In an ad released the day of the first - and only - vice presidential debate, Republican John McCain’s campaign calls out Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden’s tendency to slip up on the campaign trail.
“What might Joe Biden say in tonight’s debate? Anything’s possible,” the narrator begins before running through a series of comments Biden has made recently.
Biden, the longtime senator from Delaware, will debate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a newcomer to the national political scene. Palin catapulted into the spotlight with her acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention and has rallied conservatives behind the Republican ticket.
“Will we see the faltering, uncertain Sarah Palin that we’ve seen in interviews in the last week or will we see that kind of lively, charismatic, down-to-earth hockey mom that played so well at the Republican convention? Which one is going to show up tomorrow?” asked USA Today’s Susan Page on the NewsHour, referring to the interviews Palin did with CBS anchor Katie Couric.
Leading into the debate, a Pew Research Center poll released Oct. 1 found that the public opinion of Palin since her debut has become more negative and more people say she lacks the experience to become president. After the Republican convention, 52 percent said she was qualified, compared to 37 percent in the most recent poll. By contrast, 63 percent say Biden is qualified to be president with the party breakdowns at 55 percent of Republicans and 78 percent of Democrats.
McCain, however, remains confident in Palin: “She’ll be just fine. She’ll do fine tonight,” McCain said on MSNBC. “She’s experienced. She’s knowledgeable. She’s very strong person. I’m proud of her record, and I’m proud of her.”
Palin left the campaign trail on Monday and spent the last few days prepping for debate at McCain’s retreat in Arizona while Biden has been prepping near his home in Delaware. Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign said they studied Palin’s performance from the 2006 Alaska gubernatorial race debates.
“Anyone who has watched any of her earlier debates would agree she is a skilled debater,” Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said, according to Reuters.
The debate will be moderated by NewsHour senior correspondent and Washington Week moderator Gwen Ifill. Tune in to your local PBS station or watch a live stream here at the Online NewsHour beginning at 9 p.m. ET.