After the Joe Biden-Sarah Palin vice-presidential debate in Missouri on Friday October 2, 2008, the two parties had both claims on who won. As usual, the hardliners among the Democratic and Republican supporters had their respective clear winners heating up the presidential race towards its conclusion in November.
Millions of eager viewers were riveted on the young underdog Gov. Sarah Palin (R) and the more experienced Sen. Joe Biden (D) whose exchanges were moderated by Gwen Ifill, PBS anchorwoman. Ifill’s suitability to preside in the debate was at the late hour questioned because of an allegation of conflict of interest arising from her forthcoming book on Sen. Barack Obama. (see blog entitled “Media bias &/or conflict of interest,” October 2, 2008)
In my opinion, Palin performed far better than expected after being heavily criticized to a point of unfair ridicule by the media for her alleged inadequacy as a vice-presidential candidate. There were no outstanding gaffes that could embarrass any of the candidates. Both Biden and Palin performed very well. But Palin certainly won points that weren’t expected of her.
Facing Biden, a spirited debater who certainly displayed clear grasp and knowledge about politics in Washington, Palin was able to cut across her ideas with the public as an ordinary American who talked straight into the minds of the viewers. Presenting herself as a young governor of Alaska, she stood her ground on a wide range of issues which include the economy, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and education. As a newcomer, Palin was less exhaustive (but definitely not lacking of substance) compared to Biden’s detailed exposition of facts. This is expected in a time-pressured contest which made the audience wonder if Biden was accurate in all that he said.
Palin has once again changed the dynamics of this campaign. With her down-to-earth relaxed talk which resonates in the American heartland, she clearly has given new life to Sen. John McCain’s (R) campaign which has suffered setbacks as a result the economic crisis rocking the nation. Because the biased liberal media tend to side with the Democrats, NBC News analyst Chuck Todd disparagingly says the debate doesn’t matter and will be forgotten easily. I don’t agree.
“The absence of train wrecks led some pundits to wonder whether the contest, probably the most anticipated vice presidential debate in history, will quickly be forgotten.
“You’re not going to see this debate have much of an effect on this race. This probably won’t live much beyond a 24-hour period.”—NBC News analyst Chuck Todd. Yahoo.News/AP (010/3/08, Bauder,D.)
The score of the campaign will certainly show some correction in the next few days as the effects of the debate seep their way into the polls. Had the debate turned differently, Sen. Barack Obama (D) would be keeping a far bigger lead at this point of this extraordinary presidential race. (Photo Credits: Cordeman; Don Ermmert/Pool/Reuters; AP) =0=