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VP debate

Original post made by Gary on Oct 2, 2008

I thought Biden easily won this debate, in terms of debating. I also thought MCain took Obama to school in the first presidential debate. Like Obama, Palin did not make any major blunders.

However, the intangibles are what many people listen for. Obama seemed to win on this level, and and Palin would seem to have won on her end (even though I don't pretend to get it, for either of them).

Just speaking for myself, the strongest ticket would be McCain/Biden.

Comments (87)

Posted by pd, a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 2, 2008 at 8:04 pm

Andrew Sullivan:who is infatuated with obamas has this verdict

"There was only one loser: Gewn Ifill.
She was intimidated, peripheral, neutered.
The rules didn't help.
But Ifill put in a dreadful performance."

Palin redeemed herself, were those TV interviews a ploy?

She tapped into a patriotic and emotional theme that will play very well except from the SF bay area, LA and the NYC Boston area. These were lost to the Republicans a generation ago anyway.

Posted by Even Fox News Refuses to Lipstick This Pig, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 2, 2008 at 8:05 pm

You know you're in trouble when Fox News won't go 100% to bat for you:
The one commentator (Morton Krondike-something like that) admitted that Palin wouldn't be ready to take over for McCain on Day 1 - and let's pray to God that she won't have to (yes, he actually said that).

They were all playing up her "folksy" way of speaking - hoping that that will connect with the "Wal-Mart" crowd (as if any of them has ever even stepped foot in a Wal-Mart in their life before!).

Posted by du, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 2, 2008 at 8:11 pm


25% 25,856
74% 77,553
2% 2,050

Total Votes: 105,459

Posted by Observer, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Oct 2, 2008 at 8:14 pm

This looks like a good summary of the debate, taken from an AP News Story:

"Palin was adept at not answering questions and stuck to breezy sound bites, frequently looking to her notes. She criticized Biden and Obama with a smile and her Alaska accent."

So if reading off of cue cards correctly and avoiding answering hard questions means she won the debate, I guess she won the debate!

Posted by The Bearer of Bad News, a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 2, 2008 at 8:22 pm

Thanks for the online voting results, but I'll take real polling results over how many times someone can hit "enter" on their computer!
Web Link

Instant Polls Find Biden Wins

A CNN poll of Americans who watched the vice presidential debate shows that most felt Sen. Joe Biden beat Gov. Sarah Palin, 51% to 36%.

A CBS News/Knowledge Networks poll of uncommitted voters show Biden winning 46% to 21% with 33% calling it a draw.

Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 2, 2008 at 8:26 pm


I actually agree with you. I would only add that Biden, who clearly won the debate, may have made some factual errors...this will need to be deciphered.

I was amazed that anybody thought that Oboma won his debate, becasue McCain clearly did, but, hey, there are all sorts of undercurrents flowing out there.

This debate probably helped Palin more than Biden, because everybody seemed to be waiting for Palin to have a train wreck. On that score, she did not.

Posted by shelley, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 2, 2008 at 8:35 pm

Sound bite of the night:
"Oh, say it ain't so, Joe. There you go again. Your whole question is premised on the Bush administration, and doggone it, we need to look forward."

Palin picks up on the talking point I thought McCain should have employed at the debate with Obama: "For a ticket that talks about the future and change, there sure is a lot of finger-pointing into the past."

She brings out this pretty devastating quote on Afghanistan from Obama: "We've got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there."

Speaking of the past, Palin has a Joe Six-Pack moment: "You know, it's times like these it's so obvious that I'm a Washington outsider. I just have trouble understanding how you supported the war and now you oppose the war.
That's something a lot of your Washington friends do, where you vote for something before you vote against it, I guess."

Harkening back to John Kerry can't hurt the cause.

She called the Obama/Biden plan a "white flag of surrender in Iraq," and correctly noted that al-Qaeda thinks Iraq is the central front in the war on terror.
That must really hurt! and will rattle around in the collective unconscious thru November

Posted by Her 15 Minutes Of Fame Are Over, a resident of Southgate
on Oct 2, 2008 at 9:08 pm



Posted by henry, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 2, 2008 at 9:12 pm


"It is so obvious that I am a Washington outsider, not used to how you guys operate."

Incredible hit. Best line of the night.

Posted by Greg K, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 2, 2008 at 9:18 pm

These debates are not about winning or losing. They are about convincing America that you are a capable leader. Or in Sarah Palin's case, convincing America that you not as incompetent as the person who was interviewed by Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson. By doing much better than expected, I think that Palin improves the chances of John McCain.

She also scored points by repeatedly renouncing the George Bush administration. She kept saying you can't look back at his blunders and McCain is a different kind of Republican. She seemed to be attacking George Bush even more than she was attacking Obama and Biden.

Posted by pam, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 2, 2008 at 9:35 pm

i wonder how obama would have done with 5 weeks preparation. palin, who i'm not voting for, showed her mettle tonight. she certainly shut up the critics. and what's wrong with using notes? some people are so silly!

