Guest Liveblogging the Debate

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


I come away with a solid impression that as the dust settles, no one is going to be especially impressed simply because Palin held her own. That should be the very least we should expect of a candidate. Biden scored huge points on 1) actually answering questions, 2) calling lies lies, and changing the frame of the conversation, and 3) pure substance. It comes down to who of these two would be (god forbid) a better president, and the reality of that possibility was on display here. When it boils down to that, there really isn’t much competition based on the gravitas shown in St. Louis tonight. Biden by two lengths.

7:35 – Biden going in for the after-debate niceties, perhaps trying to catch her off guard, and not let her decompress…

7:30 – I sadly call it far closer than it ought to have been, and I assume polls tomorrow will reflect a chasm between those who say one or the other won it. Biden wins on facts, Sarah on expectations-beating.

7:29 – Palin’s argument that the media made her look bad can’t possibly play. She actually argued today that she had been “censored.” She must wish she HAD been.

7:27 – One Current watcher notes Biden is winning on substance, Palin on style. Not sure that’s entirely true – she’s still clearly a lightweight who falls back into beauty pageant tics. But does “Joe Sixpack” care?

7:24 – Watching Hack the Debate on Current. Interesting to see the Tweets pouring in.

7:21 – Will the Biden choke-up help or hurt? I bet the former. Women aren’t allowed to cry (see Hillary), so he can make himself accessible with a trembling chin.

7:18 – Nice big target – Cheney – bulls-eyed by Biden.

7:13 – Palin is revving up. The folksy is working. The school shout-out was brilliant.

7:10 – Joe Biden is getting mad. Careful.

7:07 – “McCain knows how to win a war.” Which wars has he won?

7:02 – Best 2008 coinage: “Bosniacs.” Thanks, Joe!

6:57 – Palin flatly denied that the US has bombed civilians in Afghanistan.

6:55 – Look closely at Palin’s lapel – Israeli flag just ABOVE her American flag pin.

6:52 – Apparently McCain-Palin believe Israel is our only ally.

6:49 – There’s “NUCULAR,” from Palin. Oh lordy.

6:44 – Palin – ohh, bad move putting your confidence in the leader of al Qaeda.

6:42 – Biden – be careful not to get too brainy and wonky.

6:40 – After all these years, I really expected GOP candidates to pronounce “Iraq” properly.

6:37 – Palin is doing remarkably well. Far above expectations from this vantage point.

6:34 – “Drill, baby drill” – but Biden just mentioned the fact that drilling solves nothing for at least 10 years!

6:31 – Alaska feels the effects of climate change more than any other state? Wow, tell that to Louisiana and Texas.

6:29 – Palin unabashedly refuses to answer questions.

6:23 – Palin is hitting her stride. Looking into the camera instead of at the moderator is a lovely touch.

6:21- Biden’s strategy now clear – point out foreseeable fudges of the truth as they happen. Simple, elegant, effective.

6:19 – Paying taxes is not patriotic? OK then!

6:17 – Question for Palin – since when do Mayors raise or lower taxes?

6:15 – Wow, Palin is being maverick-y, telling Gwen and Joe, I’m doing it my way. Clever.

6:13 – Palin’s argument is that saying we have a bad economy is too depressing, so it’s better to lie to the American people for their own good. In fairness, Bush proved that repeated lies become truths, so maybe the magic will work in this fairytale administration too.

6:11 – Clearly Biden’s mission is to use McCain against McCain.

6:08 – Biden is holding back, leading with gravitas and substance.

6:06 – Palin is definitely going folksy. I’m going to guess this isn’t going to be as charming this time around.

6:00 – “Can I call you Joe?” Clever. He can’t call her Sarah without looking sexist.

Greetings, MoJo people! I’m honored to be here to liveblog the vice presidential debate. As a former editor and producer of MotherJones.com, I’m happy to be back where I once wrote a proto-blog called The Bush Files in 2000.

So put your political pants on, friends. If you’re playing bingo, may I suggest an extra credit space for every time Biden says “literally”? You will not be sorry.

My expectations here are that this will be underwhelming, and that Palin could well score big tonight.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate