The VP debate: Must see TV

By Samantha HayesEn route to St. Louis

As we travel to St. Louis for the first and only vice presidential debate between the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, and the Republican candidate, Sarah Palin, I’m struck by the fact that this may be the most watched debate-ever.

The Associated Press is reporting that 3,100 media credentials have been issued.  The group that organizes the event, the Commission on Presidential Debates, says that’s more than any of the seven VP debates it’s hosted in the past. That’s a lot of journalists for two candidates who are campaigning to fill the number two spot.

The heightened interest really gets down to the personalities of the the two VP candidates. You have Joe Biden, a 35 year veteran of the Senate, known for being long-winded and occasionally delivering politically insensitive comments, and Sarah Palin, the young Governor of Alaska who faces enormous pressure after faltering in recent network interviews that have raised questions about her competency for the job she desires.

Both are aware of the media attention and the anticipated record viewership and have taken some time off the campaign trail to prepare.  Biden certainly knows that any mistakes or missteps will be closely analyzed.  In his first presidential bid, twenty years ago, Biden plagiarized a speech from British politician Neil Kinnock. That ended his campaign.  Recently, Biden’s off-the-cuff comments have caused some concern for Democrats.  Biden’s position on clean coal seemed to be at odds with Barack Obama when Biden spoke against it during a campaign stop in Ohio.  He also wondered aloud whether Obama should have chosen Hillary Clinton to be his running mate.

Sarah Palin not only has the challenge of debating a much more experienced politician, she must also beat expectations, which have recently plummeted.  Her nomination, which energized and excited Republicans during the convention, is now being called into question by some in the party.  The pressure is on for Palin.

But in this debate, it may be the interaction between the two candidates, more than the issues, that is truly interesting.  During a campaign stop this week, Palin talked about her excitement over meeting Biden, whose Senate speeches she been hearing about since “like second grade.”  I can hear a youth and inexperience retort coming on already. As for Biden, his advisors have been trying to soften his style which can sometimes be offensive to women.  He’s been practicing with Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and has reportedly asked Senators Hillary Clinton and Barbara Boxer for advice.

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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2 Comments on “The VP debate: Must see TV”

  1. Alan Freeman Says:

    Palin I thought at the first announcement was either an inspired choice or a monumental disaster. It was quite obvious that McCain chose her to combat the Hilary devotion and that may have worked, but now after seeing the woman several times one wonders about McC’s ability.He does not inspire me as he waffles around and speaks in sound-bites that have no indications of leadership; but on the other hand Obama recites the same message over and over again also without any distinct qualities of leadership. SO – let’s hope that McC lives through the next four years and that Palin fades into obscurity like Agnew. This on the assumption that McC will be elected as the country does not appear to be ready for a black President.
    I will watch the so-called debate tonight with, I hope, an open mind; but I come back to my original thinking – neither candidate or VP candidate inspires me with leadership qualities, the very thing that this country needs to regain its rightful position as a world leader. Dumbing down as the order of the day will quickly result, if it hasn’t already done so, in the status of a banana republic. We must insist on future leadership that overcomes this ridiculous partinsanship and starts to put country before egos and party.

  2. Namtran Says:

    thx for knowledge If we have time get come back visit mE “Travel Blog” 😀

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