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article imageOp-Ed: VP Debate Time - Sarah Palin Must Bait Joe Biden

By Brad Sylvester     Oct 1, 2008 in Politics
The only way Sarah Palin can win the debate is for Joe Biden to self-destruct. She must bait Joe Biden into making errors or losing his temper.
It's VP Debate time, and on October 2nd at 9:00 PM Eastern Time, we'll see whether Sarah Palin can string together two or more sentences in a row that actually make sense as she debates Joe Biden. Unfortunately, Sarah Palin has already been defined by her lack of coherent answers in prior interviews such as the one with Katie Couric. Sarah Palin's national appearances have made it appear that she is uninformed, poorly educated, poorly prepared, and that she doesn't handle pressure well. Nothing she can do at the VP debate can erase the image she has already made for herself over the last couple of weeks. The only hope Sarah Palin has of salvaging something from the VP debate is to try to make Joe Biden appear as incompetent as she has appeared to be.
Joe Biden's VP Debate Weakness
I have watched Joe Biden in the Democratic presidential debates, and have seen him speak in other venues as well. He is well-spoken, has good ideas, has a pleasant personality, demonstrates intelligence in his comments, and generally displays good judgment. Every once in a while, though, he can stray off message. This is more likely given that some of his own policy preferences don't line up exactly with those of Barack Obama. When off-balance, his natural reaction is going to be to fall back on his own policy preferences, the ones that he is most comfortable in talking about, the ones that he has talked about and defended for a long time. This can be exploited in the VP debate by a shrewd opponent.
Sarah Palin's VP Debate Weakness
Fortunately, he doesn't face a shrewd opponent. He faces Sarah Palin. She has some serious weaknesses that can be exploited as well. She seems to wilt under pressure. Katie Couric's simple repeating of a question when it wasn't answered seemed to induce a stream of near random phrases from an obviously flustered Sarah Palin during the CBS interview. It is hard to imagine that she won't be better prepared for the VP debate. It is plausible that she can remember and repeat the answers that have been drilled into her by John McCain's staff. It isn't plausible that she can out-debate a seasoned public speaker like Joe Biden. However, if she simply doesn't make a major mistake the TV pundits will proclaim it a big victory. If Joe Biden strays off message or appears overbearing against poor Sarah Palin, then he could win the debate and lose the battle of public perception.
VP Debate Expectations
Joe Biden, because of the low opinion the general public has about Sarah Palin, is expected to win the VP debate handily. If he does, he meets expectations and the victory is no big deal. If Joe Biden commits a single error of content or delivery at any time during the VP debate, the right-leaning media will pounce. On the other side, if Sarah Plain commits a major gaff, she meets expectations. If she avoids looking silly during the VP debate, it is a major victory.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Debate time, Debates, Debates timem sarah, Sarah palin, Joe biden
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