I will be going tree climbing on Sunday, so some more photos will be posted then. I also hope to set up a “helmet cam” sort of rig, so that everyone can see what is going on when we climb into the canopy via video.
In the meantime, just some of my favorite moments from yesterday’s debate:
“PALIN: I’m still on the tax thing because I want to correct you on that again. And I want to let you know what I did as a mayor and as a governor. And I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I’m going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record also. ” You do know that a debate is run by the moderator right?
“PALIN: I would like to respond about the tax increases. We can speak in agreement here that darn right we need tax relief for Americans so that jobs can be created here. Now, Barack Obama and Sen. Biden also voted for the largest tax increases in U.S. history. Barack had 94 opportunities to side on the people’s side and reduce taxes and 94 times he voted to increase taxes or not support a tax reduction, 94 times.
Now, that’s not what we need to create jobs and really bolster and heat up our economy. We do need the private sector to be able to keep more of what we earn and produce. Government is going to have to learn to be more efficient and live with less if that’s what it takes to reign in the government growth that we’ve seen today. But we do need tax relief and Barack Obama even supported increasing taxes as late as last year for those families making only $42,000 a year. That’s a lot of middle income average American families to increase taxes on them. I think that is the way to kill jobs and to continue to harm our economy.
BIDEN: The charge is absolutely not true. Barack Obama did not vote to raise taxes. The vote she’s referring to, John McCain voted the exact same way. It was a budget procedural vote. John McCain voted the same way. It did not raise taxes. Number two, using the standard that the governor uses, John McCain voted 477 times to raise taxes. It’s a bogus standard” John McCain voted the same way! Can I just repeat that: John McCain voted to increase taxes too!
“An increased tax formula that Barack Obama is proposing in addition to nearly a trillion dollars in new spending that he’s proposing is the backwards way of trying to grow our economy.
IFILL: Governor, are you interested in defending Sen. McCain’s health care plan?”
“BIDEN: Gwen, I don’t know where to start. We don’t call a redistribution in my neighborhood Scranton, Claymont, Wilmington, the places I grew up, to give the fair to say that not giving Exxon Mobil another $4 billion tax cut this year as John calls for and giving it to middle class people to be able to pay to get their kids to college, we don’t call that redistribution. We call that fairness number one. Number two fact, 95 percent of the small businesses in America, their owners make less than $250,000 a year. They would not get one single solitary penny increase in taxes, those small businesses.” Fairness, what an alien concept to the GOP.
“There are ways to help people now. And there — ways that we’re offering are not being supported by — by the Bush administration nor do I believe by John McCain and Gov. Palin.
IFILL: Gov. Palin, is that so?
PALIN: That is not so, but because that’s just a quick answer, I want to talk about, again, my record on energy versus your ticket’s energy ticket, also.” A-wha? So because an answer is easy, you don’t want to talk about it and instead change the topic to one you kinda know about? Right.
“IFILL: Governor, I’m happy to talk to you in this next section about energy issues. Let’s talk about climate change. What is true and what is false about what we have heard, read, discussed, debated about the causes of climate change?
PALIN: Yes. Well, as the nation’s only Arctic state and being the governor of that state, Alaska feels and sees impacts of climate change more so than any other state. And we know that it’s real.
I’m not one to attribute every man — activity of man to the changes in the climate. ”
BIDEN: Well, I think it is manmade. I think it’s clearly manmade. And, look, this probably explains the biggest fundamental difference between John McCain and Barack Obama and Sarah Palin and Joe Biden — Gov. Palin and Joe Biden.
If you don’t understand what the cause is, it’s virtually impossible to come up with a solution. We know what the cause is. The cause is manmade. That’s the cause. That’s why the polar icecap is melting.” Ha! Great Question Senator, Care to answer that one either governor? No? Didn’t think so.
“PALIN: Your plan is a white flag of surrender in Iraq and that is not what our troops need to hear today, that’s for sure. And it’s not what our nation needs to be able to count on. You guys opposed the surge. The surge worked. Barack Obama still can’t admit the surge works.
We’ll know when we’re finished in Iraq when the Iraqi government can govern its people and when the Iraqi security forces can secure its people. And our commanders on the ground will tell us when those conditions have been met. And Maliki and Talabani also in working with us are knowing again that we are getting closer and closer to that point, that victory that’s within sight.
