by Tom Finkel
7:55: Older journalist to impressionable younger journalist: When we hear bullshit, It is our job to call attention that it is bullshit.
8:03: An analysis of Sarah Palin's suit: Black, which signifies deep seriousness. But the cinched waist and peplum jacket say she is a Woman. And the sash says she is vulnerable. And the stiletto heels say she's going to stomp Biden's eyeballs out.
8:06: Oooh, sparkly American flag pin. What, soccer game? Not hockey?
8:08: John McCain is out of touch. Palin says when McCain said the economy is strong, he meant the work force. I'm so glad I finally understand.
8:09: Maverick! Drink!
8:10: Maverick again. Gulp.
8:11: Two-for-one! Hockey moms and Joe Six Pack! Urp!
8:12: Informality continues: Biden, like Obama, calls McCain "John". Did they plan that?
8:15: So who's lying?
8:18: A smiley McCain-Palin campaign worker in an orange baseball cap distributes leaflet to the media: "Debate Fact #1: Bipartisanship"
8:21: Biden scores first joke, re John's health care plan: "That's the real bridge to nowhere."
8:24: The McCain-Palin campaign worker's back: "Debate Fact #2: The 1999 Deregulation that Joe Biden Supported." How did they know? Were Gwen Ifill's questions that predictable?
8:25: Palin personally had to fix Obama's mistakes re the energy bill. Personally, people!
8:27: "Rears its head!" Not Putin this time, alas.
8:33: New from the orange-hat brigade: "Debate Fact #5: Barack Obama Voted for the 2005 Energy Bill"We pause for a long, long time because of technical issues.
8:45: More leaflets. "Debate Fact #9: No Coal Plants Not Out of Context".
8:51: McCain and Palin will prevent another Holocaust, which, it seems, will be coming from Iran.
8:52: And "Debate Fact #10: Obama's 'No Way' Unconditional Timetables
8:53: Joe Biden and Barack Obama are totally better friends to the Jews than the current Republican administration or, incidentally, John and the Gov.
8:54: Palin is so glad "we both love Israel."
8:55: Biden is getting pissed. How the hell is McCain going to be different from George Bush? (It's "McCain" now, not "John".)
8:57: Where do these orange hat people come from? Where do they get their leaflets? Why are they here? Why aren't there Obama people? This is very, very puzzling.
9:03: Gosh, didja hear, Sarah Palin's a Washington outsider?
9:09: The view from Wasilla Main Street. Sigh.
9:10: Joe spends a lot of time at Home Depot. Who's the more average American now, huh? Since when is it a good thing to be average? The average person is pretty dumb. Why would be want to be led by one of them? This is such bullshit.
9:11: As Sarah says, "Oh, Joe, there you go again." Except she's talking about politics and I'm talking about Scranton.
9:12: Sarah Palin's brother's third graders get extra credit for watching the debate. What do I get?
9:13: Laughter in the press room: Palin says she was only joking when she asked what a vice-president does.
9:14: My friend in the orange hat is back with Debate Fact #16. We have progressed from smiling tentatively to waving cheerfully at each other.
9:15: Is it just me, or does Biden seem slightly bored, too?
9:17: Biden says that Cheney has been the most dangerous vice-president in the history of the United States. Come on, Joe! When Aaron Burr shot somebody when he was vice-president, the guy died. Cheney merely wounded the guy he shot.
9:20: Biden brings up his dead wife and daughter. It's possible that it was calculated, but the stumbling over his words was genuine, which makes me believe that it was not entirely bullshit.
9:21: I lose control. Palin says "maverick" and I flip a double-bird at the TV. I like to think this is journalistic integrity: rage over unimaginative use of language.
9:23: Biden: John McCain is no maverick. God love you, Joe.
9:27: Biden doesn't question motives, he questions judgment. Huh. Is this how politics work? Need to read All the King's Men again.
9:29: The Sarah-bot signs off. Pop in the tape, and away she goes! John McCain fought for me.
9:31: Kids, listen to your Uncle Joe. This is the most important election of your lifetime (except for those of you who were alive in 1932).
9:32:Hey, looky here, Claire McCaskill's people have arrived!
9:32:God, Gwen Ifill's jacket is bright. (I forgot to mention the very excellent TVs they have here in the media room. Flat screen and high-definition. I'll bet it would be noticed if I tried to take one home.) And hooray, it's over.
9:34:Interesting -- looks like Bristol got baby duty to hide her bump. Oh, passed to Piper!
8:37: Palins leave first. Does that have any deep significance, or did they just lose the coin toss?
--Surreal (since Unreal is otherwise occupied)