Joe Biden

Michigan Stays Blue / Palin's Huge Gamble

McCain pulls out of Michigan. He has canceled TV ads, and is closing his Michigan campaign offices. With Obama now surprising everyone with a double-digit lead in Pennsylvania polls, McCain has sounded the alarm to fall back and regroup.

Oh, and his campaign is beginning to run short on cash. Not good.

And in Palin news today, her handlers have revealed her strategy: aggressively go after Biden:

“This is going to finally put her back into a position where we see her like we saw her the first couple weeks,” a McCain official said. “She was herself. She was authentic, and people related to that. ... Tonight, she’ll get into a rhythm. You’re going to see her in a way that you haven’t seen her yet.”

Really? I thought she was just going to portray herself as a humble regular Jane Doe. But, if she wants to go down swinging at the wrong guy, she can go right ahead.

Andrew Halcro's Debate Advice For Joe Biden

Andrew Halcro: What It's Like To Debate Sarah Palin

On April 18, 2006, Palin and I sat together in a hotel coffee shop comparing campaign trail notes. As we talked about the debates, Palin made a comment that highlights the phenomenon that Biden is up against.

"Andrew, I watch you at these debates with no notes, no papers, and yet when asked questions, you spout off facts, figures, and policies, and I'm amazed. But then I look out into the audience and I ask myself, 'Does any of this really matter?' " Palin said.

While policy wonks such as Biden might cringe, it seemed to me that Palin was simply vocalizing her strength without realizing it. During the campaign, Palin's knowledge on public policy issues never matured – because it didn't have to. Her ability to fill the debate halls with her presence and her gift of the glittering generality made it possible for her to rely on populism instead of policy.


So what does that mean for Biden? With shorter question-and-answer times and limited interaction between the two, he should simply ignore Palin in a respectful manner on the stage and answer the questions as though he were alone. Any attempt to flex his public-policy knowledge and show Palin is not ready for prime time will inevitably cast him in the role of the bully.

On the other side of the stage, if Palin is to be successful, she needs to do what she does best: fill the room with her presence and stick to the scripted sound bites.