Debate Liveblogging

DEBATE LIVEBLOGGING…. I’ve been blogging for more than five years now, but have deliberately avoided liveblogging. It’s always struck me as impossible — I’m supposed to listen, think, and type? At the same time?

But tonight, I’m going to give it a shot anyway. Let’s just keep expectations low, shall we?

8:50: 10 minutes to go.

9:01: I guess the campaign to give Ifill the boot didn’t work.

9:03: The mic picked up, “Can I call you Joe?” He said, “You can.”

9:04: Biden is tying the Wall Street crisis to Bush policies, and touting Obama’s approach. Good.

9:05: McCain saw this coming two years ago? Didn’t we just learn the opposite?

9:06: McCain suspended? When did that happen?

9:08: Palin is talking to the camera, Biden is talking to Ifill.

9:10: “Never again.” It’s a little jarring in this context.

9:11: Hitting McCain on deregulation. Good. Making healthcare industry like banking industry. Good.

9:13: The 94 tax lie. How predictable. The $42,000 lie. Another predictable lie. Pathetic.

9:15: McCain flip-flopped on tobacco regulation. She’s still lying.

9:16: Biden has used the phrase “middle class” a lot. A real lot. Good.

9:17: She’s not middle class. She’s a millionaire.

9:18: Government-run healthcare? She’s still lying. I think I’m noticing a patten here.

9:20: Biden’s response on McCain’s ridiculous healthcare policy is pretty solid. “Ultimate Bridge to Nowhere.” Nice.

9:24: Palin undid federal tax breaks? What a neat trick.

9:27: Just like the Alaska debate, Palin knows how to avoid answering questions.

9:30: “We’re not giving energy companies tax breaks.” Wow, her lying is becoming pathological at this point.

9:31: “Cyclical” temperature changes. How absurd.

9:33: “If you don’t understand what the cause is, it’s impossible to come up with a solution.” Thank you, Joe Biden

9:37: Same-sex benefits. Biden gives a good, solid, progressive answer. Good for him. “It’s only fair.”

9:38: Palin doesn’t realize McCain has opposed civil unions, even at the state level.

9:40: “Exit strategy”? The surge isn’t an exit strategy.

9:40: The funding-the-troops lie. She’s obscene.

9:41: I’m glad Biden mentioned Maliki. It was a missed opportunity last Friday.

9:42: If Obama voted against the troops, McCain voted against the troops. Biden could have delivered that clearer, but he got it in there.

9:43: The funding-the-troops lie again. She’s disgusting. Literally.

9:44: McCain “dead wrong” about Iraq.

9:47: Biden’s answer on Pakistan/Afghanistan couldn’t be much better.

9:48: Palin is encouraging us to listen to Osama bin Laden. Not smart.

9:50: The former scretaries of state disagree with Palin. Does she understand that? Of course not. She’s painfully clueless.

9:51: Biden hitting McCain on Spain gaffe. Excellent.

9:54: Compare Biden’s substantive response on Israel to Palin’s. It’s like a teacher and a C student. Depth vs. fluff.

9:55: “Blame game”? “Looking backwards”? Is she a child?

9:56: “I haven’t heard….” Very strong.

9:57: It’s a minor point, but did she say “nucular”?

9:58: “Killing civilians” lie. Palin is quickly approaching Cheney-like levels of dishonesty.

9:59: Biden is taking on Palin very well on the McKiernan remarks from this morning. Good.

10:00: She keeps calling McKiernan “McClellan.” Oops.

10:03: Biden’s Darfur answer was solid, except for the odd Iraq tangent.

10:04: The funding-the-troops lie again. Where’s my Maalox….

10:07: McCain “knows how to win a war”? Since when?

10:09: “Reject the Bush Doctrine.” Good to get that phrase in there.

10:11: Biden is hitting the “more of the same” theme very, very well. And unlike Palin, he doesn’t sound like he’s reading talking points.

10:12: “Looking backwards again.” I’ve never seen such a fool on the national stage.

10:16: Fourth branch? She agrees with Cheney’s “flexibility.” In other words, more of the same.

10:18: Biden makes the obvious constitutional argument on the vice presidency, based on Article I. He’s just out classing her on every question.

10:19: The question was about her Achilles’ heel. Did she not hear what Ifill said?

10:21: Biden brings the personal/emotional to the table.

10:22: Can I just say that I have a lot more confidence in George W. Bush’s intellect, competence, and knowledge than Palin?

10:24: Not a maverick when it counts, and on things that matter. Good for Biden to pounce on this.

10:25: Bork! Good answer.

10:29: Is it me or has she made a lot of Reagan references?

10:32: “It’s time for America to get up together.” Not bad.

* * *

My initial reaction was that this debate will probably make no difference whatsoever. Biden was obviously sharper and more knowledgeable. Palin had obviously memorized a series of talking points she repeated over and over again.

Who won? For viewers who checked their heads at the door, I guess it was a toss-up. For anyone who cares about susbtance, it wasn’t close. Palin just kept repeating lies and nonsense, regardless of the question, and regardless of common sense. On point after point, Biden just out classed her. The two really didn’t belong on the same stage.

Will any of this matter? At first blush, I suspect not. Neither candidate committed any huge, humiliating mistakes, though I suspect the soundbite we’ll be hearing a lot tomorrow is: “How long have I been at this? Five Weeks?” Her repeated confusion about Gen. McKiernan may come up a bit, too.

I’ll have plenty of additional coverage in the morning. What’d you think?