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Aides Promise an Aggressive Palin in VP Debate

This photo provided by the Palin Campaign shows Republican vice presidential nominee and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, right, preparing for her first and only debate at the Sedona, Ariz., ranch of her running mate, Sen. John McCain, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2008. On the left is McCain-Palin campaign senior policy advisor Randall Scheunemann. (AP Photo/Palin Campaign)

By Juliet Eilperin
GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin plans to launch aggressive attacks against her Democratic opponent Joe Biden tomorrow night, her campaign aides said, in order to remind voters of why she became popular in her home state of Alaska.

"Governor Palin is eager for the opportunity to contrast her record of reform to the hollow rhetoric of a politician who has spent the bulk of his adult life inside the confines of Washington, D.C.," said Palin spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt. "Tomorrow night will address a critical question; which is more relevant to the office of the vice-presidency -- real-life results or Washington double-speak?"

Palin has spent the last two days preparing at John McCain's ranch complex in Sedona, Ariz., debating from an outdoor podium against McCain's senior foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann, who is playing Biden.

Several campaign aides, who asked not to be identified, tried yesterday to downplay expectations of Palin's upcoming performance.

"Governor Palin knows she's got some work to do," one aide said. "We're very much aware that Senator Biden has thirty-five years of experience debating on the Senate floor. It's something he's known for. She's going up against one of the best and most experienced debaters in the Democratic Party."

The campaign has worked to create a relaxed environment on the ranch, aides said, and the governor has prepared with a mix of written materials, oral briefings and practice sessions. Palin's husband and all of her children except for her two oldest, Track and Bristol, are with her in Sedona. One aide described it in an e-mail as "a different kind of prep for a different kind of candidate."

By Web Politics Editor  |  October 1, 2008; 5:04 PM ET
Categories:  Sarah Palin , The Debates  
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Wow! The spin of some of the folks commenting here is making me light-headed. Look, folks, Sarah Palin is no lightweight and no dunce. For all the slanders and innuendo against her - none of which amounts to a hill of beans - she is the genuine article, a natural leader who has risen from the PTA, local politics, an important state commission, and two eventful years as the governor of Alaska. Despite how the late-night comedians, Democrats all, portray her, she is not ignorant, stupid, deranged, or even the slightest bit wacky. She is, by most credible accounts, very smart, determined, practicle and honest to a fault. As they say, "let Palin be Palin." She will handle the bloviating and inherently dishonest Joe Biden, a man who at the drop of a hat will make up facts about himself, his record and even his education. Yes, Jo is a man that people like - a real "good 'ol boy." However, here is a man who never took on his own party or special interests in his 36-year career. A man who kisses the butts of every union boss he meets. His biggest hurdle: being honest.

Palin is a success story that almost everyone (except liberal elites, Hollywood millionaires, and entrenched Democrat lifers) can relate to. A true American story, a great and supportive family, and a record of accomplishment and integrity. Hopefully, the advisers have not polluted her natural gifts with too much minutae.

Although Biden will be able to make a hundred misstatements and gaffes tonight ("Oh, that's just Joe"), Sarah Palin's every work, mannerism and even her syntax will be parsed and analyzed by the usual suspects, who will undoubtedly call her "unfit," "dumb," and an "embarrassment." Count on it. However, to Mr. and Mrs. Average American, she will do just fine and they will see through the hollow attacks of the Left and their minions in the media, Saturday Night Live, and Letterman.

I will watch the debate with great interest just to see the liberals go nuts trying to pick her apart. I will enjoy seeing them flail around.

Posted by: billvolk | October 2, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

She'll be as aggressive as the script tells her to be aggressive. Her own performances in multiple interviews illustrate the point she's terrible on her feet, that she has almost no knowledge of the issues, and has no thoughts on her own in regards to how to address them. She did a great job during the convention as we all recall. She's fine when she doesn't have to comment off script.

Tonight's format is such that she won't find herself too pressed. Were this like the POTUS debates this would be over before it started. I suspect she'll be fine. Considering her recent performances she'll come out of this looking fantastic. Lets face it, when the bar is set to the level of Miss South Carolina it isn't exactly a challenge to cross.

Even though Ifill does have a conflict of interest with her book I have a few comments. 1.) she's very professional and will conduct an unbiased debate as she has done in the past. 2.) No matter who the moderator is the right would be whining about it because lets face it, they'd be asking Sarah some tough questions...and apparently its not fair to ask her questions that would be asked of any other candidate...and apparently they are out to get her when she stumbles. It couldn't be the case the Palin is a dud, that Palin herself didn't perform to expectations, its the media's fault. The only thing the Republican's bring to the table are excuses for why they screwed up and continue to do so.

