Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

VIDEO: Fix on the Debate

Here's my video breakdown of last night's debate between Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Delaware Sen. Joe Biden. It's part of a terrific new page at we are calling the "Debate Decoder" that has everything you need to know -- and might have missed -- from last night's debate.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 3, 2008; 11:11 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Showdown in St. Louis: First Thoughts
Next: Sarah Palin, St. Louis and 2012


Great job Chris, that recap was succinct and a good display of impartiality on your part, I believe.

Posted by: drinkofjoy | October 5, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse



Why would an American be so irreponsible as to place this nation at RISK by voting for some INEXPERIENCED AFFIRMATIVE ACTION guy whose only economic or business experience is buying cocaine ???

I feel sorry for all of you.

You apparently do not care about this country's future or your children if you would like to place this great nation in DANGER by voting to put in charge such inexperienced person. I honestly believe the Obama people are being irresponsible with this Country.

The position is one of responsibility. The position is not one for on-the-job training.




Posted by: 37thandOStreet | October 4, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Let's get one thing straight: wall street was deregulated under CLINTON in 1999.

This entire disaster is a result of the banks and insurance companies wishing to keep up with the crazy returns which the internet companies appeared to be producing for investors.

In a failed attempt to keep up with the internet companies, the banks and insurance companies had their lobbyists secure the repeal of the Glass-Steagal Act which led to this week's events.



Bush's Father During the first Bush Term in the early 90s "If you want this economy to look like Arkansas, Elect Bill Clinton and see what happens to our economy."




Posted by: 37thandOStreet | October 4, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse


The 'folksy' lady proved that you and all Obama's media slaves can't change reality with your idiotic writing!

Keep on spining in favor of the Obscure Prophet until the end!

Posted by: trace-sc | October 3, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Well, I am so sorry that Hillary is not in the VP or P mix. Competence, Experience and Smarts.

Posted by: crrobin | October 3, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I copied the transcript of the debate into an MS Word doc and did a word search (OK, maybe I'm a geek). Palin referred to herself and/or McCain as "Maverick" 6 times throughout the debate. Biden used the word 9 times when he finally called her out on it in one of his responses towards the end.

Does she not remember the movie Top Gun? She would have been in college when it was a popular blockbuster.

Maverick (played by another religious zealot, Tom Cruise) was the reckless, dangerous character who took unnecessary chances all the time and dragged Goose along for the ride. They ended up in a flat spin over the ocean, Goose pushed the eject button, hit his head on the canopy and died. Of course, Maverick came out of it fine, almost choked when tested again in battle, but then came out a "hero." Maverick's heroism must have been small consolation to poor dead Goose's widow and son. I hope that America does allow itself to be Goose to their "Mavericks."

Posted by: VirginiaHoya | October 3, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

USA3 whines:

as soon as the palin buzz dies down,
the poor dem's will nothing to talk
about, no experience, no vision,
no jobs,

LOL> Sounds kinda like you...
nothing to talk about,
no experience,
no vision,
no job,
no Mama.

we'll light a candle for you during Bama's inauguration.

Posted by: wpost4112 | October 3, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

as soon as the palin buzz dies down,
the poor dem's will nothing to talk
about, no experience, no vision,
no jobs,

Posted by: USA3 | October 3, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Poor Zouk.

All dressed up and no inauguration to go to.

Ohio going Obama.

Posted by: wpost4112 | October 3, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Ifill was a terrible choice as a moderator who did a horrifically bad job.

All blacks should be removed from any forum that is intended to be non-partisan - especeially a forum such as a public debate.

Posted by: mgd1 | October 3, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Palin came off sounding like a pre-programmed robot who was reading talking points off of her note cards.

I'm willing to bet that even she couldn't make sense of what she was saying.

Posted by: DrainYou | October 3, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Bailout bill passed by the House.

Now just a matter of our wonderful Prez inking in his signature.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 3, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Here is the plan to win the election, hiden by the Left wing media until now:

Voter Fraud In Indiana County Rejects Large Number Of Invalid Voter Registrations - ACORN Cited Lake County Republican Chairman John Curley wants a federal investigation into hundreds of voter registrations bearing fictitious signatures or the names of dead and underage people.

