Late Night & Early Morning Thoughts From St. Louis


Spin room chatter last night was rather predictable. Susan Rice assailed Sarah Palin for citing the wrong commander in Afghanistan; Rudy Giuliani, pressed on whether he could feel safe at night in a Palin-led America, suggested it was the best debate performance he’d ever seen; and Lindsay Graham, when asked whether Sarah Palin was smart enough to be President, launched into a tirade about the intelligence required to bring prosperity to Alaska.
What received little attention, however, was Joe Biden’s performance. Steadfast Joe — as opposed to the six-pack Joe that Sarah Palin referenced — delivered critiques where necessary and managed firm, respectful rebuttals. The defensive served Biden well. Disciplined — a word I used to describe Palin in my pre-debate blog — was instead employed widely by Democrats as they broke down their candidates’ performance.
I think Sarah Palin was over coached in terms of ‘folksiness.’ Her general demeanor, a couple winks, and a ‘doggonit,’ totaled an almost caricature-like performance. It’s a side you’ll notice far less in tape from governor’s race debates, and I wonder if the tone won’t grate on some voters over the next month. It’s somewhat reminiscent of W.
To be non-partisan, matching meter and rhythm to an audience is hardly unique. It’s something I’ve noticed a bit with Obama at several points, and something Hillary Clinton drew criticism for earlier in the Democratic primary.
Perhaps the most important thing to come out of spin alley tonight was a promise from McCain strategist Steve Schmidt, apparently riding confidence from the debate, suggesting far more media availability for Ms. Palin in the weeks to come.
We’ll see if that promise materializes.
One thing’s for certain, nearly ever man that watched last night went to bed smiling, knowing he got not one but two winks from Ms. Wasilla.
Signing off form Wash U.
–Brian Till


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