Posted by No more press interviews, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2008 at 9:47 pm

I'm betting that Palin won't hold another one-on-one interview before the election where someone might push her to answer the question.

What kind of debate is it when you don't address the topic at hand? It's just reading your script instead of responding to questions.

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 2, 2008 at 9:56 pm

Palin has a good reason not to have interviews with the press unless there is a fair editing process, if you compare the verbatim transcript with the choppy biased editing by the MSM the bias is clear.

Palin needs open town hall meetings where she can talk directly to the American voter without her words being twisted by media who are in the tank for Obama.

Posted by No more press interviews, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2008 at 10:08 pm

CBS isn't releasing the worst parts of the Couric - Palin interview. CBS also editing McCain interview to correct some of his statements. No, the media has been very nice to them.

In a town hall, you can decide not to answer. One-on-one it is more obvious you are evading the question.

Posted by tj, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 2, 2008 at 10:25 pm

Palin's faster pace makes her come across as very competent/intelligent, a bit smarter than Biden - she sure the heck exudes confidence - what happened to the dummy from up north???? gone, gone, gone

Regardless of who won, Biden's tactic failed. He was there to debate Bush and McCain, and to ignore Palin as if she wasn't worthy of his attention.
She engaged him, specifically, and was therefore the only person in the debate that was actually occurring.

Posted by nell, a resident of Ohlone School
on Oct 2, 2008 at 10:45 pm

A sobering post mortum from NBC Web Link

Posted by Johnny Walker, a resident of another community
on Oct 2, 2008 at 11:19 pm

Want to know where Joe Biden is now?

Web Link" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"

I will take a Hockey Mom over this any day or night.

Posted by Palin: Bush in Veep's clothing, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2008 at 11:59 pm

I was bothered by Palin's style that was so reminiscent of what George Bush perfected - just keep saying something regardless of the facts and eventually it's accepted as the truth. (e.g., maverick, maverick, maverick, all the while parroting the usual party line, or, we will regulate wall street, all the while promising to reduce, eviscerate, and otherwise get government out of the way, or promising change but talking up warmed over trickle-down economics)

I read that (according to military reports) this is a primary reason the Iraq war stumbled -- most of the upper level talk was too disconnected from what was actually happening. It's like Republicans bought into this themselves, that if they just repeat something often enough, it's true regardless of the facts.

Sadly, too many Americans still fall for this. Palin is George Bush all over again: and brilliant at making us believe not, because just like Bush, she keeps repeating the lie over and over again until the opposition gets tired of being on the defensive and gives the audience too much credit for weighing the facts.

As Biden should have said: those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.

Posted by pam, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 3, 2008 at 1:09 am

who won?

wall st journal

palin 54.................biden44

Posted by Perspective, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 3, 2008 at 8:15 am

I have to admit, the moderator was completely fair and even solicitous, equally to both.

I was concerned after the news about her book, but she did a great job. Frankly, the best job moderating so far...

Posted by The pig we deserve, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 3, 2008 at 8:36 am

Props to Palin for the wink and folksiness. Also, for making her subjects, verbs and objects go together more often than with Couric.

But she was reciting verbatim from cue cards. That's ok, I suppose, indicating that she is not at home with any of the issues, but she consistently gave "answers" that were unrelated to the questions.

Was she just flustered or is she incapable of grasping language that rises above what you hear at the gosh darn hockey arena?

It seems obvious she is not just badly informed but also intellectually limited. I suspect (and fervently hope) that eight years have been enough folksy, ignorant stupidity for most Americans. If McCain wins, we'll certainly deserve Palin.

Biden wisely ignored the non-person on stage and landed a bunch of body blows to McCain for those who could follow.

Posted by Words, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2008 at 8:42 am

Maverick seemed to be the word of the debate and I was interested in knowing what it meant.

Web Link The term is used for a motherless calf or an independent thinking rebel.


Posted by The Real Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 3, 2008 at 8:45 am

Palin was clearly out of her league. No wonder they have been keeping her away from the press. Too bad she couldn't spend time on the podium smearing herself with lipstick.

Posted by T, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 3, 2008 at 8:49 am

Just to clarify, the WSJ result is for an online-reader poll. So I personally wouldn't count it as meaning much. But even if I did, at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, they show Biden at 51.5% versus Palin at 45%.

Posted by Sarah, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 3, 2008 at 8:57 am

Biden clearly won on substance. However, Palin did not self-destruct, which is much better than most people were expecting. Republicans should be pleased with her performance (except for all the Bush blunders stuff).

Posted by Paul, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 3, 2008 at 9:43 am

Palin had crammed well and she read her cue cards with reasonable fluency, but she's plainly no more than a stooge for the Repub establishment. Biden spoke confidently from long experience.