Virginia Governor Restores Voting Rights To Felons Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine has granted voting rights to nearly 1,500 felons this year, bumping up the voter rolls ahead of next month's presidential election Washington Times

Teachers Campaigning For Obama The teachers union has been handing out thousands of Barack Obama campaign buttons to its members, sparking a clampdown by education brass.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | October 3, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

FBI Raids Obama Friend's Home The FBI on Wednesday raided the county offices of a former Illinois state senator who is a poker-playing buddy of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama.

just another in the long line of criminal friends. the press replies - so what, all Libs are criminals. we don't want to tell the folks. Please don't mention that Pelosi pays her husband some $100K out of her PAC.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | October 3, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Yelling "Fire' Insurers Plunge On Reid's 'Bankrupt' Remark Comments from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid about a 'major insurance company' on the verge of bankruptcy send already hard-hit stocks sharply lower

this is what passes for Dem leadership.

then we have PeLousy's partisan schreeching.

Next there is Obama's promise to invade Pakistan, where we are busy bombing civilians and torturing babies.

top it off with Rangels not paying taxes, Franks, wrecking Fannie oversight, dodd's complete out-to-lunch oversight, schumer's bank runs, and you have a glimpse of the first two years of the Obama admin will look like. It will have voters thinking back to the good old days under Carter.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | October 3, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

King of zouk:

What about cities with growth with democratic mayors for the past 20 Seattle, LA (I think one R in there) San Francisco, Denver?

Washington State hasn't had a Republican governor for some time either.

Posted by: Cyclopsina | October 3, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

The Fix should type more and talk less.

Posted by: bsimon1 | October 3, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

"Joe Biden was informative and respectful throughout the debate. He had a good command of facts."

very funny

Senator Joe Biden lied at least 14 times during the vice presidential debate according to those counting at John McCain’s presidential headquarters.

1. TAX VOTE: Biden said McCain voted “the exact same way” as Obama to increase taxes on Americans earning just $42,000, but McCain DID NOT VOTE THAT WAY.

2. AHMEDINIJAD MEETING: Joe Biden lied when he said that Barack Obama never said that he would sit down unconditionally with Mahmoud Ahmedinijad of Iran. Barack Obama did say specifically, and Joe Biden attacked him for it.

3. OFFSHORE OIL DRILLING: Biden said, “Drill we must.” But Biden has opposed offshore drilling and even compared offshore drilling to “raping” the Outer Continental Shelf.”

4. TROOP FUNDING: Joe Biden lied when he indicated that John McCain and Barack Obama voted the same way against funding the troops in the field. John McCain opposed a bill that included a timeline, that the President of the United States had already said he would veto regardless of it’s passage.

5. OPPOSING CLEAN COAL: Biden says he’s always been for clean coal, but he just told a voter that he is against clean coal and any new coal plants in America and has a record of voting against clean coal and coal in the U.S. Senate.

6. ALERNATIVE ENERGY VOTES: According to, Biden is exaggerating and overstating John McCain’s record voting for alternative energy when he says he voted against it 23 times.

7. HEALTH INSURANCE: Biden falsely said McCain will raise taxes on people's health insurance coverage -- they get a tax credit to offset any tax hike. Independent fact checkers have confirmed this attack is false

8. OIL TAXES: Biden falsely said Palin supported a windfall profits tax in Alaska -- she reformed the state tax and revenue system, it's not a windfall profits tax.

9. AFGHANISTAN / GEN. MCKIERNAN COMMENTS: Biden said that top military commander in Iraq said the principles of the surge could not be applied to Afghanistan, but the commander of NATO's International Security Assistance Force Gen. David D. McKiernan said that there were principles of the surge strategy, including working with tribes, that could be applied in Afghanistan.

10. REGULATION: Biden falsely said McCain weakened regulation -- he actually called for more regulation on Fannie and Freddie.

11. IRAQ: When Joe Biden lied when he said that John McCain was “dead wrong on Iraq”, because Joe Biden shared the same vote to authorize the war and differed on the surge strategy where they John McCain has been proven right.

12. TAX INCREASES: Biden said Americans earning less than $250,000 wouldn’t see higher taxes, but the Obama-Biden tax plan would raise taxes on individuals making $200,000 or more.

13. BAILOUT: Biden said the economic rescue legislation matches the four principles that Obama laid out, but in reality it doesn’t meet two of the four principles that Obama outlined on Sept. 19, which were that it include an emergency economic stimulus package, and that it be part of “part of a globally coordinated effort with our partners in the G-20.”

