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Biden on ‘The McCain I knew.’

Dow slids below 10,000, watched by trader Arthur Cashin wearing a 'Dow 10,000' hat that was given out when the index first hit 10,000 on March 29, 1999

Dow slids below 10,000, watched by trader Arthur Cashin wearing a 'Dow 10,000' hat that was given out when the index first hit 10,000 on March 29, 1999

US stock markets slumped sharply with the Dow Jones falling through the psychologically important 10,000 mark for the first time since October 2004 amid fears that the fallout from the credit crisis will push the country deep into recession.

The Dow Jones fell 569.8 to 9755.5, with the S&P 500 off 64.2 at 1035.0 despite moves by the Federal Reserve to instill confidence in the financial system through capital injections.

Nearly a quarter of the stocks on the New York Stock Exchange hit new lows within an hour of the opening of the markets, with every stock in the Dow Jones index down on the day.

The S&P 500 was flat to its trading level 10 years’ ago, leading US commentators to speak of a “lost decade” in equity markets.

The stock market slumps followed similar moves in Europe where the FTSE 100 was on course for its biggest one-day fall in more than 20 years.

The index of leading shares was down almost 9pc at one stage – the biggest decline since the aftermath of Black Monday in October 1987.

A host of the UK’s biggest banks were rocked by turmoil across the European banking sector, with Royal Bank of Scotland falling 22pc at one stage. Mining stocks were also hit, dragged down by fears of falling demand in the face of a growing global slowdown.

Germany’s Dax was off 7.4pc while the Cac-40 in France fell 8.2pc and Italy’s benchmark S&P/Mib fell 9.17pc – its lowest level since the index was established in September 2004.

Traders in the US said the only way to halt the decline, even temporarily, was for central banks around the globe to push through co-ordinated interest rate cuts.

“There is no support to halt share declines. No one is buying,” said one trader at a big US bank. “We were told to reduce our risk and to stay out of the markets. There is too much irrational behaviour out there.”

The stock market declines will heighten fears over the US government’s power to prop up markets despite its success in pushing through a $700bn (£403bn) bailout of the banking system on Friday.

The Federal Reserve acted to shore up confidence in the banking sector today and free up the credit markets by doubling the amount of money it makes available under its Term Auction Facility to $900bn.

Banks will be able to draw down funds from the facility and maintain liquidity in the face of an interbank lending market that has all but ceased to function.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei index lost 4.2pc, South Korea’s Kospi slipped 4.3pc and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 5pc. China’s CSI 300 Index fell 5.1pc, as trading resumed after a one-week holiday.

Source: Telegraph

Back to Palin’s folksy tales – if Sarah Palin is good at telling a story so is Joe Biden – the only difference is he actually thinks the facts matter. He would not tell a story to conceal the fact that he knows nothing about the issues – but besides oil – that’s all Palin has been doing.

For all the speculation over how Sarah Palin will fare in the vice-presidential debate Thursday night, her Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, faces a challenge of his own: taking on the Alaska governor without coming across as sexist or a bully.

Barack Obama’s campaign has assembled a team of top advisers, including several prominent female debaters, to help prepare the Delaware senator, known for his tough attacks and candor, to debate the Republicans’ first female vice-presidential nominee. Since Sunday, the team has been hunkered down at the Sheraton Suites hotel in Wilmington, Del.

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm has been playing the role of Gov. Palin. “I want to beat him up a little, so he does well,” Gov. Granholm told reporters. One Biden aide said Gov. Granholm was chosen to portray Gov. Palin in the preparations because she ran as an outsider and reformer in Michigan in 2002 and 2006. Like Gov. Palin, Gov. Granholm is a former beauty queen and sports mom.

Sen. Biden also has received advice from Democratic primary opponent Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, California Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, and a number of top campaign aides.