Posted by Danny, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 3, 2008 at 9:52 am

Biden did great and is CLEARLY the better vice-presidential candidate. But Palin didn't crash and burn, like many thought she would. It was a good debate. But Palin better actually LEARN this stuff rather than just cramming if she really has political aspirations as lofty as the highest office in the country, and arguably the world.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 3, 2008 at 11:32 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Biden's assertion that "Global Warming" [sic] was all man made, and his attack on taxing benefits as income, lost me even without Palin's superior understand of our energy needs. I am only sorry that Palin had to join the litany of attacking greed, the eons old tool of the class warrior.

Posted by Walter's Walrus, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2008 at 11:35 am

Walter, the only thing that Palin has superior understanding of is lipstick.

Posted by but seriously, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 3, 2008 at 1:14 pm

WW, to be fair, she also has an intimate knowledge of "abstinence only" and how those gosh-darn hockey moms and six-pcak Joes are feeling just about now.

Anyway, for a hilarious flow chart of Palin's debate strategy, see

Web Link

In all fairness, she did present herself well. Form over substance, yes, but then she told us all up front that she would not answer anything she didn't want to, and she kept her word.

Check out the anecdote about her redecorating the Mayor's office for $50,000 in Wasilla and telling her detractors that she was the mayor so she could do anything she wanted until the courts told her not to. Protestations of outsiderness aside, Bushland must feel like a very familiar sandbox to her given those kinds of attitudes.

Posted by The Real Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 3, 2008 at 1:24 pm

Palin is on the offensive trying to distract people from her subpar performance in the debate yesterday

Web Link

"Palin calls Obama comment 'reckless,' criticizes Couric

(CNN) — Sarah Palin said Friday several of Barack Obama's comments about the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have been "reckless" and disqualify the Illinois senator for consideration as the next commander-in-chief."

And she is qualified to be commander-in-chief--what a laugh--she may be qualified to be lipstick inspector in chief.

She's also attacking Katie Couric, as if Ms Couric was supposed to ask her softball,lipstick related questions.

Get a clue, Sarah

Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 3, 2008 at 1:56 pm

Although I think Biden won the debate, I do not think he is equal to Palin in the judgement department.

The Wall Street Journal has laid it out nicely.

Web Link

Biden has failed the judgement test over and over. The last paragraph of this article says:

"There are few members of Congress whose record on national security matters can be judged, with the benefit of hindsight, to be as consistently bad as Joseph Biden's. It's true that Sarah Palin has precious little experience in national security affairs. But in this instance, no record beats a manifestly bad one."

Posted by The Party's Over!, a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 3, 2008 at 1:56 pm

McCain knows that the jig is about up:
He's going virtually 100% negative in his ads now.
Web Link
Next, he'll start speaking very loudly, like Bob Dole did late in his run, as if the problem is that we just can't hear him.

As for Palin, she'll slide quickly into oblivion now - no more interviews (except on Fox News), just stump speeches aimed at the base.
And after the defeat in November, she'll return back to her native Alaska where - ironically - the natives (both Repubs and Dems) will be eagerly waiting to bi-partisan-ly drum her out of office via the Troopergate affair as political payback (and somehow, I don't think her cries of "sexism" will play very well back there).
She'll never hold public office again. And she'll be the butt of jokes at her high school reunion (which she'll still attend out of vanity).
Finally, her name will be brought up from time to time nationally, but always in connection with Dan Qualye and bad VP choices.

Posted by Get some humility, Sarah, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 3, 2008 at 2:00 pm

I'd be surprised if she could find Afghanistan on a map. Also, she already shot her mouth off when calling for the "invasion" of Pakistan--I think she meant to endorse Obama's suggestion that the U.S. allow its troops to cross from Afghanistan when in hot pursuit.

She has no business even thinking about running for veep.

Posted by The Real Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 3, 2008 at 2:00 pm

And just think Palin can also attend about 5 or 6 college reunions, since it took her who knows how many years and how many schools to earn her degree. Maybe she can become spokesperson for a lipstick company.

Posted by Paul, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 3, 2008 at 2:08 pm

" be fair, she also has an intimate knowledge of "abstinence only"... "

That's another thing Palin cannot communicate effectively. Ask her daughter.

Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 3, 2008 at 2:16 pm

Sarah Palin has definitely gotten under the skin of local lefties!

I doubt that a single one of them could stand up to her in a debate on the national stage. Yet they smear her intelligence...go figure.

Posted by The Real Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 3, 2008 at 2:21 pm

Gary--Palin set herself up for all this. Anyway I am not a politician nor running for national office--why would I, therefore, have to "stand up to her in a debate on the national stage"?
She has attacked the great work Obama has done as a community organizer and by extension attacked all those that do that kind of work. She continues to lie about the bridge to nowhere. She has been exposed as lacking ethics and morals. She cannot control the sexual habits of her children. And some people, like you, think she is qualified to be VEEP? Amazing.
She may be intelligent enough to smear lipstick on her face, but that is as far as it goes.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 3, 2008 at 2:22 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

The secret is out - we now have a man on Mars! What other explanation for the Mars polar icecap melting and Biden asserting man is the only cause of global warming. By golly, that means we have a man on Charon, too!

Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 3, 2008 at 2:35 pm

"She has attacked the great work Obama has done as a community organizer"

Real Sharon,

Care to explain that one? Do you mean his extortionist activities with ACORN, which helped cause the current financial meltdown? It may only be an urban myth, but I have heard that he actually helped train (Alinsky style) "community organizers" to shake down banks, in order to force them to give sub-prime loans.

Posted by Peter, a resident of another community
on Oct 3, 2008 at 2:36 pm

To paraphrase someone else: "Palin is destined to be one of the Pet Rocks of electoral history.

Posted by Paul, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 3, 2008 at 2:40 pm

I think the lefties are getting under your skin, Gary. Try to be calm. Drink decaf and listen to KDFC.

Posted by The Real Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 3, 2008 at 2:46 pm

Here you go Gary:

Web Link

If it is an urban myth, then why are you parroting it? Are you local righties so desperate with the ship sinking beneath you feet that you bring up things you have no proof of whatsoever?
Maybe you should have let McCain choose Ridge or Lieberman instead of the Alaskan lipstick queen

Posted by Paul, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 3, 2008 at 3:25 pm

Thanks for the link, RS. Now I can contrast Obama driving a beat-up Honda with Palin spending $50,000 of taxpayer money to gussie up her little mayor's office. I want Obama for my leader. He has his priorities right.

Posted by Perspective, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 3, 2008 at 3:49 pm

As usual, the left cracks me up.What will be particularly funny is watching the horrified looks on their faces as they realize that the more socialist we get, the worse our economy gets, the more the poor are hurt.

Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face!

No surprise that the biggest voting block of the Dems is the one comprised of those who pay no taxes. And who pays no taxes?????

Posted by Paul, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 3, 2008 at 3:58 pm

Um, some years ago they released Gov Ronald Reagan's tax returns and guess what - he paid no taxes. Had a slick accountant with this tricked up paper-loss scheme.

Posted by Perspective, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 3, 2008 at 4:09 pm

Uh..check again, dude, over the life of Reagan how many taxes he paid. You don't understand that in order promote business investments, that our tax structure allows losses to be written up so that the losses aren't as hard hitting. Not "slick", it is the law.

BTW, please note that Palin and family made $170,000, and paid $25,000 in taxes last year. How many Palo Altans make ONLY $170,000/year?

That family IS middle class America, I keep tellin' ya. Watch out.

Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 3, 2008 at 4:12 pm

Real Sharon,

Not quite. That Nation paean to Obama did not mention his ACORN connecton. Here is one that does:

Web Link==

Best to read the entire article, before you respond.

You need to do better than that, RS.

Posted by Perspective, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 3, 2008 at 4:24 pm

Web Link

Read this for a great understanding of who the major voting block of Obama is...

A true story of how eventually Democracy ends up being 2 lions and a sheep voting on what is for dinner. ( For those who miss the metaphor here, democracy ends when the majority can vote money out of the pockets of the minority, and we are within a couple percentage points of having more non-taxpayers than taxpayers in this country).

Posted by The Real Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 3, 2008 at 4:26 pm

Gary--do you have a problem with Acorn? Why? Becuase they try to help the people that republicans ignore?

Web Link
From their website:
"ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is the nation's largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families, working together for social justice and stronger communities. "

From your link:

"more attention needs to be paid to possible links between Obama and Acorn"


"I'm not saying Obama crossed a legal line here"

So what is the problem, Gary?

Posted by Paul, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 3, 2008 at 4:27 pm

"Uh..check again, dude, over the life of Reagan how many taxes he paid."

Ah, I see. You lose so you change the rules. Sorry, pal. Game's over.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 3, 2008 at 4:27 pm


Ah, fear of socialism, no wonder you're so eager to look for some way to blame Democrats for a financial crisis created by Republican policies.

The poor, in fact, aren't worse off in Scandinavia, that hot bed of socialim, than they are here.

And, obviously, Biden won the debate. Palin, at best, did a Rocky where she sort of went the distance. Did she convince anyone that she was suddenly fit to be president? Nope, she just allows those of you who would never vote for Obama anyway a way to defend your views.

I actually think Palin's performance was pretty bad--the misunderstanding of the VP's role in the Senate was kind of a jaw-dropper. The lies were bad, too.

She was also unable to defend McCain from any of the points Biden made because she couldn't veer from her notes.

Biden did impress me--he did all he needed to do and didn't blow it. He also, and I thought this was interesting, came off as the more authentic and personal of the two. I think it was also a shrewd tactical maneuver to not bother attacking Palin's lack of substance, but to stay focused on McCain.

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 3, 2008 at 4:33 pm

We find it very amusing to see the lefties who had confidently predicted that Sarah would crash and burn last night and are now choking on crow and worse.

It was great to hear her tell the truth about obama and the white flag, even the Brits see him as a cheese eating surrender monkey.

It is now fair game to tell the truth about obamas close friends who are mobsters, terrorists and worse.

This election will be decided in the last 10 days.

Biden had his last chance last night, he was neutered, field dressed and refrigerated, he could not even say anything good about obama the shakedown artist via ACORN.

