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VP Debates: What to Exepct

Tonight's the night!

It's the event most of us have been waiting for. We have two loose cannons in the VP slot going head-to-head on live TV. palin is coming off of a horrible week with a disasterous CBS interview and Joe Biden faced some tough jabs over gaffes made on the campaign trail. Both have quick wits and aren't afraid to shoot their mouths off. This should be a pisser.

So what should we expect? The campaigns are out with their pre-spin and here's how it's breaking down: Palin will over deliver on low expectations and Biden will mostly ignore her and aim for McCain with facts and policy to back him up.

Politico has it thus:

"This is going to finally put her back into a position where we see her like we saw her the first couple weeks," a McCain official said. "She was herself. She was authentic, and people related to that. ... Tonight, she'll get into a rhythm. You're going to see her in a way that you haven't seen her yet."

By contrast, Biden plans what an aide calls "a just-the-facts, prosecutorial approach laying out the case against McCain and defending Obama." The aide said Biden will be "keeping the eye on the target, which is McCain."


Biden spokesman David Wade added, "he's going in here to debate a leviathan of forensics who has debated five times, and she's undefeated."

MSNBC/Newsweek (which includes some hilarious attempts from GOPers to play down Palin):

The expectations aren't just low; they're in the Death Valley range. I'm not sure I remember such a vigorous race to the bottom, even when the world was coming to know a legally blond fellow named Quayle.

As Democrats in or near the Obama-Biden camp tell it, the concern is that the loquacious senator will talk too much, will be overbearing and condescending, too up-to-here with Beltway blather.

"I just am afraid that Joe is not going to be able to shut up," said one top Democratic fundraiser, who is close to the senator but who does not want to talk in public. "He keeps telling the debate prep people that he gets it, but I'm not sure he can control himself. He's certainly never been able to in the past, has he?"

She is the tribune of "Joe Sixpack America." As such, Palin's leadership qualities cannot fairly or appropriately be measured in a debate like this one. Palin herself has made this argument. Not only is it unfair to expect her to have Biden's level of detailed knowledge; it's the wrong way to judge her, since her most worthy quality is that she is "one of us."


She should have quit the race by now. This isn't an intentional lowering of expectations by the McCain camp and its allies; rather, it's a cluster of conservatives, led by George Will, who were mortified by her apparent lack of knowledge. Those feelings were only solidified by the governor's devastating interviews with Katie Couric. At this point, it's conventional wisdom that Palin isn't ready for prime time. So it will be a form of victory if she merely makes it onto the stage in St. Louis.

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