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The Vice-Presidential Debate Essay

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The only Vice-Presidential debate of the 2008 election was held on Thursday, October 2. Senator Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate, and Sarah Palin, the Republican candidate, discussed their positions on the economy, on health care, and on other issues that are important to voters this election. This event, despite what it was called, was not really a debate. In a debate, each side takes a position either for or against a topic and then argues that position. For example, in a real debate, the moderator might have proposed that Americans universal health care.

Each candidate would then take a position, either for or against universal health care, and then argued that side of the issue. Thursday’s event was more like a joint press conference for the candidates than a real debate. Palin seemed to be using a prepared script. For example, 13 minutes and 7 seconds into the debate, Sarah Palin said, “I may not answer the questions the way that the moderator or you want to hear, but I’m going to talk straight to the American people” (“Full Vice Presidential Debate”).

While there were a few real exchanges between the two candidates, most of what they said was just a repeat of what they or their running mates had been saying in speeches for the campaign. Palin and Biden obviously had different political views. They also had two different objectives for the debate. For Palin, this was a chance to introduce herself to the voters and to show that she was a legitimate candidate. Biden is better known. His objective was to point out the flaws in McCain’s statements and to link McCain to President Bush. The strongest point in the debate was not about policy, but about the real lives of these two candidates.

At 1 hour, 19 minutes, and 6 seconds into the debate, Biden said, “Look, I understand what it is like to be a single parent… the notion that somehow, because I’m a man, I don’t know what it’s like to raise two kids alone… I understand” (“Full Vice Presidential Debate”). Biden looked and sounded very sincere when he said this. Palin ignored his comments and stayed with her prepared script.

Works Cited

“Full Vice Presidential Debate with Gov. Palin and Sen. Biden. ” Joe Biden, Sarah Palin, with Gwin Ifill, moderator. YouTube. com. 2 October 2008. 6 October 2008 <http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=89FbCPzAsRA>

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