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Election Connection

Showdown in St. Louis


Before the Saturday Night Live skits, network news interviews, and ever-shifting horserace polls, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's game-changing speech at the Republican National Convention foreshadowed the buzz we're seeing this week in the lead up to tomorrow night's vice presidential debate in St. Louis, Mo.



In fact, it seems more people are talking about Thursday night's debate between Palin and Sen. Joe Biden than were the first presidential debate last Friday. Interestingly, the largest percentage of viewers for the first debate were in the St. Louis area, the same location as Thursday's meeting. Perhaps Missourians are the most civic-minded people in the country?


But beyond the Arch are communities that are still processing McCain's surprising choice, and pundits who are reiterating the unvarying historical fact that debates - and vice presidential ones in particular - rarely have much to do with predicting the election winner.


Patchwork Nation's Dante Chinni spoke with communities across the U.S. to take their temperature ahead of the vice presidential debate.


             Judging from the reaction in some of Patchwork Nation's most socially conservative communities, the McCain camp might face a massive revolt from the people who were so enthusiastic about Palin's selection.


              "I think a lot of Nixa people would be angry if she were removed from the ticket," wrote John Schmalzbauer, a blogger in Nixa, Mo., in an e-mail. "The McCain/Palin signs are sprouting all over town. At Wal-Mart, I saw a vehicle with a Maverick/Barracuda sticker. The same car had a Christian radio sticker. She is resonating with evangelicals."


              People we contacted in Nixa, our "Evangelical Epicenter" community, uniformly said that such a move would not happen - or if it did, the town would be up in arms. Many also said they expected her to do well in Thursday's vice-presidential debate.


              Up in Sioux Center, Iowa - our agricultural "Tractor Country" community, another Republican stronghold - feelings were similar.


              Donald King, a professor at Dordt College, a Christian school, says people in his community are a bit cautious about Palin and her lack of experience, but she still speaks to many voters there.


Will Thursday's debate have an impact in the long run? Adam Nagourney at The New York Times points out that "In truth, the political potency of this 90-minute debate is questionable... there are so many unusual things about the contest between Ms. Palin and Mr. Biden that the debate could just as possibly be another forgotten burst in a campaign that has been filled with such moments."


But Thursday's moment still requires a huge amount of preparation. Both Biden and Palin have been off the radar most of the week, studying the issues and getting ready. NewsHour's Debating Our Destiny gives an in-depth look at how candidates prepare for the debates. 1984 Vice Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro gave her insight on the process.


"If you ask me a question, don't tell me what the question is in advance, cause I'd rather not know. I'd rather give you a spontaneous direct response to it. I also lose interest if I have to go over and over and over again because it looks to me if you're practicing it becomes artificial. So I just find the whole process very tedious," she said.


NewsHour senior correspondent Gwen Ifill will be moderating Thursday's debate. Tune in at 9pm ET or watch online. If you have feedback about PBS' coverage, please contact the Ombudsman at ombudsman@pbs.org.










145 Comments

G. Privette said:

I'm learning that the PBS narrator for the VP debates is writing a book praising Obama to be released on inaguration day. This is an incredible conflict of interest. PBS has set a higher bar than this. It's not too late to remedy/salvage the situation. Please act (at a minimum disclose) to retain respect from your viewers.


S. Smith said:

Sponsoring such a biased moderator in the debate is criminal. Hopefully your supporters will not support this and retaliate where it hurts, by cutting off their donations to you!!!


William Blakely said:

Why is that that a white man can be a debate moderator, but put a black woman in that position and it's a conflict of interest? Please. If you have ever seen Ifill you know that she among the most professional in her field.


Allison Howard said:

I'm confident in Gwen Ifill's professionalism.
If (when?) Governor Palin does poorly, it won't be because of a biased moderator. But under the circumstances, is there any surprise that Palin's supporters are already looking for a reason to cry foul?


S Johnson said:

All the moderator does is ask questions. It's up to the candidates to answer them. Any candidate worth his or her salt can make a biased moderator look foolish.

If anybody is going to sink Sarah Palin's ship, it's Sarah Palin. All this talk about the media being "out to get her" is utter nonsense. How can the media "get her" if the McCain campaign won't even make her available to the media?

Sarah Palin wants to be vice-president, not prom queen. Step up, Sarah. We're all waiting to hear from you on the issues that matter to people.


Ben McGuire said:

Ms. Ifill should recuse herself, due to a clear conflict of interest.

This is not question of Ms. Ifill's professionalism or ethics. Rather, this issue is one of apearances and the doubts that are forming in the minds of American voters, conservative, moderate, and liberal alike.

These concerns will spoil the crispness and authority of the debate process no matter what the outcome.

Some may believe that an exemplary performance Thursday night by Ms. Ifill will provide a happy resolution to the problem. Nothing could be farther from the truth, and here is why:

1. If Ms. Ifill is tough on Gov. Palin, people will say is was to Ms. Ifill's bias.
2. If Ms. Ifill is gentle with Gov. Palin, people will say she was overcompensating to avoid criticism.
3. If Gov. Palin falters or gives a poor performance, people will blame the moderator.
4. If Gov. Palin gives a stellar performance, there will be complaints that the moderator held back.
5. Similar concerns apply to the moderator's treatment of Senator Biden, with bias in his favor.

This debate must be about the candidates. There can be no excuses or rationales that confuse the results.

With all due respect to Ms. Ifill, she cannot provide us with the crisp confrontation we need.
There must be no fear, uncertainty, or doubt, whether justified or not.
The mere appearance of bias in the minds of Americans is sufficient reason for PBS to replace the moderator.

Please do not ignore our concerns.



Grace Jones-Roberts said:

I hope that people look beyond the obvious and research the facts. Gwen Ifill did not keep this information a secret. The Republicans would like to believe that she did because they want to shore up controversy becasue they do not have any confidence in Sarah Palin.


apl said:

I hope both candidates are asked about the counsel they have provided to their respective presidential nominees. I know Senator McCain has stated he has asked Governer Palin for her input regarding foreign affairs, so am interested in which topics Governer Palin provided input. Though Senator Obama has not mentioned any specific areas he has consulted with Senator Biden, I would be interested to know what areas, if any, he has done so.


Erika Kandler said:

Dear Gwen,
Congratulations on your new book praising Obama. Great planning that it will come out on Inauguration Day! Hopefully you will do a great job at the debate and your book sales shoud soar if he wins. Don't forget to ask Sarah why her party is so racist and praise Biden for being in the only party that "cares". Please do not ask Biden why his party blocked legislation over the years that would have reformed Fannie Mae. Please don't ask Sarah why tax cuts and not more social programs would be more beneficial for the American people. Silly me, why am I giving you advise. You, PBS and the main stream media have been doing a better job of only showing one side of the debate for a long time.
One problem, do you think the public is catching on and that someday they won't trust you any more? Do you think that someday when they need to understand a story, they won't believe what you say and that could hurt us all? Do you think that you could be part of the problem?
No longer respectfully yours,
Erika


Don Rice Jr said:

It never ceases to amaze and amuse me how many supposedly intelligent people make statements that have been proven false before those statements are even made. To wit: Gwen Ifills' book only has one chapter on Obama, which she states clearly isn't even written yet. The book is about the evolution of "black" (Afro-American) politics in general. Ans, as has already been noted in these comments, by Grace Jones-Roberts, Ms. Ifill did not keep this book secret in any way. Also, the release date was chosen by the publisher, NOT by Ms. Ifill.

Another point of contention is the proven fact that McCain's history over the past eight years, in spite of his self-proclaimed "maverick" status, has been one of nearly overwhelming support for Bush and company's wasteful spending and military adventurism, not to mention the fact that employment and pay have taken a serious decline throughout the Bush years, with McCain's support. Yet none of the pro-McCain/Palin postershere has even given lip service to this little fact.

About me: I'm a Libertarian and a Union steward in a state that is weak for unions, Arizona. Yup, McCain's home state. And although I would have voted for him eight years ago, when he really was still a maverick of sorts, had he one the nomination, I would not do so now, as he has proven to be beholden to the religious right and the corporate interests. Look how many lobbyists are on his campaign staff for proof of the latter, and the groundswell of support from evangelicals since Palin's arrival a his running mate for proof of the former.


