The expectations game is afoot in advance of the debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin. The conventional wisdom's wonderment amounts to these two ideas: Will Joe Biden wield his foreign policy expertise like a bludgeon and hurt the frail damsel from Alaska? Will Sarah Palin be able to complete a sentence without offering up an arrhythmic mashup of ancient McCain talking points? Based upon the pre-debate chit-chat, the best thing either Veep candidate can do for their ticket is confound everyone by standing still and saying absolutely nothing!
So what's a McCain flack to do? If you are Nancy Pfotenhauer, you go on Fox And Friends, a mythical land where they still believe John McCain "suspended" his campaign, and where the idea that McCain bravely paved the way on the bailout package instead of dully gumming up the works still roams from glen to glen like a magical unicorn. Gretchen Carlson is especially adorable, telling Pfotenhauer, "I think this debate thing may have gotten in the way" of the bailout work. That's right! This "debate thing!" Yeah, what was that "debate thing" all about, anyway?
The conversation soon turns to talk of Palin's debate prospects, and Pfotenhauer cheerily intones, "If it's a battle of wits, we like [Palin's] chances." Clearly, the McCain camp has a definition of "wits" distinct from mine, but hey, fair's fair when we're talking about a guy who put FDR on teevee in the late 1920s. The thing is, this upcoming "debate thing" will not be a "battle of wits" (we hope!) but rather a series of questions, and the last time Palin found herself facing "questions" ... well, this happened:
Pfotenhauer knows it, too, which must be why she describes the Couric interview as "a series of trapdoor questions." That's right! Asking Palin things like, "But can you give me any other concrete examples [of McCain's record of leadership on oversight]?" and "You've cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?" -- those are some REALLY CAGEY TRAPS.
Anyway, the McCain camp is going to keep a close eye on this debate. As Pfotenhauer intimates, if moderator Gwen Ifill asks Palin too many foreign policy questions, she's going to have to answer for it. And to think at one point, foreign policy was considered McCain's strength!
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