Posted by: fortheclueless | October 2, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75-year old Texas rancher whose hand was caught in a gate while working cattle, a doctor struck up a conversation. Eventually they got around to talking about Barack Obama.

The old rancher said, 'Well, ya know, Obama is a post turtle.'

Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a post turtle was.

The old rancher said, 'When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a post turtle.'

The old rancher saw a puzzled look on the doctor's face, so he continued to explain. 'You know she didn't get up there by herself, she doesn't belong up there, she doesn't know what to do while she is up there, and you just wonder what kind of dumb ass put her up there to begin with.

Posted by: Scott25 | October 2, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

What Sarah Palin needs to say tonight is this:

My critics have challenged my experience level for the position of Vice President, here is what I have to say about that:

Ronald Regan was a governor, so was Bill Clinton... I am the Governor of Alaska, the largest state in the united states, and the only state that borders two foreign countries.. I would challenge that I am as qualified as either of them.

Barack Obama is a first term Senator, with the same economic policies of Jimmy Carter... he has never held an executive position other than his own public relations campaign.

I am not running for President, I am running for Vice President... I believe that the experience level of the presidential candidates is much more important than that of the Vice President.

Posted by: Scott25 | October 2, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I hope she does attack. Just what Americans love -- someone with no credentials, experience, or knowledge ripping on someone else. Considering how McCain's campaign has been run, the Palin selection, her performance, his earlier bankruptcy, and his stumping in Iowa this week all reveal a shallow, impulsive, erratic, and angry old man.

Posted by: vfazio | October 2, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

a little levity.

While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75-year old Texas rancher whose hand was caught in a gate while working cattle, a doctor struck up a conversation. Eventually they got around to talking about Sarah Palin.

The old rancher said, 'Well, ya know, Palin is a post turtle.'

Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a post turtle was.

The old rancher said, 'When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a post turtle.'

The old rancher saw a puzzled look on the doctor's face, so he continued to explain. 'You know she didn't get up there by herself, she doesn't belong up there, she doesn't know what to do while she is up there, and you just wonder what kind of dumb ass put her up there to begin with.

Posted by: lips-are-moving | October 2, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Palin "Air Head" Barbie is the real joke. Reminds me of the question "where's the beef?" (or moose in this case).

Posted by: friendlyfire1 | October 2, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Q: Who is the joke?
A: Barrack Hussein Obama

He was in the Senate only 140 days before running for President. It's no wonder he thinks there are 57 states. (Hint to Barrack Hussein Obama, there are 57 Muslim countries but only 50 US states).

But then again, he does have the endorsement of people like Wright (racist), Rezko (crook), Ayers (terrorist) and Raines (crook).

Posted by: DrHolliday | October 2, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Palin is a joke. Can you imagine what the Republicans would be saying if Obama picked someone of such low qualifications?

Posted by: taid | October 2, 2008 2:47 AM | Report abuse

The comment writer below who incriminates herself or himself by writing about "gay Nazis" (does s/he know Hitler sent gay people to the concentration campss?) is exactly the reason why I shall not be voting for Palin.

Posted by: TM303 | October 2, 2008 1:32 AM | Report abuse

I have no great brief for Palin, but I find the anti-Palin comments here both amusing and distressing. Amusing because they're so true to form (as in elections past, the "liberal" crowd seems to believe than anybody who doesn't blindly accept their line is something of a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal). Distressing because they show absolutely no willingness to concede anything to Palin beyond the fact that she's a female, and even that seems to be in doubt to some (like Gloria Steinem and the witches of NOW.

Experience is a red herring and absolutely without meaning. While it can be argued that Palin will be a "heartbeat away" from the Presidency, it can also be argued that she will at least have time to "read in" to her role as McCain's understudy/replacement - weeks, months, years, who knows. Equally, it can be argued that Obama will need to hit the ground running, with little or no time for OJT. Truth? Truth is that _whoever_ is elected and his VP will begin having daily briefings the day after the election - 2 months of immersion before taking the oath. The issue becomes, then, whether the candidates are able to learn what they need to know, not what they know or don't know at some particular instant.