Chris said:

This is a major conflict of interest. PBS has lost any integrity it has left. I will never watch or support a PBS program again unless Ms. Ifill is promptly removed.


Aaron B. said:

I have the solution! Let's get someone from FOX to moderate - NOT!!! People listen to their trash every day, and nobody complains about the fact that they pretend to be a news agency, when in fact they are the voice of the White House. And they don't even TRY to be professional.


M Starrett said:

Gwen Ifill needs to be replaced as moderator in the debate. If she was writing a book for John McCain the Democrats would be outraged. Do what is right and fair and replace her with someone who can at least act as if they are not biased!


Sheryl said:

Being in the Accounting profession, the phrase "arms length transaction" is very appropriate with Gwen Ifill acting as moderator. A book deal could be a substantial sum of money to her and it's not appropriate for her to moderate a very serious debate. This country is in a heap of trouble over Corporate Greed, is it PBS policy to promote it!? If you have a more centrist moderator, they should step in and let Gwen go edit her book.


jac said:

Please, just for a change, leave skin color out of this election campaign. Governor Palin has been subjected to a limitless, irrelevant barrage of personal attacks far beyond that of any candidate I can recall over the past 40 years.

Although Ms. Ifill showed obvious favor for Senator Barack Obama by her unchecked negative reaction to Sarah Palin's RNC speech, I am nonetheless seeing the good fortune of her as moderator.

Since her bias is well-known by any informed voter, unfair treatment of Governor Palin may work against Senator Biden. On the downside,( as mentioned in another comment) considering the usual liberal media spin, should Palin finish as the "winner" of the debate, Ms. Ifill could be perceived as overcompensating and we could be in for lengthy whining and rantings about her being too easy on Governor Palin.

Regardless, assuming no voter fraud, the American Voters deserve the candidate they elect, and a vote of Barack Obama is a vote for Marxism.


Jeanne Gausch said:

Gwen Ifill is an otherwise excellent choice as moderator of the VP debate, but for the pending publication of her book. The appearance of a conflict of interest ought to be enough of a "red flag" to PBS to warrant replacing her. Such action in no way impugns her integrity, it merely allows PBS an opportunity to demonstrate its own.


Jeanne Gausch said:

Gwen Ifill is an otherwise excellent choice as moderator of the VP debate, but for the pending publication of her book. The appearance of a conflict of interest ought to be enough of a "red flag" to PBS to warrant replacing her. Such action in no way impugns her integrity, it merely allows PBS an opportunity to demonstrate its own.


Lee H said:

Ms. Iflill should recuse herself. Gender and/or race as William Blakely suggests is moot. Any hint of bias or impropriety should be eliminated so there is no distraction. I want to hear what each candidate has to say without having to peer into Ms. Ifell's intentions.


ken miller said:

So some of you want Gwen to recuse herself. Be careful what you wish for. It would be just like PBS to replace her with the "non partisan" BILL MOYERS!


Bill said:

One of the biggest problems Palin will have is that Joe Biden knows her running mate much better than she does. They've been friends for decades, and friends know friends strengths and weaknesses. Should be interesting...


Chris Bertison said:

Gwen Iflill's upcoming book has been covered in major publications as early as July 23rd. Both campaigns negotiated the debates, their locations and yes..their moderators. Both campaigns have had ample time to claim any conflict of intrest. Since Ms. Iflill is female, should Obama cite a sexism bias? I think not.


lulu2 said:

I think Ifill should step down on this one. I will no longer support PBS.


Wallace said:

You dropped the ball by not seeing or ignoring the obvious conflict of interest with moderator Gwen Ifil.


Gary Peterson said:

It's clear that the Obama chapter is going to sell Gwen Ifills' book regardless whom else is in it. That's why it's being released when it is. That's a bold and disgraceful conflict of interest thrown in the faces of honest Americans. If Obama wins she stands to make hundreds of thousands of dollars. If he loses she has a problem she would rather not have. I don't care how respected and honorable many highly placed people think Gwen is she has to be replaced with someone who has nothing to gain or lose from either side.


Jerry said:

There is no excuse for this situation to have progressed this far. Ms. Ifil should step down in favor of anyone that does not stand to profit from the election of one of the candidates.


Northernpike said:

Come on, PBS! For once just make an attempt to be fair and unbiased! Gwen Ifill needs to get dumped posthaste. It's a complete joke! We need to get PBS off the public dole once and for all! The arrogance of PBS leaves me utterly slain!


Nicholas Pasciullo said:

The debate over Ms. Ifill's neutrality is over. Republican Presidential candidate McCain unequivocally endorsed Ms. Ifill's ability to be neutral - he used the word "confidence" in her multiple times in one sentence. Time for everyone else to "put a fork in it."


Donald said:

I am saddened by your failure to disclose this personal information to the Debate Commission. The appearance of impropriety is all it takes to weaken your reputation and that of PBS. A sad day for all involved, particularly the American public.


Jan Sinnc said:

I love Gwen, but it is not appropriate for her to moderate the debate. Just because McCain did not whine about it, does not make it right. PBS should know better, and I believe that they do. There just doesn't seem to be a network to trust anymore.


ktb said:

Come on PBS! Ethics dictate that Ms. Ifill should have disclosed her bookwriting/money making efforts well before now and she should NEVER have been allowed to moderate this debate. No matter what happens or how neutral she may act this will leave lingering doubts in the voters minds!! Replace her now!!


Pam Roberts said:

You have compromised the integrity of the debate by not changing the moderator. This is too important for you not to make a change.


Sue said:

I think having Ms. Ifill mediate is a gross injustice to Gov. Palin and also a conflict of interest. Obviously, this is a wonderful publicity stunt for her book and a horrendously low blow to the American public looking for an objective host. Shame on you for not disclosing your book! You should step down. That's the only right thing to do...


Sue said:

I'll be happy to fill in for Ms. Ifill. Oh, by the way, I have a book coming out next week - In Praise of McCain. Think it may be a conflict of interest?


librasign said:

1999 Fanny Mae Eases Credit to Aid Mortgage Lending - that is the title of the NY times report from 1999 which states the Clinton administration PRESSURED Fanny Mae into expanding mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenonminal growth in profits.

THAT IS WHAT CAUSED THIS FINACIAL CRISIS and SHAME ON THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN! for filtering he minds of the american people to believe it was the bush administration. He may not be the most popular president but he also didn't cause the financial and economic issues we face today. 2 years before 911 this was signed into place. FLooded with 10 yrs of 911 fall out and numerous enormous natural disasters and now this!!!! Shame on the democrats for their unduly finger pointing as if the American people are idiots who can't figure out the real truth.

More is about to come out and the people will know exactly what his leadership will do for us in the future.... back into the same mess we are in now.

I strongly encourage everyone to watch Glen Beck all week as he will be finger pointing Obama's ties to this financial crisis and Fanny Mae who has funded Obamas campaign.

WAKE UP PEOPLE stop falling for the fancy speeches filled with twisted words and half truths.


librasign said:

1999 Fanny Mae Eases Credit to Aid Mortgage Lending - that is the title of the NY times report from 1999 which states the Clinton administration PRESSURED Fanny Mae into expanding mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenonminal growth in profits.

THAT IS WHAT CAUSED THIS FINACIAL CRISIS and SHAME ON THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN! for filtering he minds of the american people to believe it was the bush administration. He may not be the most popular president but he also didn't cause the financial and economic issues we face today. 2 years before 911 this was signed into place. FLooded with 10 yrs of 911 fall out and numerous enormous natural disasters and now this!!!! Shame on the democrats for their unduly finger pointing as if the American people are idiots who can't figure out the real truth.

More is about to come out and the people will know exactly what his leadership will do for us in the future.... back into the same mess we are in now.

I strongly encourage everyone to watch Glen Beck all week as he will be finger pointing Obama's ties to this financial crisis and Fanny Mae who has funded Obamas campaign.

