Sarah "Joe Six Pack" Palin gets ready to rumble
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What about the charges of gotcha' journalism? Many believe the Gibson and Couric interviews have been fair. While others believe that some of the questions were designed to embarrass Palin.
"Well, I have a degree in journalism also, so it surprises me that so much has changed since I received my education in journalistic ethics all those years ago," Palin explained. "But I’m not going to pick a fight with those who buy ink by the barrelful. I’m going to take those shots and those pop quizzes and just say that’s okay, those are good testing grounds. And they can continue on in that mode. That’s good. That makes somebody work even harder. It makes somebody be even clearer and more articulate in their positions. So really I don’t fight it. I invite it."
If she's able to project that image -- a confident, mainstream American who doesn't fudge or nervously piece together talking points like a stir-crazy parrot, she might be able to pull it off on Thursday night.
And unlike McCain's suspend-the-campaign move last week, there's really little the campaign can do to change the conversation. It's all debate, Republican strategist Trent Duffy told The Vote.
"Nothing (besides catching Osama bin Laden) will change the subject besides the debate, and that may not change it enough," Duffy said. "The Couric interview series has the Democrats chomping at the bit for a knockout, but they’ve got to be careful not to pile on."
"Biden might even wear pastels," Duffy joked.
Biden on a tightrope
Democratic operative Chris Lehane agrees with Duffy. Biden's got to be careful. Lehane told The Vote Tuesday that Biden can all but ignore (respectfully) Palin.
"Biden's challenge is not to prove he is smarter, better positioned to serve, or more experienced than Palin," he said. "As that risks looking patronizing or sending the exact wrong message to working class voters who get turned off by Democrats who appear to be looking down their nose at working families."
Instead, says Lehane, Biden's got to connect with those same average Joe's.
"Biden's focus needs to be on not really worrying about Palin -- but looking through the tube and into the living rooms of undecided voters and making clear that it is the Obama-Biden ticket that they should trust when it comes to making economic issues about them and their families."
It's all about the average Joes on Thursday night.
Up next? Why does it appear that Joe Biden gets away with it when he makes a mistake but Palin is under so much scrutiny? We'll talk about that later today.