While it doesn't compare with weighty world matters such as the collapse of financial markets, the vice presidential debate holds plenty of intrigue tonight. Here are five things I'll be watching for as we start blogging at 6 p.m..
1. Joe Biden's body language. Will he have his usual swagger? Will he make the mistake of belittling Sarah Palin and apprearing arrogant? John McCain made a huge mistake in his first debate with Barack Obama by appearing cold and detached. Will Biden make a similar blunder?
2. Palin on foreign policy. She's been ridiculed for suggesting that Alaska's proximity to Russia gives her foreign policy experience. If she leaves the impression that her world stops and starts in Wasilla, its doubtful many voters will want her to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.
3. Energy and the environment. Both candidates are highly conversant on this topic but have completely different world views. Palin supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and has been ambiguous on whether industrial emissions are contributing to climate change. Biden opposes drilling in ANWR but has been accused of flip-flopping on his opposition to off-shore oil drilling, at one point saying, "I am not opposed to it." Will both candidates go after each other on their inconsistencies? Stay tuned.
4.Social issues. McCain picked Palin, in part, because of her appeal to the religious right. But will she be vocal tonight in her opposition to abortion and her opposition to embryonic stem cell research? As governor, she passed over an opportunity this year to hold a special session of the Alaska Legislature on a Prop. 4-type measure to require minors to get parental consent before getting an abortion. That suggests she may be more reluctant to impose her views on government than is generally perceived.
5. Lastly, I'll be curious to see if Biden, Palin or even Gwen Ifill can smoothly pronounce the name of Mahmound Ahmadinejad, Iran's president. Better not to try, but I am sure someone will.
What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com
Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)
Here are some rules of the road:
Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.
Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.
Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.
Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.
Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.
Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.
Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.
Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.
You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at email@example.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.
If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.
On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here.
We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.