8:32PM Here’s my mini-wrap. If you were looking for a veep who wants, needs, to be President, then Joe Biden is your man. But Sarah Palin was the one who really manned up tonight, for unfailingly selling America on her candidate rather than on herself.
8:31PM And Biden goes into partisan BS, instead of patriotic schmaltz. I’ll take the schmaltz, thankyouverymuch, every time. Every time.
8:30PM “Proud to be an American.” “We have to fight for it and protect it and hand it down.” Rehearsed? Of course. But powerful stuff nonetheless.
8:29PM Palin: “It’s gonna be OK.” I liked that.
8:28PM Biden has “never questioned the motive” of another member of Congress. Will someone please do a Ken Layne and fact-check his ass on that one?
8:27PM Palin, however, said she wished she’s vetoed more spending. And that strikes me as self-effacing and maybe even honest.
8:26PM Whopper of the night: Biden is saying that until fairly recently, he was nonpartisan when providing advice and consent on judges. If you’ll pardon my language: That is such bullshit that it spoiled the sip of vodka in my mouth. And this time I’m not kidding. Biden is a vile lying f-word.
8:23PM Here we go again: Palin is selling McCain; Biden is selling Biden. What we really need is a debate between Obama and his own Veep selection. Now THAT would give us some real fireworks.
8:21PM Biden is good selling his biography. As a special added bonus, I’m almost certain that tonight the biography he’s selling is his own.
8:20PM Palin is still working for the team. Biden is still selling Biden.
8:19PM When Palin talks Mom stuff around the kitchen table, she pretty much rocks. However, that does nothing to detract from the fact that Joe Biden is still completely and embarrassingly bald in back.
8:18PM Biden is ready for Halloween, scaring the kids with tales of the Cheney Beast.
8:17PM Hair down, hair up, Palin still has that Naughty Librarian thing going on. To be more specific, it looks like she’s wearing a nice little Ann Taylor number you’d really like to see rumpled on the floor. And hair up or hair down, Biden’s bald spot still shows clear as day on the rear camera view.
8:15PM Biden tried for a “left behind” triple pun — and couldn’t deliver on even one of them.
8:13PM Line of the night: “Lame attempt.” Go Sarah!
8:12PM Did Palin just double-slam Biden with a Reaganesque “there you go again” AND a Suthun “god bless ya” in one short reply? Well done, Mrs P, well done.
8:11PM When Biden says “my neighborhood,” I can’t imagine he means anyplace outside of the confines of the District of Columbia.
8:10PM “I agree in essence with every major proposal he’s suggested …” That’s Biden on Obama. Palin on McCain? “He’s never asked me to check my opinions at the door.”
8:09PM Biden says if Obama died it would be “a national catastrophe of historic proportions.” We’ve never had a president die in office before?
8:08PM Here comes the “heartbeat away” question …
8:07PM Biden has GOT to stop licking his lips on the split screen while looking at Palin. Working women everywhere must be instinctively recoiling from the TV screen.
8:06PM Right now my wife is making carbonara while I go hungry. Who said this is an easy job?
8:05PM Finally, Palin is smiling, and showing some of that friendly steel she showed us in St Paul three weeks ago. It’s about time.
8:04PM Seriously, right now Democrats should be slapping themselves for not having a Biden/Obama ticket instead of Obama/Biden. And Republicans should be happy, if not satisfied, with things just as they are.
8:03PM The theme tonight is: Biden is selling Biden, well; Palin is selling McCain, only not-quite-as-well.
8:02PM Biden just promised to bring spending in Afghanistan up to Iraq levels. Is that a feature or a bug?
8:01PM Palin is more comfortable on foreign policy than on domestic stuff, other than energy. And this was supposed to be her weak point?
7:59PM Here’s my take: If you’re looking for an outsider, Palin’s your man. If you want more of the same, then you like Biden. So, yes, Biden might just win tonight. But my question earlier has been answered — yes, Biden can win and Obama can lose.
7:58PM OK, I’ll ask our readers — how is this playing at home? Don’t be partisan, just answer in the comments section as honestly as you know how.
7:56PM My editor extraordinaire Aaron Hanscom tells me I didn’t imagine that. Is there a Republican on the production staff?
7:55PM Somebody left Biden’s mic on while he took a huge, seething inhale. I’m pretty sure I’m not imaging that, and I’ll try to remember to rewind the TiVo after this is all over.
7:54PM You know what? I’ve been doing what I said I’d never do during a liveblog — blogging the pre-spin instead of the actual debate. I’m taking a big swing of my cocktail and promising to do better.
