Pressure builds on Palin and Biden prior to VP debate

I watched a McCain spokesperson running around the media this morning continually downplay Palin’s upcoming debate performance and point out the fact that Biden has “35 years of experience” in Washington to draw from. When asked if he was trying to manage expectations, the spokesperson promptly said he “doesn’t play that game” while he was in the middle of playing that game.

Note: The Vice Presidential debate will be on Thursday, October 2nd at 9pm eastern, 6pm pacific time on every network.

Truth be told, there is much pressure on both sides for Thursday’s upcoming VP debate. Gov. Sarah Palin has to prove she’s ready for prime time in the political arena and Sen. Joe Biden has to prove he can go 90 minutes without sounding condescending or making a major gaffe. Any vibes from Biden in which he sounds like he’s schooling the newcomer could be received badly by voters, or perhaps some women in general.

A report from Fox News about the pressure mounting on Gov. Sarah Palin:

Pressure is building on Sarah Palin to demonstrate her leadership credentials when she faces off in the vice presidential debate against Washington veteran Joe Biden next week, as Democrats and even some Republicans lob criticism of her latest interview performance.

Biden, too, spent the past week tripping up his own campaign — bungling facts on the Great Depression and even criticizing a Barack Obama ad.

Biden’s gaffe-prone ways, though, are well-documented and tempered somewhat by a perception that he is seasoned in national affairs, while Palin still is making her debut on the national campaign stage.

Her interview earlier this week with CBS News’ Katie Couric was scrutinized closely in the run-up to the vice presidential candidates’ one-time debate Thursday in St. Louis.

In some cases, the criticism runs beyond liberal blogs and tabloids. Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker wrote a scathing article in the National Review Online lamenting that she could no longer defend the first-term Alaska governor’s placement on the Republican presidential ticket.

“Palin’s recent interviews … have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League,” she wrote. “No one hates saying that more than I do.”

Parker said the interviews revealed “there’s not much content there,” and she called on Palin to leave the Republican ticket.

FOX News analyst Bernard Goldberg said some of the criticism Palin is fielding is unfair, since Biden’s gaffes regularly receive a pass.

“The preconceived notion about Joe Biden is that he’s an expert on foreign policy no matter how many mistakes he’s made,” he said.

But Goldberg said Palin’s latest interview did not “instill confidence” and Parker “may be right” in saying she’s out of her league.

Some people perform well under pressure, perhaps Palin will take this to her advantage. Of course, on the other hand, it could simply be too overwhelming to her feeling as if her performance will be much more closely scrutinized by all sides more so than Joe Biden or her running mate, John McCain.

There are a few scenarios for this vice presidential debate coming up on Thursday, October 2nd at 9PM ET.

First, Palin could do well along with Biden doing well. In this scenario, Palin holds her own with Biden and instills confidence in voters that she is ready to lead the count if necessary.

Second, Palin could falter on a question surrounding foreign policy and Biden could come off as the much more experienced candidate. If Biden leaves it at that, he will come away with the victory leaving voters questioning Palin’s experience and ability to lead.

Third, Palin could falter and Biden could gaffe himself into oblivion as he’s prone to do. If this is the case, no traction will be made for either candidate and it will be basically a tie.

Fourth, Palin or Biden could do well but one of them might hit a home run on something and come out as the clear victor.

Fifth, and finally, Palin could falter and Biden could go to hard at her over the issue. If this is the case, on some obscure foreign policy question, she’s likely to win a sympathy vote from people who may have given a similar answer to that question or be unfamiliar with it. Biden could overplay his hand and come off as arrogant or condescending.