The "debate"? Comes down to who's able to keep his/her cool and avoid foot-in-mouth disease and who's best able to deliver the glittering generalities that modern politics has adopted as its center-piece. Face it, save for whatever crumbs the President gives him, the VP has no role in policy or in administration. The only defined role for the VP is as President of the Senate and backstop for the President in case of death of disability. Even Joe Biden should be capable of that.

Posted by: rmelson | October 1, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Palin will the the debate if she goes topless.


Posted by: rrannikko | October 1, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Press Release:

The John Mccain campaign has reportedly stated that Sarah Palin is considering dropping off the ticket and going back to school for continuing education. This came after Ms.Palin conceded in her continuing interview with CBS News that she did not know of any specific US Supreme Court case she disagreed with other then Roe v. Wade.

Ms.Palin was reported as saying tonight "Yea, it's pretty sad. In my 6 years in college, I thought that I had learned about everything I needed to know to be successful. But it turns out that knowing how to hunt and fish simply isn't enough to lead the country. Jesus -- oops, I didn't mean to use his name in vain -- I don't even know why the judges wear robes. And stary decisive -- is that when they stare at those trial lawyers who lie to them? And certiorary -- is that when they certify how dumb those trial lawyers are?"

Posted by: prantzer | October 1, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

It's remarkable how aggressive mentally ill socialists are going after Gov. Palin and Sen. McCain. Well, Gov. Palin is well educated and she's doing a tremendous job -- something one cannot say about the socialist hypocrites of the media and their brainwashed parrots --, and Sen. McCain knows, other than Sen. Obama, how to land an aircraft by night on an aircraft carrier.

However, the retarded socialist media propagandists -- they are the same than the gay NAZI Julius Streicher --, are just a bunch of losers. That's why they hate Gov. Palin and Sen. McCain so much. Indeed, it's funny to see how these socialist fanatics make a fool of themselves. That's why they are not able to stop Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin.

Posted by: loan4ever | October 1, 2008 10:27 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the people of this country need a female George W. Bush at this time. We need real answers to real questions (not the BS answers that both Bush and now, Palin, are giving the people).

The questions have been very clear (and yet she talks in a circles). Anyone who has ever dealt with a bad used car salesperson can see right through this tactic.

I have respect for many other 'qualified' candidates in the Republican party but this candidate is being shoved down our throats.

Posted by: ssanford00 | October 1, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse

I love Sarah Palin. She is a very capable leader and I think she will quiet easily win the debate. Go Sarah a lot of women do support you and are behind you all the way.

Posted by: kenellio | October 1, 2008 9:35 PM | Report abuse

palin is an embarrassment to every single american .. melanoma when it rears its ugly head after several bouts with it is usually deadly ( about 10 months) so this is how mccain has put his " country first... sticking us with a total moron that cannot think beyond what is literally crammed in her head for the debate or what she reads off the teleprompter .. if u noticed last nighjt mccain accompanied palin to couric interview and jumped in when she was going down for the 3rd time..
as an indepepndent who blogs for independents across our land .. palin is toast.. independents saw her and realized she was a stunt and blew her off. by 3 to one margin in todays internal polling in ALL battleground states so let the debate begin.. bidne doesnt have to push her over the edge she will self destruct befor our eyes ... and then she can limp to tjhe finish line momentum lives for Obama - Bidne '08

Posted by: whatbull | October 1, 2008 9:31 PM | Report abuse

From the transcript of the 4th installment of Couric/Palin:
Asked about whether man's activities contribute to global warming.

Palin: You know there are - there are man's activities that can be contributed to the issues that we're dealing with now, these impacts. I'm not going to solely blame all of man's activities on changes in climate. Because the world's weather patterns are cyclical. And over history we have seen change there. But kind of doesn't matter at this point, as we debate what caused it. The point is: it's real; we need to do something about it.

First --"there are man's activities that can be contributed to the issues that we're dealing with now"
That doesn't make any sense.
Second --"But kind of doesn't matter at this point, as we debate what caused it"
Whether you believe global warming is manmade or not, this is the MOST important consideration as to what we do next. If global warming is manmade, then we have to do everything we can to stop contributing to it. If one believes it is not manmade, we need not stop human activities that some claim contribute to global warming.
She doesn't demonstrate an understanding of the issues.
Every time someone probes gently behind the veneer of the memorized slogans, you get ignorance. Valuing intelligence is not elitist.