WAKE UP PEOPLE stop falling for the fancy speeches filled with twisted words and half truths.


Valerie said:

Without reading Gwen Ifill's book, I can't determine whether or not she seems politically biased to the point of being a poor choice for moderator of the vice presidential debate. However, given the combination of an Inauguration Day release date and her potenital gain, financially and professionally, from successful book sales, too much is called into question. For this reason, a new moderator should be chosen. I would like to see Charlie Rose moderate Thursday's debate as well as a debate between the presidential candidates.


Michelle said:

If Ifill is allowed to moderate, it may backfire against the Dems bc obviously this lady cannot contain her love for Obama. Did anyone hear her comments on Palin after the RNC? Not very bipartisan. I cannot beleive she is even considered! Better call Jim. Ifill is yet another journalist letting American down for being partisan.


Jack Black said:

Please... Quit your whining. McCain's camp knew about (or should have known) about the book. It was already being marketed BEFORE they agreed to the debate. Oh, I forgot, McCain and you Repubs are big on vetting. You all are just so completely incapable of governing. It's sad...


Mike said:

I am very disappointed on your choice for the moderator in the upcoming debates. I will no longer contribute to PBS, and will encourage my friends, family, and colleagues to do likewise. It is not to late for you to make the right decision.


vcarey said:

This is outragous. Find another moderator PBS. This woman has a personal interest in the Obama camp, PBS your bias is showing badly!! I will withdraw my support and conservatives alike if Ifill is allowed to moderate.


Jefferson said:

Why is it a conflict of interest for Gwen Iffill to moderate a vice presidential debate that will be meaningless in the long run, but not a conflict of interest for Paulsen to orchestrate a 700 billion dollar "bailout" for Wall Street investment firms after working for years for Goldman Sachs, a Wall Street investment firm? Why no cry foul over Paulsen who will determine the future economy of the nation for years to come? Or are you just finding out about that too? No wonder this country is going down the tubes.


Leah said:

Ms. Ifil is writing a book about trends in African American politics, culminating in the historically important nomination of Barack Obama as the presidential candidate for the Democratic Party.

The bias of Obama's opponents is showing, as they assume that a book about politics by a black journalist must be in praise of Barack Obama.

The conflict is in the suspicious minds of folks who fear their day of political dominance might just be over.


t said:

If Gwen Ifill is a true professional she will recuse herself in time for her replacement to prepare. The main stream media would be up in arms if the conflict of interest gave the impression of bias against their candidate. There is one way those of us who are disappointed in PBS can send a message~our support.


Eric Ferguson said:

I am disgusted by all the fake, manufactured outrage about Gwen Ifill. So what if she is writing a book about Obama. Gwen Ifill must be allowed to moderate this debate. It would be a huge mistake for PBS to replace her. It is impossible to get a moderator that is not biased one way or the other. That is why personal ethics and professionalism is important. Gwen Ifill is ethical and professional and will do an excellent job moderating the debate. Don't let politically motivated fake outrage cow PBS into submission.


t said:

Many of those commenting do not seem to understand Ms Ifill's financial interest with the sale of her book has everything to do with the outcome of the election. Being the controlling force in a debate a month before the election she has the possibility to affect the outcome of the debate and therefore the election.


B Papa said:


Gwen Ifil has much to gain if Obama wins; there is an obvious conflict of interest. Ifil should step down.


Jan said:

When you hear about Gwen Ifill having a "conflict of interest" and her being "politically biased", doesn't it make you want to stop and scratch you head? Consider the reputation of the NewsHour. Journalists from The NewsHour were chosen to moderate the debate for a reason. Doesn't the assertion of her "bias" strain your credibility? Then, consider the source of the "information" that Gwen Ifill is "biased". Maybe take a minute to find out the facts. Since Ms. Ifill's book deal was announced in July and the McCain camp agreed to have her be the moderator in late August, why did this story about her "bias" arise the night before the debate? Who benefits?


revolutionisnowdotcom said:

First of all, let me say that I can clearly understand a Republican's outrage at learning that the moderator for the Vice Presidential debates is a BLACK WOMAN who has written a book ( scheduled for release after Inauguration Day ) about African-American politicians - including, of course, soon-to-be President-elect Barack Obama. But in this post-modern world of internet news, media and entertainment, this information was out there. Certain forces held the information from us ignorant folks until the appropriate time - sort of like when an athlete's wife brings up adultery charges right before he plays in a big game, even though she could have charged him weeks earlier. But let's be real. Do you really think Gwen Ifill is going to risk her professional career and her reputation by visibly skewing the climate of the debate? Will she purposefully be biased against those she does not agree with, just for the petty sake of being biased? Think as an open-minded person, if possible. Don't use your own closed-minded, petty, vindictive and spiteful thoughts to project Ifill as someone who has to think and behave as you do. There are smarter, sharper and more conscious people than you out there. People who have earned the respect of their peers and subsequently been given the privilege to handle important issues. What, you don't think that FOX news selectively screens its coverage and broadcasting to portray a certain image? They are well-known for the kind of media they produce. Which is why certain people avoid FOX news - it's their right to do so. This is no more than a Vice-Presidential debate. Think Cheney, Quayle, Ferraro, Edwards, etc. The only reason this one has relevance is that McCain has chosen a candidate who, in the event of his death in office, has not shown anyone - Democrats, Republicans or Independents - that she is ready to be our President. My God, there are too many critical issues in our world today than to imagine this Moose-killer who three years ago was trying to ban books becoming our Commander In Chief. McCain is losing because he has made bad decisions, decisions he would likely make as President. Barack Obama may be a little inexperienced, but he believes in himself and the hope that America can return to its status as a beacon of justice for the world. God help us all if he does not become President.


J Hospel said:

Wow, there is a revolt. Iifl is a great moderator. With all the comments above, I think she should recuse herself from the debate moderator position until this is blown over. Perhaps the planners have not thought this fully through. The people or the audients are very sensitive to such occasions and very alert to any unfairness or bias by any moderator even for Iifl. She is such able person. To get her exposed to such a controversy would simply be not fair to her and PBS. I am a great listener to all the programs that PBS puts on.


Pam Mclaughlin said:

Hi,

I agree that Gwen should step down. I have heard several comments she has made recently that are biased toward the Dems. I hope PBS will make every effort to insure an unbiased VP debate.


Throughout the course of the history of our nation certain Americans have displayed overwhelming ignorance, simply because they have been priviledged to do so. It's mind-boggling how the priviledged never seem to be satisfied. Who would have thought that Gwen Ifill being a moderator to the Palin/Biden debate would have caused such a stir. If, We the people would take a chance on confronting and dealing with the RAW TRUTH as to why this country and our nation is in the delapidating condition it is now in, the majority of our problems could be solved.
But, because America is not willing to face the TRUTH about racism, injustice, prejudice, inequality,oppression, depression and every other form of unfair treatment imposed on the underpriviledged and upheld by the inception of the constitution and it's loophole of lies; here we are in the twenty-first century, still ignorant, still prejudice and
still afraid of THE TRUTH. Hopefully, ONE DAY someone will be noble enough to lead us to a time in history where
THE TRUTH will not be such a hard, bitter pill to swallow. So, until we arrive at that time and place in history, liars will still be lying and rejecting others because of jealousy. (Which seems to be the case toward Gwen Ifill). And those who are prejudice will still be displaying their ignorance because they are to afraid to embrace the TRUTH.
In the meantime those of us who know where we can get the best quality of truth with fair, forthright media coverage and unbiased personalities (with integrity), will continue to stay tuned to the awesome broadcasts via PBS.


Jeff Drago said:

Gwen Ifill is a professional. She is writing a book. The book will be a collection of chapters about the rise of African-Americans in US politics. One chapter will be about Barack Obama. There is no way she can write on the subject without including him. Kwitcherbitchin'

The subject of the book has been well known since July, long before the debates were scheduled and the moderators were approved by BOTH parties. What is YOUR problem? McCain doesn't feel there will be any discrimination against Palin, why do YOU?

