Richard Cohen: Who Lost The Debate? The Media

11/07/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Richard Cohen Washington Post

Reading William Kristol's column in yesterday's New York Times, I discover that Sarah Palin and I have something in common. Kristol, who was once Dan Quayle's chief of staff and therefore, shall we say, has a Mister Rogers approach to certain politicians, got Palin on the phone and reported that "she doesn't have a very high opinion of the mainstream media." This is where we are in agreement. On account of Palin, neither do I.

In her debate against Joe Biden last week, she mischaracterized Barack Obama's tax plan and his offer to meet with foreign adversaries of the United States. She found whole new powers for the vice president by misreading the Constitution, if she ever read it at all. She called one moment for the federal government to virtually disappear and a moment later lamented the lack of its oversight of the financial markets. She asserted that she "may not answer the questions the way that either the moderator or you [Biden] want to hear" because, apparently, the rules don't apply to her on account of her being a hockey mom. Fer sure.
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Not enough? Okay. Palin also said that she "and others in the legislature" had called for the state of Alaska to divest itself of investments in companies that do business with Sudan. But, as the indefatigable truth-hunter at The Post found out, the divestiture effort was not led by Palin. In fact, her administration opposed the initiative, and Palin herself only came around to it after the bill had died.

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