Sarah also won with her truth telling about bias in the MSM.

she should just do town hall meetings and talk to the American voter, and she is right, couric is irritating, she had a chance to postpone her firing as an anchor, she failed. Gibson is a vindictive capon, like the snippy hairdresser.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 3, 2008 at 4:39 pm


Palin actually did a little worse than I expected--i.e. the role of a VP in the Senate screw-up.

According to the polls, she lost by a large margin. Obama didn't lose a single vote because of her performance.

By the way, no one's who's been ahead in the polls at this point has lost the general election.

Deal with it.

Posted by The Real Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 3, 2008 at 4:40 pm

Sharon--you are getting increasingly desperate with your attacks on everyone and anyone--do you seriously think that Palin did not crash and burn last night?
Let's see in this post you attack Obama, Biden, Couric and Gibson. I guess that is your modus operendi from now on, since the ship is sinking--attack anyone and everyone with innuendo, smears and out and out lies, while singing the praises of an empty pantsuit with lipstic.

Posted by tj, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 3, 2008 at 4:45 pm

Biden told 14 lies last night, looked ok in the short term but today they are revealed.

It is really fun to see the metrosexual lot talk about Palin "winking" and get their nickers in a twist trying to deconstruct.

The fact is , Palin is a crack shot and a hunter.

When you are taking the kill shot you close one eye to focus on the target.

The metrosexuals call it " winking", people who are hunters or have been in combat know what she is communicating.

Posted by Observer, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 3, 2008 at 4:49 pm

Sharon's just taking up the lead of her leader - as noted above, McCain gone 100% negative ads.
Forget why you should vote for us, we'll just tell you why not to vote for Obama.
Total desperation/panic mode.

Posted by Wow, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Oct 3, 2008 at 4:52 pm

Wink enough times at old, fat, balding white men enough (like Rush Limbaugh) and then they'll vote for you (one hand on the ballot, the other hand on...).
Now THAT'S a winning strategy!

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 3, 2008 at 5:04 pm

Gotta say I find this it's somebody-else's-fault strategy employed by McCain and co. has gotten soooo tedious.

Palin's lack of preparedness isn't the fault of Gibson or Couric. It's Palin's fault (for going through life being so underinformed) and the McCain campaign's (for not bothering to suss her out and giving her time to be prepared.)

It's time to own it, kids.

Posted by Peter, a resident of another community
on Oct 3, 2008 at 5:16 pm

tj, how about a list of those so-called lies you claim Sen. Biden told last night. And some credible documentation, please.

Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 3, 2008 at 5:39 pm

"Palin actually did a little worse than I expected--i.e. the role of a VP in the Senate screw-up."


Care to explain that one?

Joe Biden got it completely wrong. The VP is the president of the Senate. It is up to each VP personality to determine his/her role. The VP only has a vote in case of a tie, but his/her influence is open-ended in the legislative process. Sarah Palin got it right.

You are wrong, OP. Do a little homework...or at least ask John Adams.

Web Link

Posted by T, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 3, 2008 at 6:30 pm

Okay, I took a look and here's what I saw:

The statement that "it is up to each VP personality to determine his/her role" appears to be referring to the personal style each VP chooses to preside over the legislative body and facilitate proper procedure. (In other words, how "hands on" does the VP want to be when it comes to maintaining the rules of order, etc.) As for trying to take the role any further, the comment was made that some VPs chose to supervise fairly while others sought to use the position to exert undue influence on the part of the administration.

I don't see a clear statement of support.

Posted by Perspective, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 3, 2008 at 7:58 pm

Web Link

Per American Thinker link, above, Biden "lies" were ( I hesitate the word "lie"..I suspect it is more ignorance and/or stretching the truth than anything)

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, 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.

Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 3, 2008 at 8:00 pm

Perhaps the first vice president can guide our view on the office:

"During his two vice-presidential terms, Adams maintained a cordial, but distant, relationship with the president, who sought his advice only occasionally. In the Senate, Adams played a more active role, particularly during his first term. On at least one occasion, he persuaded senators to vote against legislation he opposed, and he frequently lectured the body on procedural and policy matters. He supported Washington's policies by casting the twenty-nine tie-breaking votes that no successor has equalled."

Web Link

Adams, in fact, actively lobbied senators in order to get the vote to a tie...whence he could cast the deciding vote. Dick Cheney would be jealous of his power.

There is nothing in the Consitution preventing a VP from exerting influence in the Senate.

Posted by Biden & Warming, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 3, 2008 at 8:22 pm

Yes, you hit it Walter.

More than that, Biden said something like, "you cannot solve a problem unless you are sure you understand how it was caused" in the context of global warming. Even those participating in the scientific discussions who espouse man-made global warming do not claim they understand with any certainty the causal chain (at least not those with any scientific credibility at all).

Yet Biden is so bold as to suggest that trying all alternatives is wrong because we're so certain of the cause of global warming!

Posted by Elsevier, a resident of another community
on Oct 3, 2008 at 8:29 pm

I can't wait for the election.