Aides say Sen. Biden will emphasize issues rather than attacks, and debate preparations have centered on making the case for Sen. Obama rather than tearing down Gov. Palin. “I think this will come down to bigger questions than who can throw a sharp elbow. This is a much bigger election” than that, says Patti Solis Doyle, Sen. Biden’s campaign chief of staff.

Sen. Biden recently said reporters are in a “time warp” if they think he will prepare any differently to debate a woman than a man. He cited debating Sens. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Olympia Snowe of Maine and other women in the U.S. Senate. Sen. Biden debated Sen. Clinton 12 times during the Democratic primaries.

“It seems like the only people in the room that think that debating a woman is going to be fundamentally different are people who don’t hang around with smart women,” Sen. Biden said aboard his campaign plane.

Sen. Biden’s 30-plus years in the Senate could open a line of attack from Gov. Palin, who left the campaign trail Monday to prepare for the debate at Sen. McCain’s ranch in Sedona, Ariz., McCain aides said. She could also use Sen. Biden’s experience to portray him as the Washington status quo.

While Biden aides insist gender isn’t an issue, it is rare for a woman to be on the ticket. The last time — and the first time — a woman was on a major-party ticket was in 1984, when Democrat Walter Mondale picked Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate.

Ms. Ferraro debated then-Vice President George H.W. Bush in an encounter that was widely interpreted as having sexist overtones. “Let me just say, first of all, that I almost resent, Vice President Bush, your patronizing attitude that you have to teach me about foreign policy,” Ms. Ferraro replied to one attack. At the same time, strategists say Sen. Biden can’t soften his approach or appear to be changing his tactics because he is debating a woman; that, too, could be perceived as sexist.

Aides say Sen. Biden can counter some of the Alaska governor’s down-home appeal by playing up his working-class roots in Scranton, Pa. Sen. Biden, consistently ranked as one of the least-wealthy senators, still lives in Wilmington and takes the train to work in Washington. “I think Biden should use his sense of humor and really turn this into a debate about who’s folksier,” says Democratic strategist Donna Brazile.

Source: WSJ

Spilling the beans – Palin is quoted as saying – facts and figures don’t matter!

Monitor opinion editor Josh Burek talks with former Alaska state representative and gubenatorial candidate Andrew Halcro about Gov. Sarah Palin’s debating abilities.

Anchorage, Alaska – When he faces off against Sarah Palin Thursday night, Joe Biden will have his hands full.

I should know. I’ve debated Governor Palin more than two dozen times. And she’s 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.

On paper, of course, the debate appears to be a mismatch.

In 2000, Palin was the mayor of an Alaskan town of 5,500 people, while Biden was serving his 28th year as a United States senator. Her major public policy concern was building a local ice rink and sports center. His major public policy concern was the State Department’s decision to grant an export license to allow sales of heavy-lift helicopters to Turkey, during tense UN-sponsored Cyprus peace talks.

On paper, the difference in experience on both domestic and foreign policy is like the difference between shooting a bullet and throwing a bullet. Unfortunately for Biden, if recent history is an indicator, experience or a grasp of the issues won’t matter when it comes to debating Palin.

On April 17, 2006, Palin and I participated in a debate at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks on agriculture issues. The next day, the Fairbanks Daily News Miner published this excerpt:

“Andrew Halcro, a declared independent candidate from Anchorage, came armed with statistics on agricultural productivity. Sarah Palin, a Republican from Wasilla, said the Matanuska Valley provides a positive example for other communities interested in agriculture to study.”

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.

Palin is a master of the nonanswer. She can turn a 60-second response to a query about her specific solutions to healthcare challenges into a folksy story about how she’s met people on the campaign trail who face healthcare challenges. All without uttering a word about her public-policy solutions to healthcare challenges.

In one debate, a moderator asked the candidates to name a bill the legislature had recently passed that we didn’t like. I named one. Democratic candidate Tony Knowles named one. But Sarah Palin instead used her allotted time to criticize the incumbent governor, Frank Murkowski. Asked to name a bill we did like, the same pattern emerged: Palin didn’t name a bill.

