The debate transcript reveals she still can’t get her talking points straight on this issue:
I’m not one to attribute every man — activity of man to the changes in the climate. There is something to be said also for man’s activities, but also for the cyclical temperature changes on our planet.
It’s “attribute changes in the climate to activity of man”!
And, of course she repeated the The Big Energy Lie that John McCain actually believes in an “all of the above” energy policy — twice:
I keep seeing conservative commentators on TV calling this a triumph for Palin based on emails they’re getting on the blackberries from other conservatives. But the name of the game is to reach beyond that twentysomething percent of the public that likes George Bush.
A lot of people are wondering who the “McClellan” character was that Sarah Palin was referring to, with many guessing that she’s been consulting long-dead failed Civil War General George McClellan for advice on Afghanistan. But another colleague suggested that she’s mentally combined General McKiernan, the commanding officer in Afghanistan, and David Kilcullen into a single ten-foot tall counterinsurgency superman.
I’m not sure if Gwen Ifill was cowed by the rightwing mau-mau brigade or what, but I thought Ifill’s handling of the debate was pretty disappointing. Palin was clearly operating with a game plan that involved simply refusing to answer certain questions in order to drift over to her pre-prepared text, and Ifill didn’t ask any followups or challenge either candidate to address the questions she was asking. Indeed, at time Ifill was barely even asking questions — just suggesting topics.
As I predicted yesterday the lack of followups allowed Palin to avoid any Couric-style gaffes. All of her bad screwups in interviews, after all, came during followups. If she becomes president and, miraculously, manages to get through a term in office without ever needing to address a topic outside the three or four things she’s comfortable talking about she might even do a good job.
I think a visitor from Mars watching this debate would have been struck by the fact that Sarah Palin could barely get a paragraph out without mangling what she was trying to say. Conversely, a veteran of the Katie Couric Interviews would be struck by the fact that Palin’s errors weren’t so egregious that you were left totally baffled as to what she was trying to say. But I don’t actually think this stuff is all about expectations. If Palin had some kind of substantial record on or background in national issues, I don’t think anyone would find this performance especially terrifying. But if you already had some serious doubts about her, I think she scarcely put those doubts away.
In tonight’s debate, Palin suggested that the “$700 billion” the U.S. spends a year on imported oil (the figure is actually closer to $536 billion) could be replaced by domestic sources. She further claimed that Alaska’s “energy” supply (by which she means only oil) is helping America on the path to energy independence.
But the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler points out that “various government agencies” have concluded that “crude oil production could be increased at most between 1 and 3 million barrels per day, on top of the 5 million barrels a year [day] already produced domestically. The United States currently consumes about 20 million barrels annually [per day], so an expansion of domestic drilling would make barely a dent in that amount unless consumption also is reduced.”
As soon as the debate subject matter shifted to foreign policy, an extremely clear contrast opened up. I have some disagreements on national security issues with Biden, but he’s clearly able to express totally genuine opinions on issues he’s spent time thinking about. Palin, by contrast, is mechanistically reciting talking points. She’s clearly never given a minute’s thought to Darfur.
In official submissions to the US government’s consultation on the status of the polar bear, Palin and her team referred to at least six scientists who have questioned either the existence of warming as a largely man-made phenomenon or its severity. One paper was partly funded by the US oil company Exxon Mobil.
Palin’s complaint to the Department of Interior cited the pre-publication Exxon Mobil paper — “Polar bears of western Hudson Bay and climate change” — six times, and even attached a copy. “Polar bears” was eventually published by the obscure Journal of Ecological Complexity, with funding not only by Exxon Mobil, but also the American Petroleum Institute (Big Oil’s lobbying shop), and the Koch Industries money machine:
11:19: On Fox, Kristol says Palin should challenge Biden to more debates: “She should challenge Biden tomorrow. … They can have six or seven of them. They can just have townhalls together. That would be a good thing.”
11:14: Yglesias points to the CBS instapoll showing that undecided voters watching the debate thought Biden won by 46 percent, compared to 21 percent for Palin. (UPDATE: CNN poll on “Who Did the Best Job In the Debate?” Biden 51% Palin 36%)
11:10: Discussing Palin’s seeming confusion on McCain’s record, CNN’s Anderson Cooper said, “On equal rights for gays and lesbians, it came off as if she actually supports the same policies as Obama and Biden do, which is just factually not the case.” Paul Begala agreed: “She seemed to say she supported the Biden-Obama position that we should all treat all Americans equally. That would be a radical step for Republicans.” Another pundit said evangelicals heard Palin’s answer and wondered, “What in the world is she doing?” Read more about Palin’s record on gay rights here.
11:07: On Fox News, Charles Krauthammer praised Palin’s performance, but had to admit: “I wasn’t impressed by the depth of her answers or the breadth of her knowledge.”
11:03: Fox News’ Frank Luntz held his focus group “live from Anheuser Busch headquarters” in St. Louis:
Cindy McCain who “has assets of at least $8.5 million, owned more than $1 million of Anheuser-Busch shares at the end of last year.” Cindy McCain stood to profit immensely from sale of Anheuser-Busch Cos. to Belgian beverage giant InBev NV.
10:56: When asked by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews if the Vice President should have more power, Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) replied, “good luck on having power. If you think the VP would have more power than one vote. There are enough problem for the fellows who are trying to run the senate now. I don’t see the VP taking a greater role.”