I'm going to give the VP debate to Biden. I have to admit that Sarah Palin did better than I was expecting. No major mistakes, came across as forceful, held her own. All good for the McCain-Palin ticket. She clearly did better than her she did in her interviews with Katie Couric. That's what most of the commentary that I have read has aaid.
But there's one detail that I think has been missed. I don't have specific numbers in front of me, but my guess is that far, far more people watched this debate than have seen the Couric interviews. And if this was your first impression of her, I think it was a disaster.
Off the top of my head, some numbers: Katie Couric pulls in roughly 7 million viewers a night. Let's say 10 million people watched Katie Couric interview Sarah Palin on TV. Let's say another million or so watched versions of that online. be generous, let's say 12 million people have watched some portion of that interview somewhere. let's assume that this is roughly the same crowd that watched Charlie Gibson roast her on the Bush Doctrine.
But there were 52 million viewers for the first presidential debate. Let's be conservative and say that this debate drew 40 million. That means that there were 28 million people who were getting their first impression of her in some kind of a question-and-answer format. Towards the end of the debate, it was transparently obvious to me that she was reciting talking points, regurgitating campaign slogans. I think many of those 28 million will be thinking the same way.
In one of his answers about the Middle East, Joe Biden mentioned Hamas and Hezbollah. As carefully as I follow politics, I still get confused about which one is which and what power they have in which country. But Joe Biden clearly knew his stuff there, and Sarah Palin did not answer anything, particularly on foreign policy, which that kind of detail.