All you women that have kicked your man out the door and to the curb with that woman roar. Or you women that have pushed and pussyfied your man. And last and for sure least you women that understand LBD (as coined by Schwartz) who have no man.

Come November 5. All three of the above groups will be singing a new tune.

Hi Ho Hi Ho that Alaska woman has to go. No longer will it be Bush's fault.
You can then say for the next 16 years its the fault of the bush.

I can't wait.

Posted by Peter, a resident of another community
on Oct 3, 2008 at 8:38 pm

Persective, I asked for a credible source. Many of the American Thinker points are unsourced or not from credible sources.

Posted by Factcheck, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2008 at 8:45 pm

A more balanced look at the VP's claims.

Biden and Palin debated, and both mangled some facts.

Palin mistakenly claimed that troop levels in Iraq had returned to "pre-surge" levels. Levels are gradually coming down but current plans would have levels higher than pre-surge numbers through early next year, at least.

Palin repeated a false claim that Obama once voted in favor of higher taxes on "families" making as little as $42,000 a year. He did not. The budget bill in question called for an increase only on singles making that amount, but a family of four would not have been affected unless they made at least $90,000 a year.

Biden wrongly claimed that McCain "voted the exact same way" as Obama on the budget bill that contained an increase on singles making as little as $42,000 a year. McCain voted against it. Biden was referring to an amendment that didn't address taxes at that income level.
Palin claimed McCain's health care plan would be "budget neutral," costing the government nothing. Independent budget experts estimate McCain's plan would cost tens of billions each year, though details are too fuzzy to allow for exact estimates.

Biden wrongly claimed that McCain had said "he wouldn't even sit down" with the government of Spain. Actually, McCain didn't reject a meeting, but simply refused to commit himself one way or the other during an interview.

Palin wrongly claimed that "millions of small businesses" would see tax increases under Obama's tax proposals. At most, several hundred thousand business owners would see increases.

Palin said that McCain had sounded the alarm on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac two years ago.
Palin: We need to look back, even two years ago, and we need to be appreciative of John McCain's call for reform with Fannie Mae, with Freddie Mac, with the mortgage-lenders, too, who were starting to really kind of rear that head of abuse.
Palin is referring to a bill that would have increased oversight on Fannie and Freddie. In our recent article about assigning blame for the crisis, we found that by the time McCain added his name to the bill as a cosponsor, the collapse was well underway. Home prices began falling only two months later. Our colleagues at PolitiFact also questioned this claim.

And There's More...

A few other misleads of note:

Palin said, "We're circulating about $700 billion a year into foreign countries" for imported oil, repeating an outdated figure often used by McCain. At oil prices current as of Sept. 30, imports are running at a rate of about $493 billion per year.

Biden claimed that McCain said in a magazine article that he wanted to deregulate the health care industry as the banking industry had been. That's taking McCain's words out of context. As we've said before, he was talking specifically about his proposal to allow the sale of health insurance across state lines.

Biden said five times that McCain's tax plan would give oil companies a "$4 billion tax cut." As we've noted previously, McCain's plan would cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent — for ALL corporations, not just oil companies. Biden uses a Democratic think tank's estimate for what the rate change is worth to the five largest U.S. oil companies.

Palin threw out an old canard when she criticized Obama for voting for the 2005 energy bill and said, "that's what gave those oil companies those big tax breaks." It's a false attack Sen. Hillary Clinton used against Obama in the primary, and McCain himself has hurled. It's true that the bill gave some tax breaks to oil companies, but it also took away others. And according to the Congressional Research Service, the bill created a slight net increase in taxes for the oil industry.

Biden said that Iraq had an "$80 billion surplus." The country was once projected to have as much as a $79 billion surplus, but no more. The Iraqis have $29 billion in the bank, and could have $47 billion to $59 billion by the end of the year, as we noted when Obama used the incorrect figure. A $21 billion supplemental spending bill, passed by the Iraqi legislature in August, knocked down the old projection.

Biden said four times that McCain had voted 20 times against funding alternative energy. However, in analyzing the Obama campaign's list of votes after the first presidential debate, we found the number was actually 11. In the other instances the Obama-Biden campaign cites, McCain voted not against alternative energy but against mandatory use of alternative energy, or he voted in favor of allowing exemptions from these mandates.

Web Link

Posted by James Madison, a resident of another community
on Oct 3, 2008 at 10:50 pm

The thing that got me about the debate was when the governor of Alaska started talking about how she'd like to try some new things and expand the role of the vice-president. Like she had been asked to write her own job description or something.
I was privileged to work with some of the most brilliant minds in history to write that job description into the Constitution a couple hundred years ago. Look it up. If you don't like it, pass an amendment and get it ratified.
And of all the people to say that they should write their own job description, someone who just weeks ago said she had no idea what the VP does? Excuse me while I roll over.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 4, 2008 at 2:11 am

No Gary, Biden was right. The VP's role in the Senate is very limited--separation and balance of powers.