7:52PM Again, Palin is defending Israel… and again I wonder how much good it will do. Maybe I need to change brands of vodka.
7:51PM Biden is … trying to sell us on following France’s lead in dealing with Iran. And he’s being so condescending that I can’t believe he’ll get away with it. And yet I’m certain he will.
7:50PM Am I the only one wondering where the pit bull went? I’m seeing the hockey mom, which is great — but so many fat, juicy targets are just being let go.
7:49PM Nice Kissinger namedrop by Palin. But does that mean she just lost the Hitchens vote?
7:48PM Palin is going for the Jewish vote right now. But I’m afraid that — Roger L Simon’s pleas notwithstanding — Obama has that vote locked up.
7:48PM BTW, to save time I poured myself a double vodka rocks instead of shaking a martini. The things we give up for our jobs …
7:47PM For libertarian hawks, this debate is an exercise in frustration.
7:46PM To Biden: Which is more dangerous, nuclear Iran or Pakistan? Which plays right into Obama’s promise to invade the everliving crap out of Pakistan. Which, again, no one will call him on.
7:45PM Also, Biden repeated the “100 years” smear against McCain a couple minutes ago, and Palin didn’t call him on it. Neither did Ifill. Surprise!
7:44PM “John McCain voted cutting off funding for the troops.” He’s speaking about one smallish bill — and I’d like somebody to factcheck this one for me, please.
7:43PM Biden is still trying to sell the 16 month drawdown, without saying when those months would start. And Plain stumbled on her response. I’m still sad.
7:42PM Obama’s “clear plan” is basically the Surge while denying who got us the Surge to begin with. Will no one call him on this?
7:42PM Palin is stumbling on the rest of her answer, however, interrupting herself in the middle of slamming Obama. “Pulled punches” has been the theme for the Republicans in both debates so far.
7:41PM “The surge … has been proven to work.” So true! So out of date at this point! So sad.
7:39PM “I’m being as straight up with America as I can.” Would that the other guy were put on the defensive that way.
7:38PM Here’s what I mean. The question makes Palin spend most of her time defending herself as “tolerant,” instead of answering the damn question.
7:37PM You know what? Ifill is doing OK so far. If by OK, you mean, “Questions where it’s much easier for a Democrat to give a friendly answer.” I mean, “Do you support same-sex benefits” is a neutral question?
7:35PM Biden shook his head on Palin’s “clean coal” slam. But on that one, let’s let Joe’s gaffe-y record speak for itself.
7:34PM Palin: “It’s ‘drill, baby, drill!'” It was a weak slam, but it was something.
7:33PM Joe Biden promises to stop “greenhouse gasses from emitting.” I can’t think of a better example of acting locally — so shut up, Joe!
7:30PM But first, I must say that Palin is back in her comfort zone while talking energy — but she hasn’t yet once mentioned the Democrats’ attempt to completely shut down trillions in US energy production.
7:29PM Cautionary note: My first martini (following a glass and a half of a very nice, cheap Argentine Cabernet) is almost empty. I’ll miss a minute or two while I refill. Such is the price you pay for free entertainment.
7:28PM Ouch! Palin needs to stay OFF SCRIPT. She just mixed up Main Street for Wall Street and blew one of her better pre-programmed line.
7:27PM Palin is less than convincing when she’s parroting McCain’s lines about “greed and corruption on Wall Street.” At least, that’s how this libertarian reads it.
7:26PM Biden has an easy command of the facts, even when his facts are BS. Given the pressure on Palin, that’s probably all he needs to do tonight for a draw or better.
7:24PM Palin is talking energy — and it’s obvious she’s off-script, passionate, and *right*. More like this, please.
7:23PM I have to ask: Biden is winning at this point, but he seems bitter about being at the bottom of the ticket. Is it possible for Biden to win tonight and for Obama to lose?
7:22PM Biden admits Obama might have to “slow down” the promise to double foreign aid. And he did so without mentioning Obama by name.
7:21PM You’ll pardon me if I zone out while the candidates discuss the minutia of health care plans. Is this a Democratic Primary Debate?
7:20PM Biden doesn’t need to plug Pennsylvania, but he did anyway.
7:19PM When Palin is off script, she’s looking away from the camera. When she’s on-script, she looks, unblinking, at the camera. She’s better off-script.
7:18PM Whew! Palin is slamming Biden for his patriotic-for-paying-taxes gaffe. But the trick is, luring Biden into fresh gaffes. If she doesn’t do that, then I think she’ll have underperformed.
