Friday, October 03, 2008

Politico Gives Stark Rundown of Debate Performances

Politico writers John F. Harris and Mike Allen pop up today with a solid piece of post debate analysis under the heading, "Palin clears bar, still falls short." In the piece they discuss how Palin managed to disappoint all those who watched the debate wishing for real blatant blunders, delivering a performance that steered clear of anything extreme on the gaffe front. Still, they go further into what we all saw, describing Palin as being both on defense basically the whole time, and struggling to go on the offensive as McCain's advisers, no doubt, wanted her to against Biden. Their critique is smart and to the point:
Washington power lawyer Robert Barnett, who helped Biden prepare, said viewers would come away with the sense that Palin "is a nice person, an interesting person but not a qualified-to-be-the-president-of-the-United-States person."
They do give each VP candidate credit for having their moments, saying:
From the moment she blew a kiss as she walked onstage, the Alaska governor was folksy and spunky, dropping a “bless their hearts” here, a “God bless ‘er” there and “darn right” — twice. She showed a cheerful confidence that must have been hard to muster after the humiliating coverage of her amateurish interviews...

Biden offered a fluent, self-assured performance of the sort that cannot be especially hard for him after two presidential campaigns, 35 years in the Senate and countless appearances on Sunday morning programs...
Still, all in all, our friends at the Politico came around to the point well summarized in their title, that last night's debate while it wasn't a debacle also didn't change basically anything about the larger trends in the race.
The debate did nothing to arrest — and may even have helped cement — a gradual but unmistakable turnabout in the race, with Barack Obama gaining in polls and momentum and McCain losing ground in must-win states. The financial meltdown has put a new premium on competence, and Palin did nothing to show she is ready to be in charge...

In many ways, Obama-Biden has taken ownership of the play-it-safe vote, and McCain-Palin have become the more unpredictable and potentially risky choice.

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