Let me repeat that--separation and balance of powers. Remember, three branches--executive, legislative and judicial.

There's *nothing* in the Constitution that allows the VP to have dual authority in both--except as a tie-breaker in the Senate. The VP's legislative roll is deliberately proscribed.

So, again, separation and balance of powers.

Cheney's attempt to expand his role into two branches flies in the face of two hundred years of precedent.

Our system of government is not a free-for-all--something I'm sure Obama, a former constitutional law professor, understands.

I wouldn't rely too much on what was done during Adams' tenure as VP--at that point, VPs were voted upon independently and were usually of the opposing party as a result.

Adamas, of course, also had issues with wanting too authoritarian a state--i.e. the 1797 Acts of Sedition.

I guess you were also asleep during the eighth grade unit on the Constitution.

Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 4, 2008 at 6:23 am


Nope, you are wrong. The early discussions about constituional seperation of powers addressed this very subject. Some founders initially refused to allow the VP to be president of the senate, just for that reason. However, they were rebuffed. There is no constitutional prohibition of a VP lobbying senators on the floor of the is just a senate convention, arising from tradition.

Joe Biden might be offended if Sarah Palin tried to twist his arm on the floor of the senate (as VP), but he has no consitutional ground to stand on. It is also completely constitutional for Palin, should she so decide, to preside as president of the senate on a daily basis...she would not need to be invited by the senate. Many senate members would scream bloody murder, but they could not prevent it.

The role of the VP in the senate is highly dependent on the personality of the VP. Adams was activist, while Jefferson had no interest, and spent most of his time at Monticello, undermining Adams and planning his run for president. Palin seems like the type of personality that would get right in there and mix it up, although McCain would probably restrain her, since he knows it would stir up a hornets' nest. Also, as a practical matter, the VP usually is spending his/her time on other duties (attending funerals and otherwise filling up the bucket of warm piss).

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 4, 2008 at 9:54 am

From CNN:

Debate analysis: Palin spoke at 10th-grade level, Biden at eighth

An analysis carried out by a language monitoring service said Friday that Gov. Sarah Palin spoke at a more than ninth-grade level and Sen. Joseph Biden spoke at a nearly eighth-grade level in Thursday night's debate between the vice presidential candidates.

Posted by Gibberish, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 4, 2008 at 10:08 am

That's a good one. I guess whoever wrote those cards Palin read off tried to make complete sentences. What difference does grade level of the speaker make when they don't answer the question? Reading prepared remarks isn't the same as debating.

Posted by The Real Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 4, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Sharon--nice try again--not that it means anything--Biden won hands down. BTW, who was this "language monitoring service"--you or the RNC???

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 4, 2008 at 12:46 pm


Did I say VPs couldn't lobby senators? No. Presidents can and do lobby senators. What is limited is the ability to make rules or govern the Senate.

We all have the right to talk to somebody. Authority is a different matter--you're confusing the two. As was Palin.

Sharon, in other words, Biden didn't use too much jargon--a terrific feat for a guy with his expertise in foreign policy. I noticed he has a real flair for the clear declarative sentence. For all her "plainspeaking" Palin does not. Though part of that comes from her being so out of her depth. She never really relaxed into her own idiom.

With Biden, you could see him move from the prepared to the spontaneous. He's effective, I think, because like a good actor he gets moved by his own spiel.

The choking up made sense to me when I read he was going to see his son off the next morning. The son was going for six weeks of training and then to Iraq. I think his memory of what happened with his concerns about what would happen to his son probably really got to him for a moment.

Some people have harshed on Palin for not responding to it in any way, but I cut her some slack there, I'm sure she was just trying to get through the debate. Meither she nor her handlers were going to allow for a genuine moment.

Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 4, 2008 at 1:23 pm

from the debate:

IFILL: Governor, you mentioned a moment ago the constitution might give the vice president more power than it has in the past. Do you believe as Vice President Cheney does, that the Executive Branch does not hold complete sway over the office of the vice presidency, that it it is also a member of the Legislative Branch?

Palin: Well, our founding fathers were very wise there in allowing through the Constitution much flexibility there in the office of the vice president. And we will do what is best for the American people in tapping into that position and ushering in an agenda that is supportive and cooperative with the president's agenda in that position. Yeah, so I do agree with him that we have a lot of flexibility in there, and we'll do what we have to do to administer very appropriately the plans that are needed for this nation

Biden: The only authority the vice president has from the legislative standpoint is the vote, only when there is a tie vote. He has no authority relative to the Congress. The idea he's part of the Legislative Branch is a bizarre notion invented by Cheney to aggrandize the power of a unitary executive and look where it has gotten us. It has been very dangerous.

OhlonePar, I think even you would conclude that this is complete nonsense by Biden. You would also need to admit that Palin was spot on, in terms of the consitution.

In other words, OP, you got it wrong in your post, above. That's OK, even I am not always perfect.


