Palin, Biden prepping for Thursday’s big VP debate

Similar to the 3 days of debate prep Barack Obama spent in Florida, Gov. Sarah Palin is heading west to John McCain’s ranch for debate prep ahead of her showdown with Sen. Joe Biden. Word is that Biden is also in debate prep mode so clearly he isn’t taking this any less serious than he would a more seasoned opponent.

Report from the CNN:

(CNN) — The vice presidential candidates are taking some time off the trail this week to prepare for their highly anticipated debate Thursday. Appearing with John McCain on Monday, Gov. Sarah Palin said she was looking forward to debating Sen. Joe Biden.

“So I guess it’s my turn now, and I do look forward to Thursday night. … I’m looking forward to meeting him, too. I never met him, but I’ve been hearing about his Senate speeches since I was in, like, second grade,” she joked at a rally in Columbus, Ohio.

The Republican Alaska governor has generally shied away from attacking Biden directly, although she did use the “second grade” remark in an interview with Fox News two weeks ago.

Palin added that she thinks the Delaware Democrat is a “great debater.”

Going into a debate, campaigns try to lower expectations for their candidate while raising expectations for their opponent.

Biden’s campaign has been trying to play up Palin’s debate skills in the lead-up to the debate.

“She’s very skilled, and she’ll be well-prepared,” David Axelrod, Barack Obama’s chief strategist, said Sunday night as he flew with Biden back to Delaware to help him get ready.

More specifically on Biden’s debate prep from the New York Times:

Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, spent most of the day Monday in a hotel suite in Wilmington preparing for Thursday night’s debate.

As practice sessions unfolded behind closed doors, top aides tried, not terribly convincingly, to suggest that Mr. Biden – a two-time presidential candidate, 35-year veteran of the Senate and chairman of its foreign affairs committee – is the debate underdog to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

“He’s going in here to debate a leviathan of forensics,” Mr. Biden’s spokesman, David Wade, said with an almost straight face, “who has debated five times and she’s undefeated.”

David Axelrod, Senator Barack Obama’s top political strategist, also tried to play down expectations for Mr. Biden and to highlight Ms. Palin’s skills as a debater.

“I think that if you go back and look at the debates that Governor Palin’s had as a candidate, she’s very skilled and she’ll be well-prepared,” Mr. Axelrod said on Mr. Biden’s plane Sunday night. “As you saw at the convention she can be very good. So, I think it would be foolish to assume that this isn’t going to be a really challenging debate. We’re preparing for that, on that assumption.”

Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Democrat of Michigan, joined the debate preparation team in the role of Ms. Palin. Ms. Granholm flew to Wilmington with Mr. Biden on Sunday night after the Democratic candidates made an appearance in Detroit earlier in the day and was expected to stay for a day or two of mock combat.

Also on the Biden debate team were Ron Klain, a former top aide to Biden in the Senate who has been helping Mr. Obama prepare for debates; Ricki Seidman, a senior campaign adviser; Anthony Blinken, Mr. Biden’s chief foreign policy aide; and Valerie Biden Owens, Mr. Biden’s sister, political adviser and close confidante.

Mr. Axelrod said that preparation for a vice-presidential debate is more complex than for a top-of-the-ticket contest because the nominees have to defend their own records while touting the qualifications of their presidential candidates and questioning the positions of their opponents.

“This is primarily going to be a debate about where the principals, the presidential candidates, want to take the country,” Mr. Axelrod said.

Fascinating how these mock debate prep sessions work. One can only imagine the things they prepare for. They have to deal with every possible negative area either candidate could bring up.

To be a fly on the wall for Biden or Palin… priceless!

  • IndiMinded

    I predict that Palin’s going to try to focus this debate around character issues as much as she can. Biden’s got enough history that she can cherry pick his mistakes from the past and lash him with them, and at the same time I don’t think Biden will be dying to return fire quite the same way, as most of the public is already defensive about the character attacks she’s had to endure.

    And of course there’s the age difference, the experience gap, etc. If Biden gets personal, he’ll look bad, but Palin has every incentive to fire those guns, and plenty of ammunition to load them with.

    I hope I’ve got it wrong though. A civil debate focusing on the issues facing our country would be downright refreshing.

  • Babs

    I think Palin’s strong suit is in the energy department, and I hope that will be included in the debate. Clean coal would be a good aspect of energy to bring up, don’t you think? Has anyone heard what topics are supposed to be on the schedule?

    Yes, I agree, I think she has plenty of ammo, and probably should use it. On his overseas trips, I’d like to see him account for the being “shot at” remark and the helicopter incident. Only because Hillary is still dodging sniper fire, and always will thanks to Obama.

    I think when Katie Couric asked Sarah (I think today, I saw the clip on TV) was she sure she wanted to be making statements about seeing Biden make speeches when she was in the 2nd grade, considering she’s running with a 72 year old – of course, the question was dripping in sarcasism, but we’ve come to expect that from little Katie. Sarah shot back, no, of course not, she was simply referring to how very experienced he is. But her tone seemed to say something entirely different. I could be wrong, but I think there was just a hint of mischief in her answer. Maybe we’ll see the real Sarah again after all.

    I’m not really sure what this debate will influence, people still vote for the top of the ticket, but it could provide some much needed comic relief this week.

