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VP Debate Tonight: Biden-Palin Time Info, Video, Highlights
The short answers: Gov. Palin needs to demonstrate a real understanding of complex issues. Simple talking points won't cut it. She needs to make clear she grasps the difficult policy challenges that the next administration will confront. if she doesn't the debate will quickly turn into her own version of Thursday Night Live.
Sen. Biden's burden is the opposite. We all know he understands the issues. Instead he has to connect with Americans, making the case against John McCain without condescending to Gov. Palin and angering female voters. (He will not, for instance, be calling her "Sarah")
Intense Anticipation: The San Francisco Chronicle says tonight's debate is "must-see TV - even if you loathe politics - for its sheer unpredictability." Both candidates "display a marked tendency to set off America's collective gaffe-o-meter," the Hartford Courant writes, producing a "ghoulish fascination -- like waiting for a crash at a NASCAR race -- with tonight's debate." Politico notes that media figures expect it to be a ratings juggernaut, likely overtaking those of the first presidential debate.
Serious Doubts: The AP reported Thursday morning that voters harbor "serious doubts" about Palin's readiness. Fred Thompson defended her on CBS' Early Show:
"People will have a chance to see her from beginning to end without being edited," former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., told CBS' "The Early Show" on Thursday.
"We've all had bad days," Thompson said, "and she's had some bad moments in some of these interviews, just like the rest of us have had."
Palin Gives Debate Preview: Palin came out swinging during an appearance on Sean Hannity's radio show on Wednesday:
She gave a preview of how her preparations for Thursday's debate in St. Louis are going and said she has been researching Barack Obama and Joe Biden's voting records, "Everything is going well and I'm out here in Arizona getting some fresh air even as we are studying up and reading a lot of voting records and realizing how extremely liberal the other ticket is so this is a good time to be here and I so look forward to tomorrow night getting to speak to Americans about the very, very clear choice they are going to have on November 4th."
Palin also claimed she was eager for the debate since the media had been 'censoring' her: "Getting to speak directly to Americans without that filter of mainstream media trying to I think maybe censor some of my comments as we lay out those contrasts between these two different tickets."
The Format: Details on the debate mechanics:
-- Each candidate will stand behind a lecturn, making them more likely to fire zingers at each other. Dick Cheney and John Edwards were seated during their mostly sleepy 2004 VP debate.
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