Posted by: NCKW | October 1, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse

I have been a Hillary supporter for 16 years and Palin sounds like a "Barbie Bimbo" to me.....I can't believe that so many supposedly educated women can not see through this charade put upon us by the McCain campaing. I hear the same kind of nonsense at my Bunco group from other uninformed soccer moms but THEY aren't a heartbeat away from the presidency of the USA. If she becomes president, she will be eaten up by heads of state as they are all laughing now. Sure, McCain could live all the way through a 4 year term but we know that's all he'll do and then we'll have to go through this mess again. To put her anywhere in the same catagory, as Indria Gandi, Margaret Thacher, Golda Maier, Buto --- it's all absolute nonsence!
Her acceptance speach was scripted and gave the boast his campaign needed, but then we've learned so much since then oh, if only the McCain camp had known this much. PLEASE women of the USA think about more than the chromasomes when choosing a leader

Posted by: phylb123 | October 1, 2008 8:38 PM | Report abuse

she is gonna have to come out swinging and on offense. she has little to no substance, so it is really the only chance she has. if she can get biden off balance or off his game early, she can rely on him to talk himself into trouble with that mouth of his.

Posted by: funkey | October 1, 2008 8:25 PM | Report abuse

One group praying for a McCain/Palin win....Comedians!!!!

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | October 1, 2008 8:08 PM | Report abuse

I want cayote barbie to come out with feigned toughness. I would love to see her verbally knocked to the ground, dragged away to the cave by her hair kicking and screaming.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | October 1, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't be at all surprised if Biden has to have his Depends refreshed during the debate with Palin tomorrow.

Posted by: concerned22 | October 1, 2008 7:48 PM

That's right, ageism....keep it coming, hopefully that bimbo stewardess will be just as offensive.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | October 1, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

If Palin verbally field strips several prominent Democrat swine during the debate tomorrow, you can be assured that all but the Kenyan Krazies Kontingent will find it gratifying.

Posted by: concerned22 | October 1, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Head of State

Tuesday, September 30, 2008
McCain and Couric Spar on Gotcha Journalism

COURIC: Over the weekend, Gov. Palin, you said the U.S. should absolutely launch cross-border attacks from Afghanistan into Pakistan to, quote, "stop the terrorists from coming any further in." Now, that's almost the exact position that Barack Obama has taken and that you, Sen. McCain, have criticized as something you do not say out loud. So, Gov. Palin, are you two on the same page on this?

MCCAIN: Now, just a minute, Katie. I have to step in here. That's another example of the media's "gotcha journalism"...

COURIC: But, it was a question from a citizen. How is a citizen asking a candidate a question an example of what you call "gotcha journalism?"

MCCAIN: Because it was hard, Katie.

We don't want Gov. Palin to be asked questions, unless she is prepared for them. When she is prepared, as she will be before the debate, she sounds intelligent, knowledgeable and feisty. But when she has not been prepared, she sounds lost and incoherent.

We can't have people asking her questions when she has not had time to be prepared with an answer.

COURIC: But, Sen. McCain, I have to say, you are 72-years old. Actuarial preditions show that if you were to be elected, Gov. Palin would have a 1 in 5 chance of actually becoming President. These are perilous times--unprecedented crises in financial markets, tensions across a wide range of critical foreign policy arenas. Shouldn't we have a Vice President, and a potential President, who actually understands these issues, beyond the preparation necessary for a debate?

Here is her response to a question on the economy, a critical issue, you would agree, Sen. McCain:

COURIC: Why isn't it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families who are struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries; allow them to spend more and put more money into the economy instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?

PALIN: That's why I say I, like every American I'm speaking with, were ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health-care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping the—it's got to be all about job creation, too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health-care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And trade, we've got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, scary thing. But one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today, we've got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that.

COURIC: That answer, Sen. McCain, as noted by Fareed Zakaria, is incoherent.

MCCAIN: Yes. (nodding his head).

COURIC: Well, isn't it actually important that a potential President actually comprehend issues? That is, beyond debate preparation?

MCCAIN: No, Katie. That's what I mean by "gotcha journalism". It's obvious from these prior interviews that Palin has little to no comprehension of fiscal policy and economics. For heaven's sake, she received a "D" in macroeconomics in college! And, as I've said in the past, I have little understanding of economic issues myself.

No, what's important, Katie, is that she sound like she understands the issues. In the debate. If she is sufficiently prepared, she can give an illusion of understanding the issues--even if she is only giving answers with the prepared and practiced spontaneity and content necessary to give that illusion force.