And when she does answer the actual question asked, she has a canny ability to connect with the audience on a personal level. For example, asked to name a major issue that had been ignored during the campaign, I discussed the health of local communities, Mr. Knowles talked about affordable healthcare, and Palin talked about … the need to protect hunting and fishing rights.

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.

Andrew Halcro served two terms as a Republican member of the Alaska State House of Representatives. He ran for governor as an Independent in 2006, debating Sarah Palin more than two dozen times. He blogs at http://www.andrewhalcro.com .

Choosing Sarah Palin for his ticket re-energized John McCain's campaign in the polls.

Choosing Sarah Palin for his ticket re-energized John McCain's campaign in the polls.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s painful performance in interviews with CBS’s Katie Couric last week rattled some backers of Sen. John McCain.

One conservative columnist, Kathleen Parker, even called on her to quit as McCain’s running mate.

“It was fun while it lasted,” Parker wrote last week in the National Review. “But circumstances have changed since Palin was introduced as just a hockey mom with lipstick.”

But it’s highly unlikely Palin will be leaving the ticket. Here are eight reasons why:

1. It would raise fatal questions about McCain’s judgment, which he trumpets as an advantage over Barack Obama.
[Choosing a VP that doesn’t believe in the separation of church and state is questionable – though letting Palin go – would expose McCain to a wide open assault and rightly]

2. It would put McCain on the defensive for the final five weeks, when he needs to put Obama on the defensive.
[Bring it on!]

3. The party’s social conservative base has given Palin its unconditional love.
[Did she really shoot a moose – as everything else she has claimed has come under some scrutiny. The plight of polar bears in the Alaska don’t concern this lot.]

4. Who else is going to have a shot with Hillary Clinton voters?
[The really question is how many Hillary voters – with her backward looking platform? – Equal pay for equal work – not with McCain – pro-choice – only if Palin’s own life is in danger.]

5. Mid-course corrections have a sorry history: Democrat McGovern, who dumped Tom Eagleton in 1972 after learning he’d had electroshock treatment, lost in a landslide to Richard Nixon.

6. She’s a fundraising dynamo.
[Give her a script she’d be a great actor.]

7. She’s a crowd magnet, and without her, McCain rallies could go back to their old sleepy ways.
[McCain celebrity problem – to the point where they can’t campaign separately- no one turns up to see him.]

8. The Democrats’ veep, Joe Biden, is a gaffe machine too. One whopper and he’s under the microscope, not her.
[Don’t count on it!]

Source: DAILY NEWS

Sarah Palin earned a reputation as a strong debater during her 2006 gubernatorial campaign in Alaska, but she has appeared to struggle in one-on-one sessions with nationally known journalists since being named McCain's running mate. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Sarah Palin earned a reputation as a strong debater during her 2006 gubernatorial campaign in Alaska, but she has appeared to struggle in one-on-one sessions with nationally known journalists since being named McCain's running mate. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON – She burst onto the American political scene as Sarah “The Barracuda” Palin, a confident, moose-hunting, hockey-mom governor whose razor-sharp attacks on Barack Obama, Washington insiders and the U.S. media “elite” helped revive John McCain’s presidential campaign in early September.

But as she prepares for her vice-presidential debate Thursday against Senator Joe Biden, Palin is now fighting to dispel perceptions among some conservatives that she’s quickly becoming a political liability for the Republican candidate.

McCain on Monday dispatched his two most senior aides – campaign manager Rick Davis and strategist Steve Schmidt – to his ranch in Sedona, Ariz., to begin three days of intense coaching with the Alaska governor ahead of her 90-minute showdown with Biden at Washington University in St. Louis.

The decision came amid widespread criticism in the media and – more distressing for McCain – mounting anxiety among Republicans over Palin’s performance during an extended interview last week with CBS News anchor Katie Couric.

