He Said, She Said
There has been so much hype preceding tonight’s vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin, that I am not sure what else there is to say in advance of the actual event, but here goes. To some extent, I expect both candidates to focus on Barack Obama and John McCain, as that is a time-honored role for vice presidential nominees to play, and it is ultimately where the race will be won in the end. But there has also been some buzz out of the McCain camp in the past few days that Palin will go directly after Biden. At this point, anything that keeps the focus off of her post-convention troubles is probably a reasonable forensic strategy, and tonight’s tightly controlled format will encourage scripted attacks.
There are of course a few potential pitfalls for both candidates to avoid. Based on what we have seen from Palin in interviews thus far, if she attempts to drop names or policy specifics, in order to demonstrate greater depth on the issues, she runs the risk of seeming forced or over-prepped. Biden simply needs to resist his penchant for saying things that are bizarrely out of context. It is in the midst of those confessional moments when Biden tries to level with the American people that he gets himself into the most difficulty. Given the substantial amount of time both candidates have spent sequestered in preparation for this evening, however, we may end up essentially watching dueling scripted campaign events. And then, let the spinning begin.

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