PERHAPS McCAIN CHOSE A WOMAN VP CANDIDATE ONLY BECAUSE HE KNEW THERE WOULD BE A WOMAN MODERATOR FOR THE VP DEBATE. HE WAS DEPENDING ON PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT! OH, THE CUNNING OF THE MAN!

Hey, that makes as much sense as YOUR complaint...


John Pinnero said:

I am very disappointed with the appointment of Gwen Lfill as moderator for tonight's debate. She has a vested interest in Obama's becoming president because she will sell more of her book. She cannot remain unbiased.

Accordingly,I will never send one more dollar to PBS.

You should never have apppointed her because no doubt you knew about her upcoming book. You add to the distrust that the aveage amerian has about the media


Kate Saunders said:

Ifill should REMOVE herself as moderator of tomorrow night's VP debate. She is clearly not impartial relative to who wins this election, as she has represented. In any other situation, her removal would be requested, since the moderator should be someone impartial. There's no way anyone can be truly impartial, I don't care how professional they consider themselves to be, when they stand to potentially make a significant amount of money on a pro-Obama book, should Obama win the election. I'm a democrat, but I want an impartial moderator to ensure there is fairness to both sides. I'm interested in truly seeing how the VP candidates do, without influence from the moderator. In this case, my trust is shot in Ifill - and she will only be a hindrance at this point. REMOVE yourself, Ifill, and demonstrate your professionalism.


Karen said:

I don't care if the moderator is a Green Martian. If that Green Martian has shown itself to biased and has some financial gain riding on the outcome of the election then that Green Martian has just disqualifed itself as a unbiased moderator. SHAME ON YOU PBS for choosing such a Green Martian!


Karen C said:

In response to Leah's comments - you may want to check - the last I heard the democrats were the dominate party.


Jan Aldrich said:

Journalistic intergrity. Contradiction is terms. The argument that Ifill is a professional doesn't hold water. Judges take themselves out of the picture when there is apparent conflict of interest, not because they are not professional or becuase can't be impartial, but because the mere appearance is damaging. Here Ifill has an economic interest. PBS silence is shameful, but not surprising this day in age. With a few exceptions the only comments on by other TV news organizations last evening were on the tabliod shows.


Mitch Bonnett said:

The fact that 95% of the comments here are about the moderator instead of the debate participants and their positions should tell Ifill and PBS that she should not moderate the debate. If she does moderate the debate, after failing to disclose the book deal to the Republicans, then this decision by Ifill and PBS will be used to beat up PBS for years to come. Were Jim Lehrer in this position, he would have already stepped aside. That Gwen Ifill hasn't speaks volumes....


Jim said:

I have contributed to PBS in the past and will discontinue doing so going forward. Like most Americans over the age of 30, I am conservative and disagree with the pending liberal policies that an Obama administration would bring at precisely the wrong time - the economy is on the brink and we are at war with terrorists.

It is not important to me that Ms. Ifill may or may not be impartial to Governor Palin - I actually think she will lean left to score points with the "home team" - but the prima facie conflict of interest that she has should cause her to alert the commission and to recuse herself. It is amazing to me that liberals are willing to avert their eyes from obvious lies, conflicts and other abuses by journalists and "their" candidates in an overt attempt to "win at any cost". I do believe that America will finally "get it" prior to November 4 and they will take the "rigged" election and change the outcome.

I wish Senator Obama luck in his campaign, but I think he is a coward for accepting all of the "help" from the media and money from the crooks on Wall St. who have caused major distress for our country.


shannon said:

It's funny to me how scared everyone is that the moderator is going to blow it for Sarah Palin...I think she's been blowing it on her own lately-just check the polls. The fact that Gwen was writing a book (that has been planned for forever, that is not specifically about Obama but about African Americans in modern leadership roles, and the McCain camp knew this all along), should not have a bearing on the debate. This is just another scapegoat for to say poor Sara in case she doesn't do well. The spin will be inevitable after the debate as most of you are already setting it up. If she does great, then we're sure to hear how wonderful Gwen was and really did her job. If she doesn't do very good, then I'm sure Gwen will be blamed (couldn't possibly be the candidates!). Give me a break.


Fred B said:

Ifill should excuse herself immediately. If this debate happens with Ifill as moderator then PBS will forever come to mean President oBama's Sponsor. If PBS whats any creditability in the future a different moderator is needed.
It is hard to believe that someone with personal financial based on the outcome of this debate the right person to be moderator. Shame on PBS.


Jeff Lahrman said:

Hopefully Gwen will be professional as moderator. But I am suprised that PBS did not know of her book which is a conflict of interest. But if she is not professional and her partisanship gets in the way, this will affect support and donations to PBS by the American public.


Richard Marlia said:

I cannot understand how PBS can afford to stake its reputation and future contributions on this debate now knowing the facts. Can you imagine the backlash that will result if even one question is construed as unfair?
PBS has excellent programming and should find another moderator.


Gloria Woods said:

I think the attempt to slander Gwen Ifill is shameful. She has a well-deserved-and well-documented-reputation for the highest standards of journalistic ethics. No one who has criiticized her for her upcoming book has even read it. I suggest her critics join the rest of us in watching the VP debate tonite, and be prepared to apologize.


Susan Barrett said:

Mr. Blakely,

Can you see there is a conflict of interest? Gwen Ifill might be superb at what she does, but is it fair to have a biased moderator when a moderator is someone who should be the nonpartisan presiding officer of a town meeting? She hardly qualifies. Our family will pull our support for PBS if Gwen Ifill moderates tonight. Shame on you PBS!!


jim said:

I am shocked by Gwen Ifill's blatant lack of journalistic integrity. It is a journalist's responsibility to report conflicts of interest. Yet she did not report to the Presidential debate commision that she was in the midst of writing a book about Barack Obama and his "stunning presidential race".

How can we trust any news from Gwen when such an obvious conflict of interest is ommitted and even defended? Gwen needs to resign immediately to minimize damage on the reputation of PBS's good name. Anything less will reflect upon PBS as a whole, diminishing the credibility that they have worked so hard to develop over many years.

Gwen, how could you shame your organization and profession so blatantly?


Eric said:

So sad that we are letting this happen. As good as Gwen is, she clearly should not be moderating the debate. We are constantly painted with the bias brush, and this will only do us more harm


daydreaminmeme said:

The simple fact of the matter is that Ifill stands to profit financially from ANY controversy surrounding this debate due to the fact that she has penned a book about one of the candidates in this election. She stands poised to gain at least $350,000 from potential sales of her book which will be released in January.This constitutes a conflict of interest and she should recuse herself on those grounds. It has absolutely nothing to do with her ability to be fair and impartial;it has everything to do with her integrity and professionalism as a journalist.


chris said:

I think people are getting worked up over nothing....
1 Why not write a book about the change in interest in american politics as it refers to the black community. Be it on either side of the fence. Obama has sparked interest in a group that has felt disenfranchised with the political process as a whole. I think in the end there will more minority interest in both parties because the focus will be more on idealogy and oppurtunity than race.
2 The book isn't just about Obama. From what I hear the single chapter about him wont be finished until after the election. So it's hard to say that her depiction of him will be favorable. Things still have to play out. Ifill is a professional and her credability is on the line if she puts out someting thats blatently bias.
3 She will be a good moderator and will ask questions the public wants to hear and a few about issues that are very important but are not in the press everyday.

Being a black woman the republicans will try to drag her name through the mud, especially after she asks something that they haven't prepped their VP for. This worries them more than anything. They will claim she biased.
Remember people she is just doing her job


Vermonter said:

I shake my head and chuckle over the McCain supporters expressing "horror" over Iffil's "surprise" and "hidden" book! Gimme a break. The book is not yet complete, anyway, but has also been "out there" in full view, on Amazon, and discussed elsewhere, since JULY!

If the Republicans had been on the ball, they could have easily spotted it and hollered a long time ago, but they were obviously asleep at the switch -- as they have been about so many things, like pressing McCain to grasp at straws with Palin, an obviously unqualified "long shot" who is now finally penetrating the "common senses" of so many of their own voters.

