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* Quick recap on women’s and GLBT issues because there’s not much to say. The candidates (and moderator Gwen Ifill) were largely silent on women’s issues, beyond Biden name-dropping the Violence Against Women Act and Palin laughably veering the Straight Talk Express to give a brief shout out to “our respect for women’s rights.” Palin and Biden did find some troubling middle ground on gay marriage. Both said that they supported equal benefits for same sex couples, but announced in no uncertain terms that they oppose gay marriage. Palin announced that she was “tolerant” and again used her One Gay Friend as an example of her acceptance of the gay “choice.” Biden said marriage should be a “decision to be left up to the faiths.” Agreed, Biden, but what the fuck do the “faiths” have to do with the legal definition of marriage?
* Slate explains how debate moderator Gwen Ifill is free to choose her own questions—-ostensibly. Jason Cherkis has already said everything I want to say about Ifill: “Could she have bothered to press either candidate (but especially Palin) when they refused—-sometimes openly refused—-to answer her questions? Or how about a follow-up when Palin suggested expanding the veep’s authority? Or what about healthcare? Ifill couldn’t even press Palin after the candidate dodged a softball on the candidates’ weaknesses.” If anything, Ifill’s perceived “conflict of interest” made her uninterested in doing her job: Simply requiring the candidates to answer her questions instead of shooing them beneath the podium and (drill baby) drilling home their talking point.
* A quick note on personality: Biden’s had 35 years in the Senate to define his persona as an advocate for the middle class; Palin, by her own admission, has had five weeks on the national stage to do the same. Palin did her best to push through as the gosh-darn, winking, folksy Alaskan mama bear in the debate, dropping “Main Street” and “kitchen table” like nobody’s business—-even mentioning the “soccer mom” along with the “hockey mom” to broaden her extracurricular-activity appeal. In the end, Biden finally just fucking explains why it’s ridiculous for them to spend the whole debate fighting about who’s more “real.” TPM has a video clip of the moment: