

Palin: Israel deserves our full and unwavering support.

Biden: The administration's policy in the Middle East has been an utter failure. Says slowly and forcefully “No one in the United States Senate has been a better friend of Israel than Joe Biden.”

What about genocide? When are interventions abroad justified?

Biden: We can save tens of thousands of lives by intervening abroad when appropriate. We need to address the crisis in Darfur.

Palin: Agrees on Darfur, but again assails Biden for not wanting to continue George W. Bush's disastrous foreign policy.

If you become President, what would your priorities be?

Biden: Barack Obama and I share the same priorities. Were I to become president, I would work to implement all of his major initiatives: a more effective government, a more prosperous economy, a stronger military, a fairer healthcare system, and greater opportunity for all.

Palin: Would continue most of John McCain's Bush-style policies, but since they're both mavericks (ahem) she might change some priorities.

What is the role of the Vice President?

Palin: Endorses Cheney's distorted view of the vice president's office, being somehow split between the executive and legislative branch.

Biden: Forcefully refutes Palin's nonsense. Dick Cheney has been one of the most dangerous vice presidents in American history. Says Cheney ought to know that the vice president is the president's deputy and is part of the executive branch. Reminds viewers that the vice president has no power over Congress except to break tie votes in the Senate.

What is your Achilles' heel as a candidate?

Palin: Aw's so tough being a mom, with kids heading off to college, but ready for the job (despite be "unprepared").

Biden: Passionate, but as someone with thirty years of public service, he has the wisdom and the judgment to be vice president.

Closing statements!

Palin: We are so blessed to be Americans. We have to fight for economic freedom and national security freedom (nice phrasing, Sarah). Again cites Reagan. John McCain is the only guy who has ever fought for you.

Biden: There's a need for fundamental change in this country. The 2008 election is the most important of our lifetimes. The Obama-Biden administration will measure progress by whether any American families can live the American dream and build a better future for themselves.

And with that, we're done!


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