Get with it, folks. Iffil will be professional, and will ask hard questions of BOTH candidates. However, I doubt if Palin will be able to just smile sweetly and BS her "Joe 6-pack" way through this, any more than when asked basic questions by others, when she was allowed out of the closet.

Vermonter


Kate said:

If Gwen Ifill has the integrity and journalistic ethics you reference, she will remove herself as moderator. The overwhelming public opinion relative to this (bipartisan) speaks for itself. Now it's time for her actions to back up her reputation. Thre's no slander here. I'm expecting her to step aside voluntarily, and demonstrate her level of integrity and ethics. If she doesn't, I personally believe that in and of itself will speak volumes.

I'm tired of empty words without the action to back them up. I'm tired of hearing journalists and politicians alike making claims that their actions/records simply don't evidence. I'm a democrat, and even I see that in Obama. He's a great speaker - inspiring even - but there's no record, evidence, or action to back up much of what he's saying. Anyone one can say great things. Being inspiring is definitley a gift. But what has he actually DONE that qualifies him to be the next President of one of the greatest countries in the world??? Are we seriously considering electing a president that has NO executive experience in ANYTHING?? No business experience? No foreign policy experience? How can we ignore the people he has chosen as mentors and friends? Why isn't he willing to fully disclose education, contribution and countless other information? Why aren't we demanding this? HELLO...?? America, are you serious??


Michael-Paul Dix said:

I agree with Ben McGuire. I'm black and I feel that Ms. Ifill should step down also. That way the McCain campaign won't have anything to complain about if/when Sarah Palin beefs it. To me their outrage seems staged, especially when it was no secret that the book was set to come out. My guess is that since they couldn't get the debate called off like McCain originally wanted (thats why he suspended his campaign and wanted the 1st presidential debate moved to the slot in which today's vice-presidential debate will be held), his campaign found a reason to scream "bias" in order to detract attention away from Sarah Palin's ignorance on foreign and economic affairs in these United States. I feel that she (Ifill) should let somebody else moderate this one because I can already hear the deck being shuffled, and if she DOES moderate, McCain/Palin and all their friends on FoxNews and talk radio are going to pull that old, familiar race card.


Teri said:


I believe Gwen should not be the moderator for tonights debate. She clearly has a bias to Obama. One solution might be to have dual moderators - I'm sure we can get Sean Hannity to balance this debate. Would the democrats stand for that......I think not.


SJ Schmidt said:

Dear Ms. Ifill,

Well, like it or not, you've become a part of the story in this vice presidential debate. That should not be entirely unexpecteded given the topic of your new book and the hyper-partisan nature of modern presidential politics and the "opinion" media of the right and left.

I'm sure you're receiving all kinds of advice today, but I thought I would share the view of an average joe. I think you need to take a minute at the start of the debate for full disclosure, and explaine the topic of your book you?ve authored. In addition, you should contact both presidential campaigns and the vice presidential candidates and offer to recuse yourself and substitute your colleague, Jim Lehrer, if either side objects. Of course, neither side will object because to do so would be a sign of weakness. You could let the audience know of the steps you've taken and in so doing you will have done all you can to eliminate the issue. More importantly, the American public will appreciate your candor and it will engender trust.

Silence on the issue, which I expect is the natural tendency of both moderators and the Debate Commission, will only feed the beast.

It's your debate. Take charge and good luck!

SJ Schmidt


Andy said:

Gwen's credentials and professionalism speak for themselves. I am sure she will do an excellent job exposing the truth. I just hope she doesn't play softball with Governor Palin to dispel the criticism she's been getting from the McCain support squad. Judging from some of the comments here, I would say they are out in full force trying to intimidate and coerce her to go easy on Palin.


Alice said:

Gwen Ifil may be the most professional, ethical journalist out there. But she clearly has a conflict of interest. Appearance is everything. A judge who has any possible conflict of interest would recuse himself from a court case regardless of how professional or ethical or wonderful he might be. A CPA would not audit the books of a company in which he has a financial stake due to lack of independence and a conflict of interest. Likewise, a journalist should have the integrity to do the same when there is clearly a conflict of interest. The appearance of bias (whether it exists or not) is enough to taint the debate. PBS knows this and it is outrageous that they would go forward knowing this fact. I, along with millions of others, have lost respect for PBS --- no matter how wonderfully Ifil might perform. This isn't about performance -- it is about integrity. In fact, I believe that Obama himself should ask for her to be replaced, i.e. if he were a man of true integrity.


Ken said:

Gwen, I believe you can be a profession unbiased moderator. Please ask both candidates their positions on reparations for African Americans.


Rev. Scott Kaminsky said:

How can Gwen Ifill possible be unbiased in her questioning of Sarah Palin if she is writing a book praising Obama...This is outrageous...unethical...liberal bias at its worse...Gwen needs to excuse herself and let someone else do the Vice Presidential Debate....I will not watch anything on PBS....anymore...The American people won't settle for this liberal bias media....anymore...


Rev. Scott Kaminsky said:

If this situation was reversed...and Gwen Ifill was writing a book about John McCain...the mainstream media would cry foul....The Mainstream Media are a bunch of God bashing, Christian bashing, anti-family (pro- gay), anti life (pro-abortion...baby killing) folks who are bent on destroying American...and Judeo Christian values...Tragic...


Lyz Wyatt said:

If Iffel was a professional she would have recused herself when originally asked to moderate. She has a financial stake in Obama winning and therefore is BIASED!!! I will not subscribe to PBS again!


Vince said:

lets stick to the facts here:

1. Date book announced/listed on amazon, etc - July 2008

2.Date both campaigns negotiated debate terms...location, format, Moderator - August 2008

3.First we're hearing about this from the McCain camp, media - three days before the debate


Either the McCain campaign is incompetent in their vetting process (:cough: Palin), didn't think it was a problem, or waited until now to make this an issue and an excuse.

Any other explanation?


Alex said:

It amazes me the ability of people to position themselves as the poor and persecuted minority when they've been in power for 8 years.


Louise said:

How many of those leaving negative comments even know what is in this book you are talking about? I see a woman being crucified by folks who don't know anything about what they are talking about. Bias? How do you know? Favoritism? Says who? Why the rush to judgment? Why are people so eager to assume the worst?


Todd said:

I believe Ifill should excuse herself also. She stands to make a monetary gain if Obama is elected. How can she be unbiased knowing that if McCain/Palin are elected her book won't be nowhere near as profitable as it would if Obama is elected? If she's so full of these "journalistic ethics" (like that really exists in todays liberal media), shouldn't she remove herself? If you don't see this, you probably should take the "blinders" off or wake up and smell the crap...


D. Puthoff said:

What happened to ethics? I was always taught (home and by a major employer) that if there is a possibility of the appearance of something being improper, one should admit it. Ms. Ifill, by the mere instance of not declaring her book plans to those in charge of the Debate, would be investigated for improper ethics by my employer, and would probably be relieved of her position, if not fired from the company.
I conclude that PBS and Ms. Ifill do not meet my employer threshold of ethical behavior. Therefore, PBS has lost my support.


ljs said:

The way PBS is handling the debut and the perception of PBS being fair is all bad. Ifill should not be allowed to moderate the debut. You should have her replaced and do it quickly.

I love PBS. This situation is horrible. Save face and make the change.


cglrcng said:

I too would be full of this "extreme phony yell-it- constantly outrage" about a fairly worthless (most VP debates are actually worthless, as "smart" voters don't vote for the bottom of the ticket...though idiot Republicans do), debate moderator, if in fact my candidate chose a completely unvetted talking point master but empty head in a political prank. Ahhhh, it won't be Ifill that "Pretty-But-Shrill" Talkin' Point Palin will have to worry about tonight, Biden is going to mop the floor w/ that mop she has plastered to the back & top of her head. She can play RepubliKKKan rope-a-dope all she wants, but she faces an expert in foreign policy tonight and the best she will be able to come up w/ is "I can see Russia from my back yard" and I finally met a Foreign Head of State last week and we talked about his family.