Given that the bar is set at the lowest standard imaginable, Katie, if she accompanies that performance with sufficient charm, we believe that media will follow, into focusing on the change from that low standard, and on those superficial entertainment values--you know, Katie, (McCain smiles through tight lips and squinting eyes and moves his hands up and down)--"She certainly appears to be more confident tonight; she appears more poised, coherent, humorous"--rather than her readiness to be President from an objective standard. After all, using the more important standard of Presdidential capability, she has already demonstrated that she is unprepared to be President.

So, Katie, we want them to focus on that difference, on her debate preparation, rather than on her actual well-demonstrated Presidential unreadiness. And that's what I mean by "gotcha journalism."

KATIE: But if I understand you correctly, Sen. McCain, you actually believe that it's not important that she understand the issues actually facing the nation...

MCCAIN: Right.

COURIC: On which many people's very jobs, health and life will rely at this critical time...


COURIC: And that all that really matters is creating a standard so low that she actually is rewarded for her widely seen and repeatedly demonstrated lack of knowledge and understanding. That we would be using what is essentially a remedial standard for Presidential capability--rather than one of actual capability.

Sen. McCain, you seem to be actually suggesting that we should decide that she is ready for the Presidency, simply because, after preparation, she has improved. Even though just days earlier, time after time, she was unable to give coherent answers on these subjects.

No one can gain Presidential-level understanding in days. And in the office of the Presidency, with its intense crises and unforseeable events, she will not be prepared for each unpredictable day, as she was for the debate.

Yet you expect media to focus on these values, rather than actual readiness to be President. That's what you mean by "gotcha journalism"?

MCCAIN: Exactly. And they will. Once again, Katie, I would say to the media: Once again--we "gotcha" to lower the bar. We "gotcha" to set expectations far below those actually required for a President. We "gotcha" to focus on characteristics unrelated to Presidential capability, and to ignore her statements on these issues made only days earlier--as if a few days of debate preparation can erase a glaring and dangerous actual lack of knowledge and preparedness. Yes, indeed--we "gotcha" (smiles).

COURIC: How can you expect the media to fall for that?

MCCAIN: It worked for Bush.

Head of State

Posted by: caraprado1 | October 1, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't be at all surprised if Biden has to have his Depends refreshed during the debate with Palin tomorrow.

Posted by: concerned22 | October 1, 2008 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Each night on Couric she's gotten worse.

Tonight was the worst yet. Parker's right. She's way over her head. She's ignorant, incoherent, and imbecilic.

I'm done.

Posted by: info42 | October 1, 2008 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Palin and the McCain campaign must know that if she comes in ranting at the mouth and sneering as her boss did with Obama, all womanhood sensitivities will fly out the window, as the people will expect Biden to stand up for his own.

If it comes to a fight "pitbull with lipstick" vs. pitbull, she is going to be way out of her league and way over her head. She will get beat and really bad and she will not be able to fall back on the barbie doll nicey miss thing bit. She will get NO sympathy from the American people.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | October 1, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Before anybody flies off the handle frothing about Sarah Palin's level of political experience or her personal characteristics, they should consider that virtually anything she could possibly say in her upcoming debate with Biden would be more honest and cerebral than the egregiously false stories religiously peddled about Palin by the reprehensible MSM regarding her past party affiliations, youngest son, rape kits, attitudes toward science & religion et al.

What I'm getting at is that compared to the aggregate of her deranged detractors, Sarah Palin is a paragon of honesty, integrity and intelligence.

Sarah Palin has an order of magnitude more executive level experience than the Kenyan, for instance.

Posted by: concerned22 | October 1, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Based on the Couric interview, it appears that 95 percent of the US population is smarter than Sarah Palin.

I'm a Republican, but there is no way on God's Green Earth that I would vote for this idiot as the VP.

Posted by: OverworkedUnderpaid | October 1, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

... More than half of the whopping $426.9 million Barack Obama has raised has come from small donors whose names the Obama campaign won't disclose... Talk about spin! What this means is that Obama has raised a record amount of money from individual donors, in amounts so small they won't have any untoward influence. Now the Republicans are spinnning that the VP debate moderator THEY APPROVED is biased. Finally, how can Palin go on the attack when the woman cannot even speak a coherent sentence!

Posted by: boaster | October 1, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Look, the girl got picked by McCain... what is she going to say... No I can't do it...I give up? I wanna go home? Nope...that is not Palin. She will fight this to the end. She will not go down without a fight and that is what makes her so great... I will be rooting for her tomorrow!

