Friday, October 03, 2008

5:13 PM

US Vice-Presidential Debate

This is the first and only debate between the US Vice-Presidential candidates, Democratic Joseph Biden and Republican Sarah Palin. If you have not seen the first Presidential Debate, you can take a look at my earlier post.


Full 1.5h video.

My first comment? This debate was very poor.

Okay, traditionally, VP debates rarely affects the outcome of the presidential election. After all, the VP rarely shows his face to the public once in office. This changed when the current VP Dick Cheney opened his mouth more than was traditionally accepted in Bush's first term.

Fast foward two terms now, we are seeing for the first time in US history where the candidates are so diverse. Two experienced white men, a young African-American and a young woman. With the above, VP debates though still unlikely to afffect the outcome, has become hot issue for political pundits and the American public alike.

For Palin, after listening to just a few minutes, I felt she was not giving the debate the seriousness it deserves. Throughout the debate, she used several informal terms like "darn right" and "betcha". There are no rules against word usage, but it only amplifies people's perceptions that she is not ready. Her tendency to evade questions was very evident. On topics like the economy and foreign policy, she tries her best. If she can't, she likes to take refuge in her pet topics of energy and what she did in her "huge" state of Alaska. If you are the VP or in the freak scenario, president, you cannot shrug of problems if you dun like it.

For Biden, more composed, but he sounded as if he was some high-class Washington elite. He likes to use numbers and voting track records for his and McCain's to prove a point. Yes, they are true, but the people on the ground want to hear how much they will be affected, not how much you intend to throw at a problem with unknown repercussions on them. Politics is about the ability to reach out to the masses and communicate what you can do in a simplified manner. Not throw up a whole lot of mumbo-jumbo and expect people to understand. Palin in this regard of public relations, does a much better job.

Those are the bad points. The good thing is that both candidates are now more specific on their policies rather that adopting a more general stance in the first presidential debate. There is more engagement. Maybe because this is the less influential VP debate, the candidates can afford to step out more often from their comfort zone.

Otherwise, this is the second of four debates in the run-up before the US presidential elections. Really exciting huh?

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