Kat said:

Poor, pitiful, put-upon Palin :(


GMan 310 said:

Sarah Palin's debating style is rather consistent, and has been demonstrated on at least three occasions; the question about what papers she reads (everything...); what John McCain has done in 26 years in the Senate to help with regulating the financial markets (I'll get back to you.); and what Supreme Court cases she supports (circled the question, returning to her opposition to Roe v. Wade), but never actually mentioned any other case. In all cases, she initially attempted to evade the question by responding in vague generalities, but when pressed for specifics, was unable to actually answer the question.

When confronted with a troublesome question, the debater provides a vague response with an air of absolute certainty, but in the final analysis, they either lie (hoping that you are not as confidant about your facts and are unable to retort with the same degree of certainty), or they circle back to what they know (creating the illusion that they are very knowledgeable), but never actually answer the question.

It has been said that "Governor Palin is a master, not of facts, figures, or insightful policy recommendations, but at the fine art of the nonanswer, the glittering generality. Against such charms there is little Senator Biden, or anyone, can do."

Actually, there is. Katie Couric did EXACTLY what you should do. Reiterate the question, and insist on a real answer. Start with "Can you name one?" And don't give her a "multiple choice", give her a "fill in the blank".


cglrcng said:

Time to go a fishin' Ol' Joe Biden.....Let's rig up a jig to catch some Barracuda....Hey Ma'....You git' that fryin' pan gud-an-hot, then you Joe'll slice it, Iffell'll gut it, and the American people will dice it. Mmmmmm, Barracuddddddddaaaaaa. GILF, but not have as the next Pretzledent. She'd choke on her talkin' points. Send "Shrill Sarah" back to Alaska please! Poor, pitiful, put-upon Sarah as the last poster said (Sry, it just fits).


cglrcng said:

Gotta run....On MSNBC News I just saw that "Traitor Joe" LIEberman was having a fire sale on "smokescreened" Barracuda.


Susan said:

I am saddened by this obvious joke of a moderator. What is PBS thinking?

It does not matter if the moderator is black, white, irish, dutch, chinese, man or woman, the moderator in any debate must be neutral to be fair.. I have been told by friends over and over that PBS is very liberal but I did not see it. Now I do. I probably will not watch. The outcome is too obvious. With a neutral moderator it would have been fun and electric, This will just be a smear by a left thinking moderator. No matter how professional she will not be able to hide her beliefs, her opinions and desire to do as many "gotcha's as possible. Will she do that for both sides. How sad.
I have 6 children and 8 grandchildren. After almost 40 years of thinking PBS was simply educational, we will look elsewhere for programming and products. How Sad.


Sylvia Gammill said:

PBS, I think you should change moderators. Ms. Ifill lacked integrity in not bringing this to your attention ahead of time. It will tarnish this debate no matter what. Put another black moderator if you want to, but she clearly has a conflict of interest.


Kaye said:

It is obvious she is for Obama, but you can not say that or it is politcally incorrect or you are a racist according to the people to which she is associated. If this was about anyone else, you can be sure the left would be crying a hissy fit.


Matthew said:

How sad is it that more than 95% of these comments are written by naiive, ignorant, emotional, brainwashed, pawns who base their beliefs on the rhetoric and propaganda of the corporate media and dishonest, greedy politicians! Poor America! Good luck tonight Palin...you'll need it.


kbman said:

Comment from above ...
_____________________________________________________________________________________
I hope both candidates are asked about the counsel they have provided to their respective presidential nominees. I know Senator McCain has stated he has asked Governer Palin for her input regarding foreign affairs, so am interested in which topics Governer Palin provided input. Though Senator Obama has not mentioned any specific areas he has consulted with Senator Biden, I would be interested to know what areas, if any, he has done so.
_____________________________________________________________________________________

Do you even have a clue? Do you know who Joe Biden is and what he does in the Senate?

http://www.senate.gov/~foreign/

If you're too lazy to go to the link I'll give you the answer. He is the Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Not only has Senator Obama consulted with both him and the Ranking Member of the committee, Republican Senator Dick Lugar, he asked Senator Biden to visit Georgia during the latest crisis there.

Sheesh! I hate it when uninformed people think they're wise and worldly. Your idiotic question shows nothing but ignorance. Furthermore, I think everyone took McCain's claim with a nod and a wink. He was merely trying to bolster her image and apparent credentials. Considering that Palin is a communications-journalism graduate, and considering her inability to answer straightforward questions in a coherent fashion, and considering her inability to name EVEN ONE newspaper or magazine she has EVER read, I think it is frightening to consider the possibility that McCain has ever asked her advice on anything.

And ironically, I agree with you. I also HOPE that this question is asked because it will make it clear just how lightweight Palin is in comparison with Biden.


juli said:

This is such a leftists leaning channel. Shame on Ifil for not telling the comminsion. It's not a racist comment to show that the woman is in the tank for Obama. I wonder if her book will include glowing remarks for ClarenceThomas, Michael Steele, or JC Watts. WIll it have any nice words for Condi Rice? WIll it encourage Lt. Col Allan West? I DOUBT IT VERY MUCH> Only liberal Democrats.


Matt said:

Gwen Ifill has tainted the VP debate before it has even started. The best thing that Ifill can do for America right now is to step down as debate moderator.


Priscilla said:

Ifill should be removed from tonights debate. her presence there would show improprieties and will nor be fair. She has monies vetted on this one. PBS who supports your station and pays yopur bills? This is not faie excuse yourself Ifill you have received enough publicity.


Karen Pannell said:

I agree that Ifill should not moderate the debate tonight. I have always looked to PBS for unbiased reporting. If Ifill were truly a professional, she would have declined the position of moderator, knowing it would cause controvery.


The Zak Family said:

Is there no objectivity left at PBS? As it turns out, Ifill did not tell debate organizers about her book. How can we now trust her to be objective? She has a financial stake in Obama winning this election. This is so blantanly biased, PBS. And we've been supporting PBS for years. What a slap! You will never get another dime from us, ever! Get Ifill off NOW!


michael twarogowski said:

Conflict of interest? Greed? Recusing? Tainted? Huh? Gwen Ifil is not a Supreme Court Justice - she will not be appointing the next president. She is a moderator - she will be asking questions and reminding the participants of the rules they have agreed to follow.

And, like Vince said above:

"lets stick to the facts here:
1. Date book announced/listed on amazon, etc - July 2008
2.Date both campaigns negotiated debate terms...location, format, Moderator - August 2008"

nuff said
tszspr


jazznut said:

If you agree with PBS to allow Gwen Ifill to be in charge of this debate then you will really love the government bail out deal. Both are or will be government run and both are or will be failures!
PBS is unashamedly left. If this is a surprise to any of you, you haven't been paying attention.


Shame OnPBS said:

PBS, this is shameful and will never be forgotten. I hope that every Republican remembers this garbage during future pledge drives.


Conny said:

Gwen Ifill ought to be fired for not revealing to the Commission on Presidential Debates that she stands to make a profit from her new book that will discuss and promote Obama, even remotely. How can she say she'll be objective? It's a horrible conflict of interest and she has discredited herself in my eyes. I can no longer watch PBS news programs because they all have become so blatently leftist and now with this episode. have complete lack of any journalistic integrity.


Shirley said:

I have been unhappy with Gwen Ifill's recent demeanor and tone while reporting on Republicans. I am outraged now that she is moderating this VP debate tonight. I have no respect for her or the PBS network for allowing such a blatant act of bias. She even includes his name in the title of her book! The release date alone proves her intent to profit from him and his campaign. I don't believe her comment today that she has not written his chapter in the book yet. I don't believe a word she says!
She never told the Debate Commission about her book. She is unfit to moderate this debate and a lousy journalist!!
I will never watch PBS again and I will never contribute to the network ever again!!!
I hope you lose a lot of contributions for your part in permitting her to tarnish your network name!
Shame on all of you!!!!!


Pat Bell said:

In the case of incest or rape resulting in pregnancy, Sarah Palin has repeatedly said that she would "counsel" the victim to carry the child to term. She refuses to go into more detail about her stance on abortion.
Therefore, she must agree that someone else may "counsel" the same victim to abort the pregnancy.
Does this make Sarah Palin "pro-choice"?
Since the Christian Right has put her on a pedestal, they should expect Palin to take a more public pro-life stance. Stop beating around the bush Sarah...tell us what you really think.


jazznut said:

Gwen Ifill, where might i look for that best seller you wrote on Clarence Thomas? Oh sorry, he isnt really important to the left. We should only promote books or unwritten chapters of successful blacks on the left.

