All of you probably watched the Biden-Palin debate yourselves so I don't have to describe it in detail, but I can give you some feeling of what it was like to be there.
Before I went to the debate, I'd never even heard of Washington University in St Louis but it was a very impressive school. Not only did it have a brick and stone facade equaling Harvard but its medical school is Number Two in the nation. That's ten clicks higher than Seattle Grace!
I guess I must have gotten the Secret Service all rattled when they tried to arrest me back at the Oxford debate because it took them over five hours to run my background check here in St Louis before I was finally given my media badge.
Anheuser-Busch outdid themselves with the free meals at their hospitality tent -- crab cakes, roast beef and green beans with "locally-grown" mushrooms. It was my own personal Eid!
I ate dinner with two young McCain supporters who, when I was all complaining that there was no hot news at this debate other than me having seen Chris Matthews live, gave me the inside scoop that they had actually run into John McCain in his limousine at an ice cream parlor in St Louis last summer. They were very nice guys and I did my very best to save their souls.
Then we were offered five kinds of cheesecake for dessert.
I did get kind of a scoop -- sort of -- when, right before the debate started, I was standing in line in the ladies' room and the Senator Claire McCaskill herself came running in the door, smiled at me and very graciously asked if she could cut ahead of me in line. "I really got to pee," she said. And I have a photo of her feet showing under the door of the restroom stall to prove it.
After the debate actually started, I heard a reporter from the Sun-Times mutter to himself, "This debate is a massacre," and someone else said, "At least she doesn't come off like a total idiot."
My friend Stewart let me use his cell phone to call my style-savvy daughter Ashley to get her POV on Sarah Palin's outfit. "She's all in black!" I cried, "except for the purple pumps that look like they might be Manolo Blahnik." But Ashley wasn't watching the debate because she had to work.
I wonder if People Magazine would judge Palin as "Best Dressed" or "Worst Dressed"? And would they judge Biden that same way too or am I just being sexist?
All through the debate, I kept saying, "Sarah Palin reminds me of someone." But who? Someone on "Desperate Housewives" -- maybe Bree? And then it hit me. She reminds me of a Miss America contestant who had just been asked by the judges what she thought she could do to save the world and/or help those Less Fortunate than herself -- and was giving her canned reply.
Meanwhile, John McCain's Goldwater Girls once again distributed their talking-point papers to everyone in the filing room, right in the middle of the debate. There were16 handouts in all this time, telling us reporters why Obama was wrong. Very annoying. And after the debate was over, I went off to the spin room and got a money-shot of Joe Lieberman having makeup applied and a photograph of the top of Rudy Giuliani's head.
After my close encounters with Lieberman and Giuliani, I left the debate venue to meet up with my friend Patrick who had gone to a downtown arena to a viewing party sponsored by the Republican party. "You shoulda been there, Jane. It was like some kind of parallel universe, like that time when we got off the plane in Kabul and suddenly found ourselves right in the middle of an entirely different culture. And they all applauded at the strangest things -- like when Palin stated that global warming was a natural thing and not necessarily man-made."
Patrick got the feeling that Palin's Republican base was disappointed in her overall performance, however. "When she didn't take a strong stand against abortion or against giving civil rights to gays, they were actually visibly upset -- like they had been sold out."