  • JD

    I found a picture of Palin preparing for the debate

  • Babs

    I’m not even going to look. The stand up comedian routine is wearing thin, JD.

  • JD

    Babs – “I think when Katie Couric asked Sarah (I think today, I saw the clip on TV) was she sure she wanted to be making statements about seeing Biden make speeches when she was in the 2nd grade, considering she’s running with a 72 year old – of course”

    Here is the Video so everyone can watch it and see what they think.

    Lets ask the question : Is it hypocritical of Palin to make fun of Biden’s age when her running mate is as old??

    Babs – “The stand up comedian routine is wearing thin, JD.”

    Not when it comes to Palin. You seem to love her jokes. lol…2nd grade. It is funny stuff.

  • ed read

    Their debate shouldn´t be about personal character but about competence and judgement. Who is more capable of assuming the presidency if necessary.

  • moebius

    ed read…

    “Their debate shouldn´t be about personal character but about competence and judgement. Who is more capable of assuming the presidency if necessary. ”

    dream on!

  • Bruce

    I can’t enforce this enough. This is the person who would be elected to do a multitude of tasks. Ranging from, domestic and foreign policy to directly negotiating with other world powers. If ANYONE thinks Sara Palin is the right pick for this job, I beg you look at what a VP actually does and think again. She would be a bigger embarrassment to this country than I’m afraid yes even Bush has been and still is.

  • Perhaps Palin is out smarting all of us and she’s only pretending to be not very bright in the Katie Couric interviews, when really she’s a secret political genius with the cunningness of Karl Rove.

    Sarah puts the Palin in palindrome, because her sentences are as ass-backwards as they are forwards 8)

  • Stalin

    Ifill needs to recuse herself from the VP debate. How can a moderator who is writing a book about Obama be asking the questions for the most watched VP debate of all time?

  • Babs

    Good point, Stalin, I got the news on this only this morning, and I think the question is a valid one. From what I understand, she was chosen to moderate some time ago, and her announcement of her Obama book being released Jan. 20th just came out yesterday. We’ll see if the lady has enough class to recuse herself, or if she’s more concerned with potential book sales. If Obama loses, her book will no doubt not hit the best seller list, even if it is released on Inaugeration day. She has a vested personal interest in the outcome of this race, and should absolutely recuse herself.

    For those that haven’t heard about this issue yet, here it is.

  • Babs

    And for anyone who’d like to tell PBS what you think about it, you can do it here:

  • JD

    Palin talks to Couric again…

    COURIC: I know you’re heading to Sedona…

    Gov. PALIN: Yes.

    COURIC: …to work on your debate. What is your coach advising you?

    Gov. PALIN: I don’t have a debate coach.

    COURIC: Well, what are your coaches?

    Gov. PALIN: I have quite a few people who are giving us information about the record of Obama and Biden, and at the end of the day, though, it is–it’s so clear, again, what those choices are. Either new ideas, new energy and
    reform of Washington, DC, or more of the same.

    ****LOL… did she just say Obama is the same as BUSH??? or was she refering to herself. lol.

    If she thinks Obama is the same then she is really going to get killed at the debate.

  • Stalin


    Obama is for big government, so yes, that is more of the same.

  • JD

    I thought Bush was for small government… hense all the deregulation that has gone on and the blind eye he has turned for 8 years.

  • JD

    “A flurry of new polls shows Barack Obama gaining in several battleground states – most notably Florida, Pennsylvania and swing states throughout the West. Officials worry early voting, which is under way in important states such as Ohio, is likely to favor Obama in this toxic political climate.”

    full Story Here –

  • JD

    From Quinnipiac University poll:

    FLORIDA: Obama 51, McCain 43

    OHIO: Obama 50, McCain 42

    PENNSYLVANIA: Obama 54, McCain 39

    Dates conducted: Sept. 27-29. Error margin: 3.4 percentage points.

    *** NOTE*** THESE ARE JUST POLL #’s and as we all know they have a history in this election of being wrong. None the less it is interesting information since Obama was behind in these battleground states in the same polls conducted by the same university not too long ago.

  • JD

    Getting back to Palin and the Debate. In her interview she said…

    COURIC: …to work on your debate. What is your coach advising you?

    Gov. PALIN: I don’t have a debate coach.

    ***Palin is caught in a picture participating in a mock debate session with the campaign adviser Randy Scheunemann at McCain’s Sedona, Arizona ranch.***

    Picture link here –

    ***If she doesn’t call that debate coaching than I don’t know what to call it.

  • Stalin: Although the moderator for the VP debate has a left leaning, there’s no way the questions would reflect that, how could they reflect that? The questions will be the same ones that’s been said time and time again about issues that’s been raised time and time again. It would be nice to see Ifill recuse herself but if she doesn’t then it won’t have any sway in the debate.

    I am expecting though the Palinites to cry foul if Palin does have a meltdown and start blaming Ifill.

    Also Stalin, where are you getting your information that Obama is for big Government? or are you just making it up because it sounds good? But lets just say he is and it is more of the same then that means Bush has been for big government too does it not if Obama is going to be the same as him?

  • CAPman

    NZpudding-If you dont understand how someone being biased towards one party or the other can make a difference just because its the same setting I suggest you view a clip of ‘The View’ & pay attention to how they grill McCain as opposed to practically climbing over one another to have an opportunity to drool on Obama.