On a late night during the 2006 Alaska gubernatorial campaign, Democratic former Gov. Tony Knowles and Republican-turned-independent candidate Andrew Halcro found themselves sitting next to each other in an exit row on an Alaska Airlines flight back to Anchorage following a debate in Fairbanks.The 2006 gubernatorial debates were covered by The NY Times and Christian Science Monitor during the 2008 presidential campaign. The Times wrote:
Halcro and Knowles had a friendly relationship, which was cultivated in part by both men's shared sense of exasperation over their inability to put a chink in the invisible armor that seemed to shield their Republican opponent, the former mayor of Wasilla, Sarah Palin.
While the two men were making small talk on the flight, Halcro, who ended up finishing third in the race, asked Knowles what was the most surprising indicator he found in his campaign's internal polling.
According to Halcro, Knowles replied that he was most astonished by how well Palin performed among well-educated women, and, perhaps more importantly, with moderate to liberal women.
"But that time has passed," Halcro told RealClearPolitics. ...
... Halcro, who has remained one of the most vocal Palin critics in Alaska, said that he did not prepare any differently in debating Palin simply because she was a woman and insisted that her record as governor of raising taxes on the oil industry and implementing a gas pipeline deal that has uncertain prospects for success will overshadow any built-in advantage she might have among women.
"I think she's going to get treated like one of the boys," Halcro said. "The debates are one thing, but I think you have to portray her as just simply unqualified." ...
... Her [Palin's] debating style was rarely confrontational, and she appeared confident. In contrast to today, when she seems unversed on several important issues, she demonstrated fluency on certain subjects, particularly oil and gas development.And the Christian Science Monitor's article, written by Halcro:
But just as she does now, Ms. Palin often spoke in generalities and showed scant aptitude for developing arguments beyond a talking point or two. Her sentences were distinguished by their repetition of words, by the use of the phrase “here in Alaska” and for gaps. On paper, her sentences would have been difficult to diagram.
John Bitney, the policy director for her campaign for governor and the main person who helped prepare her for debates, said her repetition of words was “her way of running down the clock as her mind searches for where she wants to go.” ...
When he faces off against Sarah Palin Thursday night, Joe Biden will have his hands full.What to do? Don't panic. It's likely that there will be many debates during the Republican primaries. There will be several governors running for the nomination. Their records will be compared and discussed at the debates. What will Republican primary voters think when they find out that "Governor" Palin's record as governor isn't what she has since said and written she did as governor? Many Republican voters will ask, "Was Sarah Palin really Governor of Alaska?"
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. ...
Our post, "The Story is in The Story" may be a starting point for examining Palin's record as governor and the discrepancies between her record and what she has written on Facebook about her record.
You can read about Biden's strategy for the 2008 VP debate in Game Change. The story begins on page 405, and you can use Amazon's Look Inside! feature to read it, if you have an Amazon account. Search for far-off Delaware.