They're calling this discussion between the BiPartisans a debate. No 2nd parties are allowed to participate.
To add insult to injury, Gwen Ifill of PBS is moderating this thing. She's got a book on Obama coming out on election day. She works for PBS. PBS. Yes, government owned PBS. And she's supposed to be neutral.
Ifill opens up with a question on the giveaway/bailout.
Biden: The last 8 years have been the worst ever. Biden's quoting Obama's plan. Oversight. Homeowners. Taxpayers are investors. CEO's can't benefit. We don't need people making money off the rescue plan? We don't need people making money off the rescue plan???? What is the rescue plan about?
Palin: Has this been a good time or a bad time? Go to a soccer game. You're going to hear fear. The soccer moms just took a major hit. She's wearing The Mother Of All Flag Pins. We need more oversight (as if they didn't ride roughshod over the present oversight.) People wouldn't listen to McCain's pleas for oversight. Biden is staring a hole through her.
Ifill: How would you fight this polarization in Washington?
Biden: I've reached across the aisle my whole career. But enough about that..... McCain said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. That was at 9:00. By 11, we had a crisis.
Palin: McCain was talking to, and about the American workforce, and by the way, your flag pin is smaller than mine. I'm known for putting partisan politics aside. 96% of Obama's votes are party line. Americans want something new. Reform. We need to send a maverick to the White House.
Ifill: Neither of you are answering my question. Who was responsible for the subprime meltdown?
Palin: It was the predator lenders. Selling 300k houses to people who could only afford a 100K house. Joe six pack, hockey moms need to band together and never be taken advantage of again. We need strict oversight. WE NEED A MOMMY STATE, AND I'M A MOMMY ! ! !
She's dropping her g's on the end of gerunds a lot.
Biden: Two years ago, Obama warned about this, and McCain was surprised by it. McCain says he's always for cutting regulations. Right Wing Republican. Deregulate. He thinks Wall Street could regulate itself. He wants to deregulate the healthcare industry.
Palin: Darn right, we need tax relief for Americans. Obama voted for the increases, 92 times. 94 times. That's not what we need to heat up our economy. Government has to learn to live with less. Make just $$42,000 a year, and you get a tax increase with Obama.
Biden: He didn't vote to raise taxes. McCain voted the same way. McCain voted 477 times to raise taxes. Palin didn't answer the question about deregulation. He's in her face about it.
Palin: I'm gonna talk straight with you. I voted to reduce taxes. She's not answering about McCain yet. She's going into his position now.....Ifill cuts her off.
Ifill: Comes out with a wonkish tax question. Biden, you want to raise taxes on those making $255,000 per year. Why isn't that class warfare? Palin, you've proposed a tax on employer health benefits. Why isn't this taking things out on the poor?
Biden: Fairness. Under McCain's plan, 100 million middle class families wouldn't get a tax break. Under Obama's plan, no tax increases for these folks. Free lunches for 97% of us. When the middle class does well, America does well. McCain wants to give more stuff to the rich. They'll pay no more than they did under Reagan. (Having it both ways.)
Palin: You're forgetting how many small businesses fit into that category. You've said that paying more taxes is patriotic. That's horse hockey. Government is the problem. Lessen the tax burden on the economy. Obama is proposing a trillion in new spending.
Ifill: McCain's health care plan?
Palin: McCain is proposing a plan, blah blah blah blah, freakin' blah.
You know, I was at a small Libertarian party meeting at Pop's Safari bar in the museum district of Fort Worth before this. I left early to come home and blog this mess. These two are all about class warfare and fairness. They're throwing percentages and vote totals and stuff back and forth at each other with NO reference.
This thing is much harder to liveblog than the presidential debate.
They're debating each others' proposals (done on the fly, depending on which state they're in.)
Biden just got a laugh with a "Bridge to Nowhere" joke.
Ifill: What are you willing to get up, now that we're in an economic crisis?
Biden: We're not going to go through with tax cuts for Exxon. (We're going to tax the hell out of them, so you can pay more at the pump. As if higher taxes for corporations won't have an effect.) I'd eliminate the tax dodge of going offshore.