Now, you said regarding Sen. McCain’s military policies there, Sen. Biden, that you supported a lot of these things. In fact, you said in fact that you wanted to run, you’d be honored to run with him on the ticket. That’s an indication I think of some of the support that you had at least until you became the VP pick here.
You also said that Barack Obama was not ready to be commander in chief. And I know again that you opposed the move he made to try to cut off funding for the troops and I respect you for that. I don’t know how you can defend that position now but I know that you know especially with your son in the National Guard and I have great respect for your family also and the honor that you show our military. Barack Obama though, another story there. Anyone I think who can cut off funding for the troops after promising not to is another story.
IFILL: Sen. Biden?
BIDEN: John McCain voted to cut off funding for the troops. Let me say that again. John McCain voted against an amendment containing $1 billion, $600 million that I had gotten to get MRAPS, those things that are protecting the governor’s son and pray god my son and a lot of other sons and daughters.
He voted against it. He voted against funding because he said the amendment had a time line in it to end this war. He didn’t like that. But let’s get straight who has been right and wrong. John McCain and Dick Cheney said while I was saying we would not be greeted as liberators, we would not – this war would take a decade and not a day, not a week and not six months, we would not be out of there quickly. John McCain was saying the Sunnis and Shias got along with each other without reading the history of the last 700 years. John McCain said there would be enough oil to pay for this. John McCain has been dead wrong. I love him. As my mother would say, god love him, but he’s been dead wrong on the fundamental issues relating to the conduct of the war. Barack Obama has been right. There are the facts.” That was beautiful. John McCain voted to take funding from the troops. Bam!
“PALIN: No, I do not believe that it has been. But I’m so encouraged to know that we both love Israel, and I think that is a good thing to get to agree on, Sen. Biden. I respect your position on that.
No, in fact, when we talk about the Bush administration, there’s a time, too, when Americans are going to say, “Enough is enough with your ticket,” on constantly looking backwards, and pointing fingers, and doing the blame game.
There have been huge blunders in the war. There have been huge blunders throughout this administration, as there are with every administration.
But for a ticket that wants to talk about change and looking into the future, there’s just too much finger-pointing backwards to ever make us believe that that’s where you’re going.
Positive change is coming, though. Reform of government is coming. We’ll learn from the past mistakes in this administration and other administrations.
And we’re going to forge ahead with putting government back on the side of the people and making sure that our country comes first, putting obsessive partisanship aside.
That’s what John McCain has been known for in all these years. He has been the maverick. He has ruffled feathers.
But I know, Sen. Biden, you have respected for them that, and I respect you for acknowledging that. But change is coming.
IFILL: Just looking backwards, Senator?
BIDEN: Look, past is prologue, Gwen. The issue is, how different is John McCain’s policy going to be than George Bush’s? I haven’t heard anything yet.
I haven’t heard how his policy is going to be different on Iran than George Bush’s. I haven’t heard how his policy is going to be different with Israel than George Bush’s. I haven’t heard how his policy in Afghanistan is going to be different than George Bush’s. I haven’t heard how his policy in Pakistan is going to be different than George Bush’s.
It may be. But so far, it is the same as George Bush’s. And you know where that policy has taken us.
We will make significant change so, once again, we’re the most respected nation in the world. That’s what we’re going to do.” McCain=More of the Same.
“PALIN: Well, first, McClellan Apparently our general in Afghanistan has survive the American Civil War. Amazing. did not say definitively the surge principles would not work in Afghanistan. Certainly, accounting for different conditions in that different country and conditions are certainly different. We have NATO allies helping us for one and even the geographic differences are huge but the counterinsurgency principles could work in Afghanistan. McClellan didn’t say anything opposite of that. The counterinsurgency strategy going into Afghanistan, clearing, holding, rebuilding, the civil society and the infrastructure can work in Afghanistan. And those leaders who are over there, who have also been advising George Bush on this have not said anything different but that.
Biden: Well, our commanding general did say that. The fact of the matter is that again, I’ll just put in perspective, while Barack and I and Chuck Hagel and Dick Lugar have been calling for more money to help in Afghanistan, more troops in Afghanistan, John McCain was saying two years ago quote, “The reason we don’t read about Afghanistan anymore in the paper, it’s succeeded.”
