The vice-presidential debates proved one thing. At the very least, Sarah Palin can be trained.
For several days, she had camped out in one of John McCain’s Arizona houses, where she underwent Debate Boot camp conducted by drill instructors who make Marine DIs appear to be slaggers.
With a few “darns,” “betchas,” and “ya”s, Palin managed to get all her talking points into the debate, even if she constantly changed the question to suit her note cards.
During the 90-minute debate, Palin six times referred to her experience as the mayor of a 6,000 resident village. Seven times, she specifically mentioned Ahmadinejad. Iran’s president, proud she knew the name, proud that she could pronounce it. No one asked if she knew his first name or anything else about him. Shades of George W. Bush in his first term trying to prove he knew something about foreign affairs by enunciating the names of a few world leaders—after several gaffes early in the campaign. Of course, twice Palin was wrong about the name of the U.S. commander in Iraq. Several times she noted she and John McCain are mavericks. About the sixth time she mentioned it, Joe Biden finally unleashed his debating skills. John McCain is no maverick he said in measured response. The Republican nominee voted with President Bush four times to extend the budget deficit, said Biden, who also pointed out that McCain went along with Bush on numerous health care and education issues, most of which were regressive rather than progressive, was one of the strongest backers of going to war with Iraq, and opposed tax cuts.
Palin’s answers were mostly glittering generalities as she peppered numerous responses with cheerleader messages about America, and even tossed in Reagan’s “shining city” example, and punctuated another response to Biden with a Reaganesque, “Say it ain’t so, Joe, there you go again pointing backwards again.” Her responses, after awhile, seemed to be more acceptable to a beauty contest than a vice-presidential debate.
Both Palin and Biden had a few factual errors, with Palin ahead in the count of misstatements, discrepancies, and outright lies, according to factcheck.org, a non-partisan source at the University of Pennsylvania. Possibly Palin’s biggest problem, and something that should coincern every voter, was that she bumbled on the constitutional definition of the role of the vice-president, something Biden quickly corrected.