Palin: The nice thing about running with John.... He's consistent. The energy plan....Obama voted for an energy plan that gave Exxon those big tax breaks. She said that wasn't going to happen in her state. They're not her biggest fans. She busted up a monopoly up there in Alaska. Obama voted for those tax breaks that I had to undo. And my state is freakin' huge, and you're just a senator from Delaware.
Ifill: There's nothing you've promised you wouldn't take off the table.
Palin: I've only been running 5 weeks, so I don't have a big table.
Biden: Obama voted for the bill because of the support for Alternative Energy. Why is John adding 4 billion to the tax breaks for Exxon? Rhetoric, rhetoric, I give Palin credit.
Ifill: Last year, Palin, Congress passed a bill that would make it more difficult to declare bankruptcy because of getting suckered into a mortgage. Do you agree?
Palin: We need to be more appreciative of McCain's call for reform. You can thank him for bringing people to the table, trying to fix the problem. It's a toxic mess on MAIN STREET THAT'S AFFECTING WALL STREET? She got it backwards.
Ifill: Biden, you voted for the bankruptcy bill, Obama voted against it. Mortgage holders paid the price.
Biden: Obama and I disagreed, Glass half empty, glass half full. Obama wrote to the Treasury and said Get On The Stick Here. McCain said "I'm surprised".
At Pop's Safari Bar, I smoked a cigar Wayyyyy to fast, so I could get home and watch this. Does anyone ever succesfully go back and verify what these people say? There are so many earmarks lumped together on every vote, there's no way to briefly explain what you're voting for or against.
Ok, Palin just made a jab at EAST COAST NON-PRODUCING STATES (UNLIKE HER MASSIVE PRODUCTION EMPIRE) and we're relying on foreign countries to produce for them, countries that don't like America.
Energy independence is the key, blah blah blah.
Palin is doing better than I thought she would.
Ifill: What causes climate change?
Palin: Alaska feels the impact more than any other state. Part of it is man made, some of is cyclical. What I want to argue is (Ok, I admit I'm reversing the Tivo on this sentence, wanna get it right) how are we gonna get there to positively affect the impacts, we have got to clean up this planet, we have got to encourage other nations also to come along with us with the impacts of climate change.....impacts? impacts? impacts? She's freakin' out for the first time. Ifill and Biden are just letting her roll along....She's blathering on about impacts....
Biden: It's clearly man-made. If you don't understand the cause, you can't develop a solution. He's going into how much we produce, vs what we consume. McCain's record of voting against alternative energy programs. He's not going into how he and Pat Robertson are going to change the weather.
Ifill: McCain says he supports caps. Biden hasn't always supported clean coal technology.
Palin: Drill baby, drill. Even in my own energy producing state, etc etc, we're building a massive pipeline, etc etc etc. I live in Alaska, and you don't. You call exploration "raping" the outer shelf. O GOD, SHE JUST PRONOUNCED NUCLEAR LIKE BUSH DOES.
Ifill: Who supports carbon caps?
Everyone: I do.
Biden: Something about a rope line comment.
i had one beer at Pop's Safari bar. It has worn off. I need another. Back in a few. Whoops, never mind. Gay marriage question....
Ifill: Same sex benefits to couples?
Biden: Yep. No difference. Same sex couples should be granted the same rights as everyone else. Let's see if he supports gay marriage.
Palin: Not if it supports the traditional definition marriage. I'm tolerant. I have a diverse family, and diverse friends. In that tolerance, no one would propose anything to prohibit hospital visits, property rights. I don't support anything but a traditional definition of marriage.
Ifill: Biden, do you support gay marriage?
Ok, people, that's why you should support Libertarians.
Ifill: You both have kids in Iraq. What's the exit strategy?
Palin: We've got an exit strategy. Petraeus, Petraeus, etc etc Obama voted against funding the troops. Biden, you called him out on it. You said it was political. We don't need early withdrawal. The surge has worked. Let's move people to Afghanistan. We can't lose against Al Qaeda, and the Shia.
Biden: I didn't hear a plan. Obama has a plan. The same one Bush is now negotiating. McCain voted the same way I did, because it had a timeline, to draw down American troops if there's a timeline. Obama and I think you've got to have a timeline to shift responsibility to the Iraqis. They have an 80 billion dollar surplus (their government never sponsored a Fannie and Freddy).
