THE BLOG
10/31/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Talking Points on Biden-Palin Debate

It's just my guess, but here's what I think Palin will try to do: come out of the chute attacking Biden with a handful of the dumbest-sounding votes he's cast in his three decades in the Senate. Any three will do, as long as they put him on defense, and use up the first ten minutes of the debate when people are forming their critical impressions.

Maybe she won't. But the Republicans believe the best defense is a good offense.

If she goes first, Biden will have to avoid wasting minutes on defense. He has to say those charges are ridiculous, that he will return to them later, that the people of Delaware have elected him six times, etc, and then swivel to frame the opening his way.

Biden should go right at her, his lines of attack aimed at winning independents, conservative Democrats and splitting the right.

- McCain is attacking Obama on earmarks but Palin and Alaska are the earmark champions of America;
- McCain says he's against boondoggles, but Palin supported the bridge to nowhere before she opposed it;
- McCain claims to be against perks of office, and Palin claims falsely that she sold the state jet on eBay;
- McCain goes on about cutting taxes, but Palin raised taxes for a hockey rink that plunged her town into debt.
- McCain talks about energy independence, but Palin is the governor of a petro-state that sells oil and gas to the rest of America for huge profits;
- McCain has been pushing deregulation since the Keating scandal when the Senate said he showed poor judgment, and now Palin takes it further. Because of her extreme views, she will become the first governor to preside over the shrinking of her own state due to global warming, and the disappearance of the polar bears because she doesn't believe in the Endangered Species Act;
- McCain and Palin pledge to fill the Supreme Court with faith-based extremists out of line with the American people;
- McCain once opposed the extremists in his own party but now he's appointed one to be a heartbeat from the presidency.

This is all about McCain's judgment, not the merits of Biden versus Palin. Biden should ask where's the straight talk express that McCain has derailed for the sake of winning. That McCain keeps Palin away from the media suggests his lack of confidence in her. And so on.

It is less likely that Palin will use the debate to project a positive, informed, experienced persona. If she does, it will be up to the moderator and Biden to test her with tough, substantive questions, and see if she implodes. It is more in her Republican character to attack when defensive.

Biden will have to be ready with one further line: I know Hillary Clinton, and you're no Hillary Clinton.

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