James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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Presidential & VP debates: protecting Palin

Posted by James McPherson on September 20, 2008

Now if they could just figure out a way to let her use a teleprompter for the vice presidential “debate,” Sarah Palin could keep repeating the verbatim and often false statements she keeps regurgitating on the campaign trail. Note this quote about why the questions will be much more limited for the VP debate than for the three presidential debates:

McCain advisers said they were only somewhat concerned about Ms. Palin’s debating skills compared with those of Mr. Biden, who has served six terms in the Senate, or about his chances of tripping her up. Instead, they say, they wanted Ms. Palin to have opportunities to present Mr. McCain’s positions, rather than spending time talking about her experience or playing defense.

“To have opportunities to present Mr. McCain’s positions”? Isn’t that what his three debates and millions of dollars worth of campaign ads are for? Oh, yeah–the ads are for smearing Barack Obama and misrepresenting his positions, not for presenting McCain’s. Of course the real reason for the limitation is so the GOP can continue to protect their “pretty little lady” nominee.

One other drawback for Palin. She’ll actually have to learn McCain’s positions, many of which are in opposition to her own (arctic drilling, global warming and perhaps sex education). Of course, many of them also in opposition to what McCain’s positions were a few months, weeks or–lately, as the economic crisis shows–even days earlier.

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8 Responses to “Presidential & VP debates: protecting Palin”

  1. endithinks said

    The McCain campaign is afraid that Biden will make it clear that Palin does not know what she is doing. They negotiated for a short question and answer format so that she can memorize a few stinging one liners. Anyone who really thinks she is qualified is going to respond to her scripted answers.

    Of course I hope people see through the trickery. I am a bit concerned that Biden in his verbosity will be cut off and seem not to make those rapid responses.

    The thing that makes me the most upset is the fact that people like short and sweet answers. They don’t like having to listen to logical reasoning. They want bumper sticker type one liners and neither Obama nor Biden are good at that type of speaking.

    I want a President who is a thinker. I want someone who is thoughtful and will not shoot from the hip.

    No more Cowboy.

  2. At least some good is coming from Palin’s lies:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/20/olbermann-gives-100-to-ch_n_127977.html

  3. […] debate with Barack Obama–and the vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and the suddenly helpless Sarah Palin, though Obama and debate organizers said the presidential debate, at least, would go on with or […]

  4. First Dude said

    Don’t underestimate Sarah Palin. She is a Master Debater. Just take a look here for proof (scroll down a bit when you get there):

    I’m Pullin’ For Palin – The Unofficial Tribute To Our Future VPILF
    http://www.pullinforpalin.com/

  5. […] for McCain and Palin, the campaign at first chose to mostly hide her from the media, and the appearances they did permit (see the Katie Couric debacle) only served to […]

  6. […] course Palin has been everywhere in the media since the election, but was kept under largely under wraps during the campaign itself. John McCain talked more about “Joe the Plumber” than he did […]

  7. […] If you doubt it, look below the fawning interview of Palin–who almost entirely refused to answer any media questions–by Sean Hannityduring the presidential campaign. And by the way, if the […]

  8. […] Sarah Palin as “Caribou Barbie.” One key difference was that Barbie originally was a dumbed-down version of a toy German sex object, while Caribou Barbie was a seemingly dumbed-down version of a […]

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