Palin: Your plan is a white flag of surrender in Iraq. You opposed the surge, the surge worked. We'll know when we're finished when they can govern and protect themselves. Biden, you said you wanted to run with McCain on the ticket? You said Obama wasn't ready to be president. I respect you and your decision. Obama's is another story.
Biden: John McCain voted to cut off funding to the troops. Because it had a timeline in it. McCain was saying the Sunnis and Shias would get along. He's been dead wrong on the fundamental issues.
Ifill: Iran and Pakistan.
Biden: Both are extremely dangerous. Pakistan has nukes. They've tested them. They can hit Israel. Iran would be destabilizing. John says the central front in the war on terror is in Iraq. It will be in Afghanistan, not Iraq, John !
He's calling McCain "John" a lot. Let's you know he knows all about him.
Palin: Both are bad. Petraeus is who turned this around. Petraeus and the leader of al-qaeda agree that Iraq is the center of the fight. Leader of Iran called Israel a stinking corpse. o god, she's going off into the "preconditions" thing that Obama said 9 months ago. McCain, Palin, nobody cares about this outside of the state department.
Ifill: All of the Wise Men have advocated some level of engagement with our enemies. Do you agree?
Palin: I hang out with Kissinger, and I agree with him. It's the preconditions thing again. the folks at home don't get it. I promise.
Biden: That's not true. Leader of Iran (whose name I can't spell) doesn't control the nukes. All our friends and allies say Talk, Talk, Talk. McCain says he wouldn't sit down and talk with the adversary. McCain says he wouldn't sit down with Spain.
Ifill: Israel. Palestine.
Palin: A two state solution is the solution. Rice is working on it. Israel is our best ally in the middle east. We won't allow a 2nd holocaust. Let's build an embassy in Jerusalem.
Biden: Nobody in the senate has been a better friend to Israel than Joe Biden. Bush's policy has been a disaster. Hamas won the elections. This is the sharpest that Biden has sounded. I think Palin wishes he was a moose.
Palin: I'm just soooooo happy that we both love Israel. Cause you know what? There are lots of Jewish people in Miami and I want their votes ! ! ! We're gonna work this out. Boilerplate, cliches, and we all respect each other. Change is coming.
Biden: How different is McCain going to be from Bush? You know how a word sounds funny when you repeat it over and over? Biden just said "George Bush's" about eight times in a row. Sounded ridiculous.
Palin: I say the word Nuclear just like Bush. It's uncanny. Can we talk about Afghanistan? The surge principles that have worked in Iraq would work in Afghanistan. Petraeus and the surge. It's all we've got, and I'm gonna keep bringing it up. And we're building schools for children.
Biden: Our commanding general in Afghanistan said the surge principle won't work there. He said we need more troops? (Heck, isn't that what the surge is?) We've spent more in 3 weeks in Iraq than we've spent building the govt of Afghanistan in the last 6.5 years. More hits on John McCain. Obama reached across the aisle to Dick Lugar.
Palin: McClellan didn't say that the surge principles would work (definitively). Counter-insurgency strategy could work there. Talking points. talking points. scripted. She's not herself here.
Biden: He did say that. While Barack and Lugar and I have wanted to do more in Afghanistan, McCain has been saying they've succeeded. Ok, from now on, I'm typing "A" for Afghanistan. It's a really long word.
Ifill: More troops on the ground?
Biden: America has a stomach for success. What I did in Bosnia saved 10,000 lives. They'd been fighting for thousands of years, and now it's working. I said it would be a mistake to go into Iraq. Palin just looked up and got giggly. Something about Darfur and Nato. We can do it. I've been to the camps in Chad. We should rally the world to act to stop genocide.
Palin: It's so obvious that I'm a Washington outsider. Hey if you voted for it, just tell us why. You loved all this until the pres. race. Darfur: We can agree there. No fly zone. We're in a position to help. Alaska has a 40 billion dollar fund, and we divested our Sudan funds. Let's end atrocities.
Ifill: Where do you draw the line?
Biden: We have to have the capacity to do something about it. You can't harbor terrorists. Let's go back to McCain's strategy. On and on and on about who said what, tied down for a decade. McCain was lockstep with Cheney.
Palin: Ummm....I beg to disagree with you, you can say what you want to say....The pundits are going to weigh in on this, fact checkers, the truth will come out about who supported what.