14. REAGAN TAX RATES: Biden is wrong in saying that under Obama, Americans won't pay any more in taxes then they did under Reagan.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | October 3, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I think Joe Biden was informative and respectful throughout the debate. He had a good command of facts. He was firm without taking any cheap shots. He was genial.

I thought Sarah Palin was a beauty contestant. I thought she was auditioning for a television job instead of the Vice Presidency. She showed confidence and composure (no implosion, thank goodness for her), but her bright, smiling demeanor showed that she took joy in discussing some of the most serious issues of the day. She lacked gravity and a strong knowledge base. And she avoided answering a good number of questions.

IMO the only people Sarah Palin convinced last night were John McCain supporters who were starting to quail (wondering, understandably, why their candidate hadn't chosen Romney instead.)

More analysis of the debate can be found on
Illini Family Politics.

Only Biden had the ability to sway votes last night. All Palin could do was stop the bleeding...

Posted by: J_Kelly | October 3, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Palin "won" by not making a complete fool out of herself (again).

But Biden won.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | October 3, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

A recent list of the ten U.S. cities with the highest poverty rates shows that these major municipalities have one thing in common. And just what is that one thing that connects them? It’s Democratic leadership, my friends. Cleveland hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1989, Cincinnati hasn’t had one since 1984, Detroit since 1961, Buffalo since ’54, Philadelphia since ’52 and St. Louis since ‘49. It’s been over a hundred years for Newark and Milwaukee. Miami and El Paso have never elected a Republican mayor. Is it merely an odd coincidence? I don’t think so.

the idea that Libs will fix the economic mess they delivered has got to be the most laughable joke DC has seem for some time.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | October 3, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

"I think we can now go back to ignoring the VP as is a long tradition in DC."

Well, Cheney is being ignored now and I'm sure the next one will be as well.

But as I've been saying for a month now. The big danger of not allowing her to tell her own narrative is that other people write the narrative for her. And it won't necessarily be the people who the McCain campaign wants to write it.

But McCain made this bed and he needs to lie in it. He needs to use Palin for what she is, someone who can get the base riled up, and forget about what she isn't, a competent leader who will attract independents.

At this point, McCain isn't going to win on the basis of one or two battleground states. Obama has 260 votes even if you exclude the tossup states. He has too many potential targets to vault him past 270. McCain must do something to change the national mood to something in his favor. THEN he can figure out where he can get his 270 from.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 3, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone have a count on how many of the questions Palin actually answered?

List the questions. List what the answers were, as opposed to the irrelevant talking points.

Posted by: F_L_Palmer | October 3, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I think we can now go back to ignoring the VP as is a long tradition in DC. The press will have to find something else to distract from their candidates weakness.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | October 3, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Good analysis! What did you think of the moderator bringing up an arcane reference to VP Cheney? It seemed she was trying to trap Gov. Palin and tie McCain/Palin to the current administration just like the ticket she supports wants to do.

She also misled the public on Henry Kissinger's position on talking to rogue foreign leaders AT THE PRESIDENTIAL LEVEL, which Mr. Kissinger opposed.

He wanted talks at the Secretary of State level or lower. Sen. Obama wanted talks at the presidential level without preconditions and was caught by Sen. Clinton who questioned Sen. Obama's readiness to be president.

Sen. Clinton famously said that she and Sen. McCain were ready to be president; but that Sen. Obama only had a speech he gave before he was a US Senator.

Joe Biden also said Sen. Obama was not prepared to be president.

Why is their less scrutiny of the top of the ticket supported by most of the mainstream press; but much more and mean spirited scrutiny of Gov. Sarah Palin who is running for the second spot? Perhaps I answered my own question.

Did last night's debate show that Gov. Palin is more qualified to be vice-president than Sen. Obama is to be vice-president?

Sarah Palin is Mr. Smith goes to Washington. Just like John McCain is the only one on either ticket who has actually fought for us, Sarah Palin is the only one who is really an agent of change and a breath of fresh air!

Which scares much of the media and scary feminists.

Posted by: Xanadu3 | October 3, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

The Debate Decoder is a nice feature. It's far easier to read than the straight transcript, since it's sorted by question.

My only complaint is that there isn't enough commentary! The Fact Checker stuff would be interesting, but I read that earlier this morning. Your comments are few and far between, and there's no way to find them except scrolling through the different sections. Next time, I want more analysis!

The tag cloud is fun. I can't believe "maverick" didn't make it onto Palin's list. Seems like she threw that into every answer.

Posted by: Blarg | October 3, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company