7:17PM “The superwealthy are doing… pretty well.” Best line of the night so far, and it was Biden’s. But he still hardly looks at the camera.
7:17PM Biden is selling Obama’s tax plan… while hardly mentioning Obama. This guy has got an ego. And this I say as a dedicated (if inebriated) egoist.
7:16PM First cutoff of the night is against Palin. Do a shot.
7:15PM First smackdown of the night, and it goes to Biden. His premise on deregulation is still bogus, but there’s no way to get past that in a strict-format debate.
7:14PM Palin sounds good for tax relief, but I’m afraid, so far, she’s the Nixon in a Nixon-Kennedy Debate.
7:13PM Biden is blaming everything on “deregulation.” Even though banking is one of the most heavily regulated industries, and the mortgage industry is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party. The problem? Biden’s message resonates with the electorate.
7:11PM If I’m not mistaken, Biden just mentioned Obama. And it took only ten minutes!
7:11PM I like the fact that Palin is willing to tell people not to take on too much debt. But it’s an open question if that’s wise.
7:10PM Biden just forgot about the split screen, and was caught seething and sighing in Palin’s direction.
7:09PM Palin is very much on message, however. Everything comes back to McCain. But when will she dig her teeth into Obama?
7:09PM Palin deflected nicely, protecting her boss and herself. But she’s not blinking, at it’s a little unsettling. Is that just her, just nerves, or is she reciting her programed answers?
7:08PM Biden has “shrunk the gap” his entire senate career. I’m not sure what that means, other than he has a lot of Republican friends. Still unsaid: the name “Obama.” Said thrice: “McCain” Said twice: “Bush.”
7:07PM Boom. Palin is crediting the top of her ticket for his foresight. How long before Biden mentions Obama? Well, now he’s GOT to.
7:06PM Palin Speaking to the camera. She let slip a “betchya.” She sounds honest. I’ll wait before I say if she sounds credible.
7:06PM Biden doesn’t want “CEOs benefitting” from the bailout. Does he want to retroactively tax the Fannie/Freddie people back to the Stone Age?
7:05PM It’s all Bush’s fault!, is the answer. But he hasn’t looked at the camera. He seems evasive, although I doubt he means to. He’s just focusing incorrectly.
7:05PM Biden takes the first question. Was the bailout the best or worst of Washington?
7:04PM Both candidates look good, but there’s only one I’d like to nibble on.
7:04PM Ifill chose the questions, without any oversight. It’s the same way I drunkblog, only I come in with zero pretense of objectivity.
7:02PM Here’s Gwen Ifill. If she holds her book up to the camera, do TWO shots.
7:01PM Here’s how I handicap it. I’d like to see the Sarah Palin I saw oh-so-briefly in St Paul a few weeks ago. And I’d like to see the Joe Biden … well, I never saw a Joe Biden who didn’t crack me up, so that one’s a win-win.
7:00PM Here we go …
6:58PM If Brian Setzer was a Republican and did novelty songs, he’d have to re-record one of his Christmas classics as Everybody’s Waiting For The Man With The Gaffe. Pins and needles here, really.
6:57PM Surprise! Fox has on a pretty blonde. Wearing red, too. Is she expecting a chance to question Reagan?
6:55PM Mort Kondracke expects a “sober” debate. Who has his email address? I need to send him a piece of my … bar tab.
6:54PM On yesterday’s PJTV Blogger Whip, I put a hundred bucks on 11, for the over/under on Joe Biden getting cut off for going over his allotted time. You can play along at home.
6:52PM Carl Cameron has been following Sarah Palin throughout the campaign, and has some insights. I mention this only because, had I been following her even half as long, there would already be a restraining order.
6:51PM Jules Crittenden is liveblogging, too. But if he’s drinking, he’s keeping it a secret. On the other hand, he’s calling his the Car Crash Liveblog. Strap your helmets on, folks.
6:49PM Morris’s point is that the tall nail gets knocked down. But the MSM is going to play the role of hammer to Obama’s nail? I laughed so hard I (not quite very nearly) spilled my gin.
6:48PM More pregame action. Dick Morris thinks McCain is due to come back. By the Morris Rule, that means McCain is toast.
6:43PM A few minutes ago, however, it was pure joy watching Big Bill rake Bailout Barney Frank over the coals.
6:41PM Plus side, my martini is extra dry tonight. Minus side, since I watched on CNN last time, I’m watching on Fox tonight — and that means I’ve got to watch Bill O’Reilly’s pre-show. The things I do for you people.