Ed Morrissey on Debate Points

October 2, 2008

Ed Morrisey of HotAir

  • Sarah Palin: She has to stay aggressive with both Joe Biden and moderator Gwen Ifill.  She has to attack the assumptions behind the questions, as Ifill will attempt to box her into desired responses.  Biden will damn her with faint praise, being condescending while on the surface seeming courtly.  She needs to push back against that.  Most importantly, she needs to stop worrying about details and speak to themes and concepts, similar to what Barack Obama needed to do in his debate, and mostly failed.  Best attack point: Biden’s pork.
  • Joe Biden: He has a tougher assignment.  He has to give the appearance of jabbing while trying to throw haymakers.  Normally, I’d expect a man with Biden’s experience to attempt to drown Palin with details, but Biden has a habit of inventing those on the fly.  Would Ifill call him on that?  Doubtful, but the post-debate spin could get brutal.  He can’t attack on experience, either, given Obama’s own short record of service, and can’t get by with the Joe Sixpack routine, either.  He’ll want to press his advantage on foreign policy.  Best attack point: Foreign travel. :
  • I agree that attacking the assumptions is a key point. Sarah has been going with the flow as far as the questions that have been thrown her way.  She needs to rephrase the questions to her strengths. Again, 2006 debates dealt with her home territory and she destroyed them.  She can do it again tonight and take back some of those ceded votes.  She needs to speak directly to the Pennsylvania suburbs that can win this for us.  There are people out there who are passionate and we need them if we are going to win this.

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