Meet Me in St. Louis

By Samantha Hayes in Washington, DC

The place is Washington University in St. Louis. The time, 9pm eastern. And the event: The one and only vice presidential debate between Senator Joe Biden and Governor Sarah Palin. It’s shaping up to be the election highlight of the week. Ahead of the matchup, Barack Obama’s campaign is already trying to manage expectations by complimenting the opponent. “She’s very skilled and she’ll be well-prepared,” said Obama’s chief strategist David Axelrod Sunday.  Biden’s spokesperson added that, “He’s going in here to debate a leviathan of forensics, who has debated five times and she’s undefeated.”

I’ll admit that statement from David Wade sent me to the dictionary to find the definition of leviathan.  It is either a) a sea monster. b) any huge marine animal, as the whale. c) anything of immense size and power, as a huge, ocean-going ship. So if I’m reading Wade’s description of Palin correctly, he’s anticipating an epic, maritime battle between his candidate and the Alaska governor.

Palin herself struck a different tone when asked today about the upcoming debate saying, “I do look forward to Thursday night and debating Senator Joe Biden. We’re gonna talk about those new ideas, new energy for America. I’m looking forward to meeting him too. I’ve never met him, but I’ve been hearing about his Senate speeches since I was in like 2nd grade.”

Palin will be preparing for the debate at John McCain’s ranch in Arizona for the next few days. Biden has also been practicing, and called in Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm to play Palin in mock debates. As both campaigns try to play down expectations, one thing they can’t dampen is anticipation, which will be high when they both meet in St. Louis.

Samantha Hayes is a national correspondent for CNN Newsource based in Washington, D.C. She contributes political stories to KSAT-12. You can learn more about her here.

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