Debate Rules Modified to Benefit Palin

The New York Times reports that at the insistence of the McCain campaign, the debate between Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Joe Biden will have different rules than those for the Obama-McCain debate:

At the insistence of the McCain campaign, the Oct. 2 debate between Gov. Sarah Palin and her Democratic rival, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., will have shorter question-and-answer segments than those for the presidential nominees, the advisers said. There will also be much less opportunity for free-wheeling, direct exchanges between the running mates.

McCain advisers said they had been concerned that a loose format could leave Ms. Palin, a relatively inexperienced debater, at a disadvantage and largely on the defensive.



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 Mr. Biden’s chances of tripping up Ms. Palin. Instead, they say, they wanted Ms. Palin to have opportunities to present Mr. McCain’s positions, rather than spending time talking about her own experience or playing defense.

So the McCain campaign doesn't want voters to judge Gov. Palin for herself, even though she'd be one step from the Presidency if McCain is elected. They don't want her to talk about her experience only McCain's positions.

I've said before I think Palin canceled so many campaign appearances this week to be able to spend more time at debate camp. It now looks like on debate night, all we'll learn is how quick a study she is, not what she believes or whether she's qualified or prepared to lead the nation either as Vice President, or if events so dictate, as President.

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    I have to say (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Faust on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 04:23:03 PM EST
    of all the things that concern me about Palin, the fact that she is "hidden" in this way is what bothers me most.

    They're playing the expectations game already (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by andgarden on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 04:29:31 PM EST

    And this suprises you? (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Robot Porter on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 04:38:13 PM EST

    No (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by andgarden on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 04:43:12 PM EST
    but I sure don't think we ought to play into it.

    To be fair ... (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Robot Porter on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 04:34:53 PM EST
    the Vice-Presidential debates had different rules than the Presidential ones in the last two cycles as well.

    The Bush campaign insisted that the VP debates have both candidates seated.  A demand that clearly helped Cheney.

    Did Biden get any (none / 0) (#18)
    by Miserere mei on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 05:51:42 PM EST
    concessions in return?

    Palin had over 20 guberatorial debates (5.00 / 0) (#14)
    by KVFinn on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 05:30:37 PM EST
    And she came off as the winner overall.  She knows how to debate.  Don't underestimate her.

    A weakness of hers is that she's loose with the facts.  I guess that's why they're trying to minimize the back and forth so she can't be challenged on specific statements as much.  But most of winning a debate is appearance anyway.  She can smile and charm and knows how to turn any question into a talking point.  With just one debate that's all she has to do to skate by.

    Loose with the facts? (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by befuddledvoter on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 06:40:29 PM EST
    "A weakness of hers is that she's loose with the facts."?

    That is a huge minus in my book.    


    Are you kidding? (none / 0) (#26)
    by gentlewomanfarmer on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 07:06:01 PM EST
    Exactly who was she debating in ... Alaska gubernatorial politics?  A bad day for Joe Biden is still better than a good day for Sarah Palin.

    so you didn't watch (none / 0) (#27)
    by jes on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 07:19:41 PM EST
    the Alaska debates? watch it here.

    She beat both the dem and the republican who were better versed in policy. Guess how.


    Are you calling her loose? (none / 0) (#29)
    by rdandrea on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 08:58:00 PM EST
    You sexist, you. :)

    This may work better for Biden also (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by nycstray on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 05:33:19 PM EST
    less opportunity to ramble {insert foot in mouth} and also will avoid anything that may look like he's over-stepping (for lack of a better word). He's practicing debating with Governor Granholm so he can hit the right tone etc, so a controlled environment may balance out. Less room for error for Palin may equal the same for Biden.

    Plus in a controlled environment (5.00 / 0) (#21)
    by Miserere mei on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 05:55:54 PM EST
    of only talking about Obama's positions Biden won't have to answer questions about his bankruptcy bill vote or his vote on the AUMF. Seems that the rules could be a win-win for both sides.

    I like how hard Obama seems to be preparing (4.00 / 2) (#9)
    by magster on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 04:50:23 PM EST
    compared to McCain in the linked article.

    Obama and McCain will (none / 0) (#11)
    by MKS on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 05:13:37 PM EST
    get to question each other....That is a new feature of Presidential debates....A Lincoln-Douglas feature.

    Palin spending time in debate camp (4.00 / 4) (#12)
    by jes on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 05:23:03 PM EST
    means we won't hear any authenticity.

    Obama spending time in debate camp means he is honing and refining and condensing his arguments.


    Is Obama in hiding and cancelling appearances (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by JoeA on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 05:28:44 PM EST
    right left and centre?  Has Obama been kept wrapped up in cotton wool and only wheeled out for one or two powder puff interviews with selected friendly personalities like Sean Hannity was for Palin?

    Has the O-man refused the series of Town Hall (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by jes on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 05:34:50 PM EST
    Debates that McCain proposed. Or did he wrap himself in the cacoon of an early lead and almost blow it if it had not been for the economy tanking. Has he had 22 loses in debates or not?

    you have previously stated your intent (none / 0) (#17)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 05:47:50 PM EST
    in comments to vote for Nader or someone other than the Democratic ticket. You are limited to four comments a day expressing your criticism of Obama's candidacy.

    I know that (none / 0) (#19)
    by jes on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 05:53:45 PM EST
    this is my third comment this week. I have never violated comment policy.

    ok, thanks I appreciate that. (none / 0) (#20)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 05:55:46 PM EST
    Anyone who saw the attempt at a question with a (none / 0) (#22)
    by Christy1947 on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 06:37:38 PM EST
    reporter in the middle of which Obama was attacked by a persistent fly they both saw, knows better. And that one got on the air.

    hand? This is sickening. So, Palin gets to essentially present McCain's vision?  They are afraid she will get defensive??  Hey, speaking of what if's, what if she becomes President??  What do we do then?

    Heck, why don't they give her the answers (3.00 / 3) (#6)
    by Coral on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 04:38:34 PM EST
    while they're at it.

    no worries (1.00 / 0) (#30)
    by juliamarlin on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 10:29:42 PM EST
    Joe will put her in her place, I have no doubt. The women can see Russia from her house, trust me there is no worry here. She is going to sound like a dummy when all she does is represent John Mccains views, and not her own. I am Canadian and I sure hope John Mccain stays in good health if he is to win this Election, because if she for what ever reason because president we are all in so much trouble. But I have no doubt that Barak Obama will be the next President of the USA.

    The Dems should have refused (none / 0) (#23)
    by Dadler on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 06:39:28 PM EST
    Why on earth wouldn't they refuse?  Let Palin and Co. complain about it, or drop out.  This seems an obvious, and easy, strategic choice to make.  Why not make it?  I don't care what weaknesses Biden has, when you opponent is essentially asking for what she perceives as an advantage, gues what?  You say no.

    Ahhhhh, I agree (none / 0) (#25)
    by befuddledvoter on Sat Sep 20, 2008 at 06:42:53 PM EST
    unless they still think Biden can make her look inexperienced and/or incompetent, despite the rules' change.  

    From the description above, that sounds like a tough task though.  


    Perhaps after a particularly bad (none / 0) (#31)
    by slr51 on Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 01:57:57 PM EST
    round-about non-answer to a question by Palin, Biden could politely say that since the entire debate format was changed to make it easier for her he thinks she really should at least have the decency to answer the questions and then yield a little of his time to her for that purpose.

    Debate Rules (none / 0) (#32)
    by stevea66 on Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 07:52:41 AM EST
    I think that's a wonderful idea, slr51.  I think the worst thing that could happen to Palin in this debate is that she is given MORE time to make apparent her lack of knowledge.