A skilled debater versus a skilled legislator

My quick take from the debate (after getting a chance to watch it) is simple. A good debater (Palin) battled a good legislator (Joe Biden). In that case, it was probably a draw. What Palin was able to do last night was essentially reassure base supporters that she isn’t a moron, that their faith is not misplaced. She did not however, in my estimation, change the minds of many independent voters. 

Biden’s performace was unfortunately staid for the evening. I understand the strategy heading into the debate. I just would have liked to see a little of that Biden personality. A few punch lines, a little of the character that can be the sugar for all that policy medicine. None the less, if the question in a voter’s mind was “which candidate picked someone capable of being president?” Any fair-minded person would have chosen Biden. 

Palin was also the benficiary of incredibly low expectations. There’s something to be said for tanking in a major network interview series. It makes a debate performace full of talking points and lacking any mastery of the subjects at hand seem powerful. 

The debate was a draw, and in that, it did not help the McCain/Palin ticket…which is continuing the slide the polls.


VP Debate

Tonight my lovely fiance and I had the rehearsal dinner for our wedding (!) and thusly were not able to watch the infamous VP debate. So my fellow thinkPoppers, as I study up the tape, the comment section awaits for your opinions, takes, etc….

For those who think Ifill is in the tank…

Fox news is a twitter this morning over Gwen Ifill moderating Thursday’s debate. She is writing a book exploring a new era in black politics. Obama is inevitably part of that story. Fox news is breathless in claiming Ifill is in the tank for Obama. We’ve even had a commenter here at thinkPOP insinuate the same. So in an effort to defend Ms. Ifill, who thinkPOP is an unabashed fan of….I give you Michael Calderone’s article up on politico at this moment. But I also share Ifill’s own description of the book. 

One last thing, Michael Calderone asks in his piece:

I think Malkin and other critics have a right to raise questions about whether Ifill should be moderating, but at the same time, it’s not as if the veteran PBS journalist has been keeping the book under wraps until now…So why is this coming up less than 36 hours before Palin and Biden hit the stage?

The answer of course, is that the Fox News crowd and the McCain campaign need to explain in advance why Palin’s performance in the upcoming debate is so poor, if indeed it is. Why wasn’t this question raised earlier? Because Ifill’s intergrity as a journalist is unquestionable, but in the desperation of a floundering campaign and weak VP candidate, shoot the messenger is the name of the game. All part of the McCain campaign’s war on the press.

Gwen Ifill is not a household name, but she should be.

Gwen Ifill is not a household name to many Americans, but the 52 year old anchor of PBS’ Washington Week and correspondant for PBS’ Newshour is one of the most insightful, studious and down-to-earth reporters in the business. She should be seriously considered to take over Tim Russert’s spot on Meet the Press next year. In the meantime, she can moderate the VP debate this Thursday. Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post has this profile piece.

Gwen Ifill Breaks Ankle (!) but will host the debate

Gwen Ifill, my second favorite news anchor and interviewer has apparently broken her ankle. According to mediabistro:

First On TVNewser: PBS’ Gwen Ifill has broken her ankle after tripping and falling down stairs at her home last night, a NewsHour insider tells TVNewser. We’re told Ifill had been walking up a staircase, carrying research related to her moderating duties at Thursday’s Vice Presidential debate in St. Louis, when she took a wrong step.

We are also told the show will go on: Ifill is planning to travel to Missouri for the big event.

That sucks a whole lot, but goes to show only a PBS anchor would trip carrying a mountain of research. Good luck Gwen! The show must go on!