Posted by Spin Gary Spin, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 4, 2008 at 1:33 pm

Spin, Gary, Spin. Keep on spinning. the ship is sinking. Biden got it right. Palin said much, but did not answer the question. Probably she is not familiar with the Constitution. Not to worry, when she is spokes person for a lipstick company she will not have to worry her empty head with facts

Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 4, 2008 at 1:36 pm


I will await OhlonePar's answer, becasue it is almost always an inteeligent one, even if it is wrong.

Posted by Peter, a resident of another community
on Oct 4, 2008 at 1:44 pm

Palin's remarks scored higher because she spoke in complex sentences with lots of parenthetical phrases and circumlocutions (not all of which made sense). That is not the best way to communicate to a broad audience that might not be hanging on your every word.

Posted by Really, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 4, 2008 at 2:33 pm

I thought this right-wing crowd was supposed to be strict constructionists (Scalia, Thomas, Gary, etc.)? Some irony then to claim "constitutional flexibility", no?

Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 4, 2008 at 2:37 pm


No, the flexibility of the VP is built into the Constitution. This IS the strict constructionist view. Palin understood this, and Biden didn't have a clue. Perhaps Palin can invite "Joe" over for tea, and give him some consitutional law lessons.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 4, 2008 at 4:12 pm


Here's what the Constitution says:

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

Will have no vote unless there's a tie--that's a pretty big limit, Gary. If you can't vote except under special circumstances, your power in the legislative branch is being specifically proscribed.

Again, NO VOTE--that means no say in how the Senate does its business or makes its decision. No official capacity except when there's a tie.

Lobbying, talking, all unofficial--and we all have that right if not that kind of access.

There are reasons for this, which you'll see if you look at early history--i.e. Thomas Jefferson basically voting himself into office.

And, once again, balance of powers--over and over and over this is a concern.

Cheney overstepped his bounds, which Biden and a lot of other people know.

As for Palin--yeah, maybe she'd call, but she'd be ignored by a Democratic-majority Senate. Biden, with his six terms, would be much, much more effective behind the scenes. I think both he and Obama, though, understand why there needs to be a separation of powers.

So yeah, Gary, you were dead wrong on this--particularly since the office of VP didn't arrive tidily wrapped in the first round of the Constitution, but had to amended a couple of times--otherwise our last two vice presidents would have been Kerry and Gore.

So you can't even talk about a strict constructionist view here--the original way of doing business was dropped. What you can look at is 200 years of precedent--and Cheney's approach fails big time.


Palin lost the debate as far as the early polls and most focus groups show. Though by your standard, the "professorial" Barack Obama should get everyone's vote.

Posted by Gary, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 4, 2008 at 4:57 pm


At least you agree that that the VP is the PRESIDENT of the senate. Biden did not ("The idea he's part of the Legislative Branch is a bizarre notion invented by Cheney") . The president of the senate is the presiding officer, who is never allowed to vote, unless there is a tie. The VP can also vote on rules of the senate, and committee assignments, when there is a tie. The VP can also actively lobby senators, even if they don't like it...and I mean on the floor of the senate. The president of the senate can also have an effect on the flow of schedule as well as rulings from the bench. Combined, this is not such a very big limit. The VP, without a doubt, is a part of the legislature (and the executive) was designed this way, from the beginning.

Biden is so used to being a Prince of the Senate, that he has forgotten the constitution. His answer in the debate was absolutely incorrect. Palin's answer was absolutely correct.

You can run, OP, but you can't hide (to paraphrase Joe Louis).

Biden can bob and weave, but he is simply wrong on this one.

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 4, 2008 at 6:26 pm

Anyone who understands politics understands that who a president listens to is relevant.
Who will the commander-in-chief let in the room? From what direction will he take advice?
Who is on his "team" and who isn't?
What's a reasonable argument and what isn't?

Even if Obama personally disliked Ayers and disagreed with his politics in meaningful ways, Obama still found Ayers to be someone worth listening to and working with.
Ditto Jeremiah Wright.
They were in his tent, not outside it.
Ayers and Wright may be more extreme than Obama.
Indeed, they surely are.
But there is very little evidence in the record that Obama's ideological compass doesn't point in their direction.
I don't think Americans should be single issue voters on the Ayers stuff.
But I think it is absurd to argue — as the NY Times implicitly does — that this is all meaningless because Obama and Ayers were allegedly less than soulmates.

Again imagine a similar relationship between McCain and an abortion clinic bomber and the Times running a story a month before the election reassuring that it's no big deal because McCain and Mr. Planned Parenthood Bomber weren't "close."

Posted by Peter, a resident of another community
on Oct 4, 2008 at 8:45 pm

OP, I have no quarrel with you. I was trying to point out that Palin's more tortuous rhetoric worked against her. I thought her performance was abyssmal, and was glad. Unfortunately, as we have seen on these threads the gauzy veil of ideology clouds the minds of her supporters.

Posted by T, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 4, 2008 at 8:51 pm

How does this relate to the VP debate?

Posted by T, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 4, 2008 at 8:53 pm

Oops, someone posted in between. My question is in regard to Sharon's post.

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