“IFILL: Governor, you mentioned a moment ago the constitution might give the vice president more power than it has in the past. Do you believe as Vice President Cheney does, that the Executive Branch does not hold complete sway over the office of the vice presidency, that it it is also a member of the Legislative Branch?
PALIN: Well, our founding fathers were very wise there in allowing through the Constitution much flexibility there in the office of the vice president. And we will do what is best for the American people in tapping into that position and ushering in an agenda that is supportive and cooperative with the president’s agenda in that position. Yeah, so I do agree with him that we have a lot of flexibility in there, and we’ll do what we have to do to administer very appropriately the plans that are needed for this nation. And it is my executive experience that is partly to be attributed to my pick as V.P. with McCain, not only as a governor, but earlier on as a mayor, as an oil and gas regulator, as a business owner. It is those years of experience on an executive level that will be put to good use in the White House also. She wants more power then Cheney? Holy Crap!
IFILL: Vice President Cheney’s interpretation of the vice presidency?
BIDEN: Vice President Cheney has been the most dangerous vice president we’ve had probably in American history. The idea he doesn’t realize that Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the vice president of the United States, that’s the Executive Branch. He works in the Executive Branch. He should understand that. Everyone should understand that.
And the primary role of the vice president of the United States of America is to support the president of the United States of America, give that president his or her best judgment when sought, and as vice president, to preside over the Senate, only in a time when in fact there’s a tie vote. The Constitution is explicit.
The only authority the vice president has from the legislative standpoint is the vote, only when there is a tie vote. He has no authority relative to the Congress. The idea he’s part of the Legislative Branch is a bizarre notion invented by Cheney to aggrandize the power of a unitary executive and look where it has gotten us. It has been very dangerous.”
“Palin: My brother, who I think is the best schoolteacher in the year, and here’s a shout-out to all those third graders at Gladys Wood Elementary School, you get extra credit for watching the debate.” Are you kidding me!!!!!!!!
“PALIN: People aren’t looking for more of the same. They are looking for change. And John McCain has been the consummate maverick in the Senate over all these years.
He’s taken shots left and right from the other party and from within his own party, because he’s had to take on his own party when the time was right, when he recognized it was time to put partisanship aside and just do what was right for the American people.
That’s what I’ve done as governor, also, take on my own party, when I had to, and work with both sides of the aisle, in my cabinet, appointing those who would serve regardless of party, Democrats, independents, Republicans, whatever it took to get the job done.
Also, John McCain’s maverick position that he’s in, that’s really prompt up to and indicated by the supporters that he has. Look at Lieberman, and Giuliani, and Romney, and Lingle, and all of us who come from such a diverse background of — of policy and of partisanship, all coming together at this time, recognizing he is the man that we need to leave — lead in these next four years, because these are tumultuous times.
We have got to win the wars. We have got to get our economy back on track. We have got to not allow the greed and corruption on Wall Street anymore.
And we have not got to allow the partisanship that has really been entrenched in Washington, D.C., no matter who’s been in charge. When the Republicans were in charge, I didn’t see a lot of progress there, either. When the Democrats, either, though, this last go- around for the last two years.
Change is coming. And John McCain is the leader of that reform.
BIDEN: I’ll be very brief. Can I respond to that?
Look, the maverick — let’s talk about the maverick John McCain is. And, again, I love him. He’s been a maverick on some issues, but he has been no maverick on the things that matter to people’s lives.
He voted four out of five times for George Bush’s budget, which put us a half a trillion dollars in debt this year and over $3 trillion in debt since he’s got there.
He has not been a maverick in providing health care for people. He has voted against — he voted including another 3.6 million children in coverage of the existing health care plan, when he voted in the United States Senate.
He’s not been a maverick when it comes to education. He has not supported tax cuts and significant changes for people being able to send their kids to college.
He’s not been a maverick on the war. He’s not been a maverick on virtually anything that genuinely affects the things that people really talk about around their kitchen table.
Can we send — can we get Mom’s MRI? Can we send Mary back to school next semester? We can’t — we can’t make it. How are we going to heat the — heat the house this winter?
He voted against even providing for what they call LIHEAP, for assistance to people, with oil prices going through the roof in the winter.
So maverick he is not on the important, critical issues that affect people at that kitchen table.” A maverick he is not. Bam Bam. Wonderful.
In other words, he destroyed her.