PatBell

The only answer that would ever be acceptable to your kind is "Let them kill the baby"


LR Massa said:

It's time someone besides lawyers are in Washington. GO SARAH
Shake up Washington as only a Hockey Mom can.


scott said:

How much more money does Gwen Ifill stand to make from her book if Obama wins the election. Gwen hosting a VP debate when she has personal interest in the out come stinks of a conflict of interest. There is more than an appearance of impropriety. She should step down as moderator

This is another blaring example of media bias. How can PBS an organization that�s funded by the federal government be so lopsided toward one political party?
I�m sick of it!


JIM moreland said:

If you are aleft leaning american...picture yourself in a world of right and far-right media every where you turn: NBC,CBS,ABC, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, etc., would all have right to far right ediotrials, editors, columns. Every now and then a left to far left point of view would be allowed. That is the workd conservatives live in. Ms. Ifill is a very big part of that left leaning world of jounalism. Now, you still haven't left that Right leaning world of journalism, and the VP debates come up. AND guess what, the moderator of those upcoming debates is none other than BILL O"REILLY. Are you upset? Or saw it's George Will. Any questions?


Barbara Tonnesen said:

Why is News Hour with Jim Lehrer showing a picture of the entrance to St. Louis University when the debate is at Washington University in St. Louis. This is misleading.


VJG said:

Palin's toast....


G. Privette said:

Wow, I started this BLOG only yesterday and look where it's gone! Honestly, the hate I see in people's comments concerns me. I can't believe that the Dem's can possibly think that the McCain-Palin ticket are not patriotic or not well meaning. John has offerred his life for us on the battlefield. Doesn't that at least deserve him some respect? Thankfully, this blog has been better than many I've seen. I'm not so concerned about Sarah's performance with Gwen on the floor as I am the questions Gwen might select (does Gwen choose them? I'm not sure but I would suspect so as Jim L did before). It would be too easy to select questions that would be much easier for a Senator Biden to answer than Sarah. You stack enough of those together and you increase your odds of more book sales (many more!). I believe Gwen is a professional - but it's the appearance of it all is not professional. If McCain-Palin still wanted Gwen as narrator, knowing about the pending book (with Obama in the title), then I suppose all our talk is misplaced.


Debra Geh said:

Snake....Money Hungry Snake
Gwen ......Your principles and conduct is shameful.
You put money from a book above ethics for your country.
PBS should be a shamed of you.....I am.


Audra Hoffman said:

First and foremost, people need to relax on whether or not a MODERATOR shoudl recuse themselves. Who are we going to find to moderate? A person who has lived under a rock? It would be impossible to find a moderator who is completely unbiased. All of the people who would be available to moderate are or have shilled a book that they are writing. If you get someone the Republicans want, the Democrats will be angry and say that isn't fair; if you get someone the Democrats want, the Republicans will start crying about the "liberal media" that doesn't exist. I think we should get over the moderator and pay attention to the issues.


pete said:

i notice that they keep the camera on sarah palin and keep biden barely on him they bounce back to sarahs smug smile and she stares at the camera as if she can actually see you just a minipulative sort of broadcast strange for pbf


cindy ryan said:

I couldn't even watch the debate. How could Sarah Palin stand there and debate with a moderator who clearly has an ax to grind with her. Another reason (besides the obvious) why Ifil should have stepped down, is because the candidates have unfair advantages and disadvantages. Biden has the confidence in knowing Ifil is on his side. Palin knows the woman hates her, so she is outnumbered. The comments Ifil made about Sarah Palin after the Republican convention were reprehensible. How could a woman make these comments about another woman? Does anyone question the democrats ability to parent and run for office? Shame on you PBS. Im sick of your liberal bias and programming and I will no longer watch your programming or contribute. Why cant you present an unbiased front? Get rid of these people who cant just report facts but have to inject their opinions, when most people dont care about them?


K Hesse said:

I cannot believe how Gwen is letting Sarah prattle on whatever she wants and not answer the questions! This is not a debate but another campaign stop for Sarah.
I am so disppointed in Gwen's lack of control over the "debate."


Audra Hoffman said:

Again, there is no such thing as an unbiased moderator when it comes to politics. I am actually completely saddened by the inability of what I hope to be intelligent people complaining as to whether or not PBS is a liberal station. Does it matter? If it runs on CNN does that mean that the issues will make more sense. Move forward people...what is important here are the issues, is Palin experienced and does she plan to do good things for the average American? Does joe Biden? That is what we should be worried about, not who the moderator is and their agenda, because if we had to find an ubiased moderator, we would have to go to some third world country without televisions or literacy and maybe then everyone would be happy. It is high time that Republicans stopped waving the imaginary "liberal media" flag and calling liberals rude names. It is high time that Democrats stopped calling Republicans idiots. Just because someone doesn't agree with you doesn't mean they are an idiot. Republicans, just as you believe strongly in your cause, democrats belive JUST as strongly in theirs. I don't understand why the two sides refuse to actually have a conversation with one another...we would both be surprised by how much we truly have in common.


Marilyn Ward said:

For eight years, I've listened to George W Bush pronounce nuclear as 'nucular' - does anyone else agree that anyone who can't pronounce the word should not have any power over the 'red button'? I'm so tired of our choosing candidates based on their being 'like us'. I'm sorry, but I would not in any way want one of my dear friends to be president. I want someone who is much smarter, more reasonable and certainly more 'in the know' about how the world governments and economies work. That takes someone more intelligent than a beauty queen and small-town mayor/governor, and with John McCain's age a real question in my mind, I won't support a ticket that has Sarah Palin as a possible president. MW


kathybrothers said:

Is it odd that Ifill pronounces "Pakistan" the same way Senator Obama does?


melissa said:

Wow, she is saying what she 'would do' but never gives any direct plan. i agree with the other who've commented here about Mrs. Palin. How is she able to just go on and on about whatever she wants to talk about. She's not answering the questions for real. She is doing a lot of double talk!! I tell you what, these past few weeks, since she flubbed her last interview, they have trained the pup really well. How in the world can she say John McCain "knows" how to win a war! He has never led a war! He was a pilot... oh sheesh, why is Gwen not pointing out that this woman keeps saying 'oh all Americans want straight talk, but she is talking in so many circles, it is blowing my mind!'


HT said:

I agree with K Hesse. A debate needs a certain discipline; otherwise it ends up each candidate giving ready-made speeches. And that is the job of the moderator to impose the discipline. We are interested in finding out each VP candidate's apptitude, both in specific topics and general intelligence. With such poor moderation, we just cannot get we want to find out.


Sean said:

We are one hour into the VP debates and I don't think the republicans have a thing to worry about. Gwen is allowing Governor Palin to deliver her prepared speeches that she was coached to do instead of engaging in an actual debate. To do so would be a disaster for the republicans and I have to give them credit for banking on the fact that no one wanted to push Palin too hard. She has smiled big and pretty for the camera in a pathetic attempt to dupe the public into thinking that the words coming out of her mouth came from her own brain. It's Gwen's job to keep the debate focused and the candidates centered on answering the questions posed to them and she is failing miserably. If Palin says the word "maveric" or "gosh darnit" one more time with that condescending smile, I'm going to puke.


heidi m said:

palin has no connection to me at all! she needs to cut this "we" stuff out - what a crock! her kids get flown to the Great Alaskan Shootout at taxpayer expense, she takes money from taxpayers to stay in her own home, at least biden is honest about his lifestyle and isn't trying to paint himself as "one of the regular people". MAVERICK AGAIN!!!


heidi m said:

up there- go back up there - again she is just reciting the republican rhetoric


mitch said:

Why does Joe Biden consistently get to answer last? Fair? I don't think so.


heidi m said:

Biden started and ended because of a coin toss. What I want to know is why Palin was allowed to blather on so very much. No substance, just repeating the rhetoric that she has been trained to spew.