Ifill: Vice Presidency is a heartbeat away. How would a Biden administration differ from an Obama administration?
Biden: I would carry out his policies. (Not answering the question. Does he not get it, or is he ignoring it?)
Palin: Heaven forbid anything should happen to a President. As for disagreeing with McCain? We're mavericks. I disagree with him on ANWR.... SHE ANSWERED THE QUESTION ! Now she's not answering the question, going off into cliches. Working class families. Running against Washington.
Biden: Go to the diner or Home Depot. You'll see. What has John McCain done to distinguish himself from Bush? Nothing.
Let's talk about class warfare for a few minutes.... We're a very fluid society. We don't have rigid classes. They're both saying "middle class" like it'll get them back to Auntie Em in Kansas.
Palin: Say it ain't so, Joe. (Gets a laugh) Your wife is a teacher, I'm from a family of teachers. Gives a shout out to the 3rd graders at Gladys Wood elementary. We need more flexibility in No Child Left Behind. We've got to ramp it up.
Ifill: Let's bring up your gaffes about the Vice Presidency.
Palin: We were both trying to make jokes, and nobody got yours, Joe. We know what a VP does, preside over the Senate. Support president's policies. I'd be all about energy independence, reform, children with special needs.
Biden: Education. I don't know any education program John has supported. Barack asked me to get things done in the Senate. I'd be the point man for the legislative initiatives. Obama wanted me with him. I'd give advice. I look forward to working with Barack.
Ifill: Do you believe that the exec branch doesn't hold complete sway over the Veep?
Palin: The founding fathers gave the rules. I do agree that we have some flexibility in there.
I've got to ask myself.....I liked Biden a lot in the Democratic debates. He said a lot of sensible things. Am I hostile to him now because he's the only big government guy on the stage, and Palin is more libertarian on most issues? Or is it because he's having to debate a woman? Neither one of them is setting the world on fire right now. Biden ought to be dominating, but it ain't happening.
Biden: Cheney has been a disaster. Primary role of Veep is to support the president. The idea that the Veep is part of the legislature is dangerous.
Ifill: Achilles heels. What is yours?
Palin: My experience as mayor, business owner, executive, and huge energy producing state? Let's see if I can find a weakness.....Hmmmmm. I can't think of one right now. I have the same world view as McCain. We're a shining city on a hill. cliches, cliches, cliches. If you think i'm going to admit to a weakness, you're crazy as hell.
Biden: Lack of discipline? Excessive passion, maybe? (He's answering the question that Palin dodged.) He's going off into the family narrative like Palin did. He's saying that he's as big a victim as Palin.
Palin: People aren't looking for more of the same. McCain's nickname is the Maverick. I'm the same way. Worked both sides of the aisle. She does this squinty thing with her eyes and nose when she wants to be sincere. It's more disturbing than helpful.
Biden: McCain hasn't been a maverick when it matters. He's voted for Bush budgets, healthcare, the war, education. Let's all bring up the kitchen table some more.
Ifill: Can you think of a single issue, Biden, where you have been forced to change a long-held view?
Biden: Robert Bork.
Palin: Budgets she could've vetoed, but didn't.
Ifill: Bipartisanship. How do you change the tone of Washington?
Biden: McCain would agree that I've worked across the aisle as well as anyone. Mike Mansfield anecdote. Don't question people's motives. Question their judgement.
Palin: You appoint people regardless of party. My family is diverse. She's grown up having to work with those who disagree.
Ifill: Closing statements
Palin: Biden, it's good to meet you. McCain and I are going to fight for the middle class. I'm one of you. We're blessed. Reagan quote. We've got to fight for freedom.
Biden: Palin, nice to meet you also. The last eight years have stunk up the known world. We need a fundamental change. Obama and I don't measure progress based on cutting regulations. He gets in another dig at Exxon Mobil. Lordy, I wish I had the debate bingo card with Exxon Mobil on it. He brings up the old neighborhood back home. When you get knocked down, get up.
Biden seemed more slick and polished. A lot of what he says is nightmarish from a libertarian perspective. Palin mumbled around and free-associated a few times. I think Hunter Biden, the lobbying artist, just made his way to the stage. I didn't see him during the Dem convention.
Biden probably won it. We'll see how he holds up against the fact-checkers. It was a long way from a knock-out punch, though.