The 2008 vice presidential debate took place on the 2nd of October, 2008. It was between the Joe Biden, a senior senator for Delaware and Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska State. The debate was moderated by a PBS journalist, Gwen Ifill, at the Washington University in St. Louis.
Different issues were discussed during the debate with each candidate giving different views on what he/she thinks is the best way to approach the issue. The topic of the debate was “foreign and domestic policy.” Watching the video we realize that Palin spoke into great depths about energy policy while Biden concentrated his talk on more on foreign affairs.
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Both Palin and Biden favored more oil to be drilled domestically. However, Palin only advocated opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to both oil and gas exploration. They both advocated use of clean coal as well as safe nuclear technology and renewable resources of energy. Palin seemed to make offshore drilling her main focus while Biden focused on a limited increase of the same to add to other energy sources.
The 2005 Energy Bill and Tax Breaks For Oil Companies
The two aspirants disagreed concerning the 2005 energy bill and were seen to trade taunts against each other. Palin criticized Obama for voting for the bill but Biden defended voting for the bill citing its support for clean technology and ethanol. According to Biden, Obama voted for the bill because it had “real incentives for alternative energy” and criticized McCain for giving oil companies tax breaks instead of being concerned with the middle class people. Although Palin responded saying that its campaign was not giving oil companies tax breaks, McCain’s proposals said to the contrary.
Palin seemed to advocate for a surge strategy but made a mistake of calling the commander in Afghanistan as "McClellan” instead of his name McKiernan. Interestingly the two candidates differ sharply on what McKiernan said about the surge. Biden insists that McKiernan had cautioned on a surge policy in Afghanistan while Palin argues that the surge principles could work in Afghanistan. Biden prefers more troops and more money while Palin goes on to attack Obama for saying that US forces had killed Afghanis in raids.
Palin seems not to have grasped what was going on before making her points about Iraq. Instead she says that “they have a good plan” while also insisting that American forces were back to pre-surge level, which was not the case. Defending Obama, Biden says that whatever is going on between Bush and Maliki was a plan that Obama had drafted for a withdrawal timeline. But Palin criticized the plan calling it “a white flag of surrender.” Biden seems to be sure that the war needs to be ended unlike Palin who says that it is up to the generals to say when to end it.
Concerning Iran, the two candidates seem to agree that Iran should not be allowed to acquire and test nuclear weapons and Palin calls the Iran president as not being sane. Palin further attacks Obama who had indicated earlier that he would meet Iranian president with no conditions to which Senator Biden denies as not being true of what Obama said. Biden says that although Iran is far from getting a nuclear weapon, it is edging “closer to a bomb.”
Both candidates love Israel and show that Israel is one of the “best friends” of the US. But Biden is quick to condemn Bush’s policies on Israel as having being failed. He supports the idea of placing NATO in Lebanon in order to protect Israel against Hezbollah insurgents. Palin accused Iran of planning a second Holocaust against Israel but assures that the US will take steps against the same.
About Arms and Nuclear Control
Biden reiterates that the world needs a nuclear arms control program and attacks McCain for objecting to the idea. On her part, Palin insists that the dictatorial regimes that are opposed to America should not be allowed to posses nuclear weapons mentioning North Korea and Iran.
My Opinion on Who Won the Debate
Watching the debate between Senator Biden and Governor Palin, we can draw conclusions on what they discussed and how they did it considering the situations on the ground. Biden seems to have a good grasp of foreign policy although he spent most of his time attacking Bush and McCain rather than address the issues asked to. Palin on the other hand looks nervous and tries to focus more on “hockey moms” instead. However, she seems to lack the background knowledge to discuss issues in Washington although she also concentrates more on accusing her opponents especially Obama than dealing with issues asked to. She seems to have a problem knowing which bills were what and sometimes runs out of debate. However, Palin delivers on tapping clean U.S. resources to which Biden also agrees to although none gives a plan on how it can be done. Palin thus needed to brush ideas and some procedures to understand fully what she was arguing about.
I feel that Joe Biden won the debate because of his tendency to give more specifics and his well grasp of foreign polices that Palin lacked ad Palin need to get well acquainted with national policies.