John Haggerty said:

At 9:45 she said we are working with NATO and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Oops...


separker02 said:

Well, Gwen didn't go after Palin at all, even though her bad results from other interviews clearly warranted different treatment. Palin has no props that should allow her a pass, yet she got them all throughout. She was not forced to answer questions. If Gwen had kept coming back to her demanding an answer to questions, there would have been no opportunity for Palin to speak on other issues. I think Gwen caved to the pressure she had been getting because of the upcoming book.

Thankfully, Palin has been so bad otherwise that this one debate probably won't change the swing in the polls. And after Obama takes McCain on two more times, the dye should be cast. What a shame, however, that a woman with such then credentials gets such kid glove treatment. I have more executive experience than Palin, and had I been in such a debate, I would have been savaged, woman or not.


David said:

it appears to me in the followup commentary that david and mark were biting their tongues and perhaps were coached to sugar coat their commentary. palin certainly did not pass brooks's "speak in paragraphs" litmus test. she does not present in any imaginable way by any metric a presidential presence.


Lynda Fitzpatrick said:

what are you guys on about? She was totally Tina Fey?


ADSR said:

A very interesting and informative debate ... but I don't understand the commentary at all. Were Mark Shields and David Brooks watching the same debate? It's true that Palin didn't degenerate into a blithering idiot, as many in the media were predicting (hoping?) ... but neither did she indicate ANY comprehension of the issues! In response to virtually every question, she simply provided a canned, unrelated answer. Can anyone truly imagine Palin as vice presidential material? It's frightening! On the plus side, I was pleasantly surprised by the articulate, informative, and forceful-but-fair answers given by Biden.


heidi m said:

the republican faithful totally took this moderator out of the debate with their last minute smears. she could not go after palin or "hold her feet to the fire" without giving the republicans ammunition.


Nancy V. said:

Just had a phone call from a friend who was as disappointed as I was with the way Gwen Eifel conducted the debate. She is no Jim Lehrer. She didn't ask one original question or a question that required any type of thoughtful response.
Unfortunately, Gwen seemed to be bowing to the McCain/Palin bullying about the "biased liberal elite media". It will go from bad to worse when McCain and Obama debate with Tom Brokaw as moderator. He is so lame. Of course, by that time nobody will be watching the debates anymore since the "hot ticket" was the veep debate.

Palin was better during the debate than with her interviews with Katie Couric, but, that was setting the bar really low. She was totally scripted and kept repeating the same lines over and over, even tho Biden called her out on her inaccuracies. Biden started out overly cautious and seemed to be trying really hard to be fair, but as the debate progressed I had the feeling that he decided that Gwen wasn't capable of doing a good follow-up, so he seemed to toss away the script and became the reliable thoughtful, even-handed senator that has served so ably through the years.

My final comment: Joe Biden came across as the most genuine of all 4 candidates. His closing comments came straight from his heart. He is decent and well informed and will do what is best for this country.


Kris F. said:

I was prepared to leave a different comment until I read the comments above. There is no point engaging in a conversation in which others are so angry and closed that they are only talking to themselves. How can "Washington" be inclusive when we are not? How disappointing to realize that politicians really do "represent" us, in all the worse ways.


ricardo russo said:

Gwen had an agenda in this and PBS should have pulled her from this mission. I pulled the plug on PBS.


Tammy Whittaler said:

Dear Gwen,

I must admit as a rebulican, I thought that you were going to be unfair.... I thought you did a very very good job.. I feel that when someone does something wrong they should be condemned and praised when the do the right thing...You have proven yourself to show that you are fair....My hat is off to you.....Thank you...it is never said enough but truly thank you for proven me and the media wrong....


Tammy Whittaker


Matt Parker said:

To Gwen
Ref: Debate

Gwen, I must say that you were very fair and left Obama and the book on the shelf; you did a wonderful job in moderating and I most sincerely mean that.
I, like many, were leery at first, but you removed all doubt -- and your professionalism shined wonderfully.
Thanks! And I am a Republican.
Matt Parker
TEXAS


Pam Walker said:

It is low-minded to have anger and rant on about Ifill's book and her role moderating of this debate. Everyone involved agreed to it, Ifill is professional, and the participants have an hour and a half to show us what they know and who they are. As far as the questions go, Palin said at one point that she might not answer the questions the way the moderator or anyone else liked anyway, so there. She does what she wants . . . .

In the meantime, Biden was clearly the more informed, the more intellectual and reasoned of the two. Palin's repeated, kind of preacher-like, (not that there's anything at all wrong with preachers, but they don't belong in the White House's pilot seat), down-home, hockey-mom style and references were eventually wearing and failed to substitute for a solid grasp of the issues. I just didn't feel I was watching a multi-faceted person up there. The Republican's appeal, in both debates so far, has been more to the emotions than the Democratic side has been. I just don't think this is what we need or should want.

She clearly faltered when Ifill asked her to clarify a question about Vice-Presidential powers, which she was not prepared to answer. It sounded like she might want the VP's powers expanded but it was difficult to tell. She was in over her head and we got to see how she handles that - she zoomed into the now familiar standby lines she relies on that are already getting old and veer away from the question at hand.

Even leaving aside the knowledge Biden has accumulated from his decades of experience in foreign affairs, Palin did not impress me as someone who I would trust to successfully juggle all the details, nuance and subtleness that might be required at a critically important moment in time. Biden, on the other hand did. Also I found him infinitely more likeable. While Palin may come from a state full of mountains, post-debate, I'd prefer to follow Biden up a hill, any day.

And Gwen ,you did a fine job.


DC said:

I'm really disappointed in the fact that Gwen did not keep the candiates on the questions (well only one Palin). Palin continually got off the question and was not called on it -- over and over again. If there is to be a moderator who makes up this questions - then the moderator should at least make sure that the questions are answered. Otherwise, why are they there. Just let the candiates do their own thing - oh, I'm sorry that is what Gwen did with Palin.

And the questions, LAME. I hope her skills were put to better use in her book. Don't get me wrong I watch and enjoy Gwen on PBS but this was not her best -- at all.

One question that I definitely would have liked to see asked -- Senator McCain has said that he would veto any bill that has Earmarks and take names, etc. Well he had his first chance since saying that to do just that. What did he do -- he voted for the Bailout and the $100 billion Earmark that was added. Wow! Now I know there is a question in there for the McCain/Palin folks to answer.

And for the record I'm an independent who has finally made up there mind and it will be Obama/Biden. Thank you.


J. Egge said:

Gwen Ifill was not a good choice to moderate. I have never seen this biased side of her show up so prominently before in interviews. On every critical issue, she cut it off after Biden made a strong point, or made sure he got the final response. To those who were not particularly interested in a neutral debate will think that Gwen was impartial in her dealings.


J. Davidson said:

I shall paraphrase this by saying, up until this election I have voted Republican. But with the lack of intelligent decision making on the part of the Republican party and John McCain et al, I cannot and will not do so this time. His decision of a running mate has demonstrated his lack of capable and sound judgement. There are many intelligent women in government and he chose to ignore all of them.

Ifll's book was announced last August ... well before the date of the debate was decided upon and Gwen was asked to act as moderator of the debate; and APPROVED by John McCain and the Republican committee. It is also information readily available in a NY newspaper. They had plenty of time to decide one way or the other. This was a non-issue until they realized what a liability Palin is and how poorly she is doing. It was just another last minute tactic on their part.

Palin did not answer the questions because she can't. It is as simple as that. She does not have the knowledge, experience,etc; and you don't acquire it in a cram session. She never answered them, it was just another flurry of words memorized and regurgitated.

Biden had the answers, and was very competent. He has the knowledge and experience to make good decisions.


Gwen did a very upstanding job. She was not biased. PBS has continued to add a needed level of competence to news broadcasting none of the other networks can come close to. Keep up the good work.


Mary D. said:

VOTE FOR McCAIN. This website deleted my previous comment because it was pro McCain... wow, journalism at its best... rigging everything. The media needs to be put under more scrutiny.


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