Posted by: cruzntx | October 1, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Gwen Ifill Should Step Down

Even though the McCain campaign approved her to moderate the VP debate long after they should have been aware of her book, Gwen Ifill ought to step down.

She is not the story here and she is becoming a distraction. Though I have no doubt about her ability to moderate the debate fairly and without bias, the perception that any question could be tainted should not exist. Her book, “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama,” whose sales, in part, depend on Obama winning the presidency, can legitimately raise those questions.

I respect Ifill and PBS is my main television news source, but surely there are other serious, non-partisan journalists who can step in at the last minute. Jim Lehrer would do fine.

Posted by: nahnopenotquite | October 1, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Thursday will go down in history as DOOMSDAY for the McCain campaign.

McCain will wish he could just 'punch out', like he always did in flight training, before the debate is half over.

Posted by: FivePlaneMcCain | October 1, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

How about this new report from the Center for Responsive Politics:

More than half of the whopping $426.9 million Barack Obama has raised has come from small donors whose names the Obama campaign won't disclose.

And questions have arisen about millions more in foreign donations the Obama campaign has received that apparently have not been vetted as legitimate.

Unlike the McCain campaign, which has made its complete donor database available online, the Obama campaign has not identified donors for nearly half the amount he has raised. Federal law does not "require" the campaigns to identify donors who give less than $200 during the election cycle. However, it does require that campaigns calculate running totals for each donor and report them once they go beyond the $200 mark.

Surprisingly, the great majority of Obama donors never break the $200 threshold.

“Contributions that come under $200 aggregated per person are not listed,” said Bob Biersack, a spokesman for the FEC. “They don’t appear anywhere, so there’s no way of knowing who they are.”

The FEC breakdown of the Obama campaign has identified a staggering $222.7 million as coming from contributions of $200 or less. Only $39.6 million of that amount comes from donors the Obama campaign has identified.

It is the largest pool of unidentified money that has ever flooded into the U.S. election system, before or after the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reforms of 2002.

The rise of the Internet as a campaign funding tool raises new questions about the adequacy of FEC requirements on disclosure. In pre-Internet fundraising, almost all political donations, even small ones, were made by bank check, leaving a paper trail and limiting the amount of fraud.

But credit cards used to make donations on the Internet have allowed for far more abuse.

“While FEC practice is to do a post-election review of all presidential campaigns, given their sluggish metabolism, results can take three or four years,” said Ken Boehm, the chairman of the conservative National Legal and Policy Center.

Already, the FEC has noted unusual patterns in Obama campaign donations among donors who have been disclosed because they have gone beyond the $200 minimum.

Will the WaPo look into this??

Posted by: MarkInAustin | October 1, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

well, it's not like they can teach her to be intelligent so they will capitalize on teaching her the Rove attack mode. They hope it will keep her from continuing to reveal how woefully inadequate she is - for a high school debate much less a VP candidate.

Posted by: AndrearKline | October 1, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

She's going to be fine. She should and will attack Obama on everything. If she gets a question on the economic crisis, she will pivot and attack Obama on the topic. If she gets a question on Iraq, she will pivot and attack Obama on the topic. This would put Biden on the defensive, where he would have to constantly refute her claims and protect his nominee. If Palin gets into a substantive policy debate, she will lose. She has neither the intellect nor the credentials to survive that kind of debate. (At a minimum, Obama has the intellect)

For his part, Biden needs to stay cool and constantly bring his answers back to the Obama/Biden platform. He can't attack Palin's incompetence or intransigence.

I don't think we'll see a moose in the headlights moment from Palin, but I also don't think we'll hear anything resembling intelligent discourse.

Posted by: PDiddy | October 1, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

We've already assumed Palin will be "aggressive." That's her one note. What about "knowledgeable"?

Posted by: roje | October 1, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

She has been nothing but aggressive, demeaning, snarky, sarcastic and juvenile while demanding "deference", if anybody needs to learn the meaning of the word it's her.

Just who does she think she is?

Posted by: JRM2 | October 1, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Aggressive? Oh wow, that should be interesting. But I guess it will be EXACTLY the OPPOSITE (reverse psychology via the press/web)- are they trying to get Biden wound up to stick the proverbial foot in his mouth?

Posted by: davidmwe | October 1, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

I sure hope I'm proven wrong, but I think she's doomed. Doomed.

Posted by: info42 | October 1, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

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