Thursday, October 02, 2008

Last minute advice for the debators tonight

If the veep candidates bent an ear in my direction asking for last-minute advice, here's what I'd tell them:

Joe Biden
Look Joe, your worst enemy is not the GOP, but your own mouth. Not that you cuss, but that you don't know when to stop talking. The longer you go on talking, the more likely you are to gaffe. While one might say that you making a gaffe tonight is virtually inevitable, what you at least want to do is to not make a MAJOR gaffe. So keep your responses short and sweet, and that should decrease the odds of gaffe-making. You got years of experience on your debating opponent, so work that in your favor.

Sarah Palin
Sarah, something about you got you from the PTA to the vice presidency, so tonight's the night for the U.S. to see what that is. You need to recapture whatever you had that night at the GOP convention and bring it out again. No pressure, but McCain's success or failure in this election largely rests on how quickly you adjust to the big stage. In addition, your opponent has a tendency to gaffe , so if he makes a particularly juicy gaffe, work that in your favor so as to draw attention to him and away from your own shortcomings.

For both
Forget that Palin is a woman, and debate as equals. Palin needs to be treated the same as if it had been Mike Huckabee or Mitt Romney that had been nominated. She will need to sink or swim on the basis of her own debate skills. The more even-handed this debate is done, the better.

Gwen Ifill's book with Obama in it
Hngh. This news item is an annoyance that shouldn't have happened. Even if Ifill isn't "in the tank" for Obama, she should have revealed the fact that she's writing a book on Obama on her own - and much, much sooner, instead of letting conservative talk show hosts and websites come across that fact. She's an intelligent woman as well as a professional, and she above all should have known that this was going to come up, especially in this contentious election season. Had she made this fact known sooner, it could have been dealt with already.

Now the GOP will have a ready-made excuse should Palin not perform well. Not only that, now that this has come out, Ifill might have to "pull her punches" so as to keep from looking like she is favoring Biden. I can't believe that someone in the Dem side didn't think that this would at least give the appearance of a conflict of interest! This was poorly handled, and it will become an element of tonight's debate that shouldn't have been there.

In any case, however, I still will be watching. And of course, I'll give my take on how the candidates did.

UPDATE: According to this article, Ifill didn't inform the Commission on Presidential Debates about her authoring this book. That would have been the perfect time to do so. Even if the CPD wasn't informed of it, they should have had some mechanism in place that would seek out such information. According to a fellow blogger (see comment below), knowledge of this book had been known beforehand. A quick Google search by the CPD should have brought this out. I still maintain that this could have been better handled.

Gwen Ifill handled the debate totally professionally. She made the book issue a non-issue. Although the Hannitys and Limbaughs will probably still find something, I don't think they will have a leg to stand on in regards to how she handled being the moderator. My debate review will come tomorrow, but I wanted to get my kudos in on Ifill's moderation skills right now.


blackink said...

JP, thing is, people have known about Ifill's book for quite awhile now. At least since the summer.

If the McCain campaign didn't know about it, then, quite simply: they're completely and thoroughly irresponsible. Which is within the realm of possibility.

Also, the book - which, to my knowledge, hasn't even been completed - references Obama a number of time but it's not a biography. I'm gonna go over this, hopefully before the debate kicks off tonight. Stay tuned, my friend!

John P. Araujo said...

I shall! :-D