In its aftermath, Palin’s favourable ratings have fallen and she’s become fodder for withering satire on late-night comedy shows like Saturday Night Live – a fate that has hurt presidential candidates in the past.

“I think that most people looking at Thursday night’s debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin are nervous, especially Republicans,” said Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “Because 90 minutes is a very long time – and you can only talk about gutting a moose once during that debate.”

Palin earned a reputation as a strong debater during her 2006 gubernatorial campaign in Alaska, but she has appeared to struggle in one-on-one sessions with nationally known journalists since being named McCain’s running mate.

In her interview with Couric, Palin offered this explanation of how Alaska’s proximity to Russia enhanced her foreign policy experience.

“It’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as (Russian prime minister Vladimir) Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America,” Palin said. “Where, where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there.”

Kathleen Parker, a syndicated conservative commentator, said the interviews showed Palin is “clearly out of her league” and called on her to step aside.

“I’ve been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly,” Parker, an early supporter of the governor, wrote in a post-Couric interview column. “I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted.”

There is a lively debate among Republicans about whether McCain’s own campaign is partially to blame for Palin’s problems. Advisers have largely shielded her from the media since her breakout performance at the Republican convention, placing extraordinary pressure on the governor in her few high-profile interviews.

(…)

The stakes for McCain are high. The latest Gallup daily tracking poll of the U.S. presidential race shows Obama with an eight-point advantage – 50-42 per cent – over McCain.

“I think this debate is more important than most vice-presidential debates usually are because the McCain campaign is swimming upstream,” Jillson said. “They are down in the polls. And if their vice-presidential candidate looks like she is not ready to be president of the United States, should the requirement fall on her, I think people will again look to Obama.”

Biden faces many potential pitfalls himself, including the possibility he might underestimate Palin.

The Delaware senator has made several notable gaffes recently, criticizing one of his campaign’s own anti-McCain ads and flubbing a historical reference to the 1929 stock market crash. He has a reputation for talking too extemporaneously and sounding condescending – which could backfire against Palin.

“If we’re not going to judge Joe by one sound bite, in one interview – which is fair to Joe – and we’re not going to take a mistake that he’s made and say ‘that that’s a death-defying blow,’ let’s don’t do it for her,” Graham said.

To help Biden prepare, Obama’s campaign enlisted Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm to act as pre-debate stand-in for Palin.

“How could you lose a debate with Sarah Palin? By running afoul of the gender issues, making women in particular feel as if Sarah Palin was unfairly treated the way some think Hillary Clinton was unfairly treated,” said Jillson. “He’s got to be respectful.”

Source: Canwest News Service

Several people commented the John McCain never glanced over once to look at Obama – McCain’s debating style indicates that he is depending of some sort of old guard force – to be there to automatically back him up – which will be there to assist him in getting others to see why Barack Obama should not be standing next to him in this debate.

What he fails to comprehend and perhaps is most afraid of is that Obama represents – the new guard – what we saw in the turn out of 200,000 people in Germany – what we saw on the last day of the Democratic Convention and with his acceptance speech – that Barack Obama is leading the charge as the new guard – with a new vision – that this can’t be put down with a few sarcastic old guard remarks and condescending phrases. Either way the new reality is Obama’s – like it was also Gore’s and Kerry’s – as it’s time move away from the old way and in a whole new direction.

Here’s John McCain is full fixing mode – off to fix the financial crisis – in the meeting with the President Obama and others John McCain’s voice was barely audible!

Obama did attend on the request of the President – who has been making such a big deal about suspending his campaign – in order to deal with the problem – had almost nothing to add – given the perfect opportunity.

Let’s see how long this charade can continue – will he or won’t he show up for the debate tonight?

That he also wants to postpone the VP debate is telling – a Biden vs. Palin debate – everyone can’t wait to see that – could McCain think she needs more time to prepare?

We would love to hear more about the Russian Alaska connection.

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