October 3rd, 2008
05:15 PM ET

The pitbull is back

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/03/art.palin.gi.jpg]Hilary Rosen
CNN Contributor

Thank God we are not talking about Sarah Palin being a "woman" today and dissecting whether Joe Biden acted appropriately toward her.

Both candidates were strong and confident on stage last night.

Remember that poised and impressive governor we saw on the stage at the Republican convention? The one who told jokes about hockey moms being as tough as pitbulls?

I missed her over the past few weeks. We didn't work this hard for equality for so many years to have a woman vice presidential candidate be treated differently or more gently because she is a woman.

For the last few days there was entirely too much talk about how to treat Palin during the debate. If Biden came on strong, he might be sexist. If he was too soft, patronizing. iReport.com: Who do you think came out on top?

Well, that predebate analysis quickly became moot. She threw some punches. He didn't punch back at all, but not because she seemed too soft. He didn't punch back because her punches didn't score any points, so why bother?

Gov. Palin is a tough, aggressive politician who showed the country last night that she was not going to hereafter be defined as the weak and vulnerable person we saw in interview clips all week. She wanted the discussion on her terms and the analysis to be about the McCain-Palin ticket.

Joe Biden is free to criticize Gov. Palin just like any other opponent. And pundits from now on are free again to simply give our views with worrying about her fragility.

So here goes. Palin's answers in this debate vacillated between disappointing and incoherent. On the most pressing issue facing Americans this week - the economy - she had surprisingly little to offer. She repeated the McCain tax cut plan and health care plan.

But since their tax cuts mostly go to the wealthy...


Editor's Note: Rosen is political director HuffingtonPost.com, which describes itself as an Internet newspaper focused on politics from a liberal point of view, and a Democratic advisor.

Filed under: Hilary Rosen • Joe Biden • Raw Politics • Sarah Palin
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Jason, Rochester Hills, MI

    Make sure the "pitbull" stays on a leash, pick up behind it, purchase plenty of liability insurance and if it bites anyone...cut its head off and ship it for testing!

    There you have it.

    October 6, 2008 at 4:53 am |
  2. Lissa E of NC

    I agree completely with Elizabeth NC! Good points.

    Paliln is nothing like regular people and certainly not like the moms I know. I am still struggling with Palin's decision to thrust her pregnant child into the national spotlight. Palin is a politician. She chose this path and understands that there will be scrutiny...but her child? How could you in good conscience ask a child to understand such scrutiny and criticism.....not my value system.

    October 6, 2008 at 12:10 am |

    Palin is an embarassment to women in politics. When they lose the election and they will, the conservative female analysts who are backing her now will throw Palin under the bus for setting them back a decade with her cutesy comments and her sexists overtones. And Mc Cain will take a beating for not picking a more qualified running mate that would have made this election more about issues than a wink and a smile. Mark my words, it 's not going to be pretty.

    October 5, 2008 at 11:10 am |
  4. ken

    By picking Sara Palin as a running mate, John McCain has shown us another example of his poor judgement. What kind of situation would the country be in if something was to happen to John McCain? I would be willing to bet it was poor judgment that caused him to get shot down and become a prisoner of war. And if he and his wife are so patriotic, why did they adopt a child from a foreign country? There are plenty of homeless, poor, parentless children right here in the USA.
    If John McCain wants to do what's good for the country he would start telling his people that the best thing for the country is to get behind O'bama.

    October 3, 2008 at 9:31 pm |
  5. Kim

    The American work force is in the red and the unemployment ext. act passed today in the house because the democrats voted for it !

    October 3, 2008 at 9:08 pm |
  6. Bert

    Sen. Joe Biden backed off of her to preserve the fem vote.

    Had a man been on the other side, he would have attacked with all of the ammunition which the Bush Administration has provided in the last 8 years; i.e. the Y2K election debacle, the Iraq war, the mistreatment of war veterans, the Hurricane Katrina FEMA mess, the increase in oil prices (which by the way is why the unemployment numbers are up) and now the economic crisis.

    She didn't do anything but co-star in a 90 minute documentary.

    October 3, 2008 at 8:42 pm |
  7. ssmith

    just a reply to comments from "NC". Sarah Palin returned tax money to the people.

    Name one thing Obama did.

    October 3, 2008 at 8:12 pm |
  8. Sue

    Sarah Palin would seem more credible if she'd forgo the "country-fied" quips and answered the questions. It was condescending.

    October 3, 2008 at 8:12 pm |
  9. Nicole in Birmingham

    I have a real problem with Palin and it has nothing to do with me being jealous of her because she's "cute". I cannot stand anybody that has anything to do with the Bush administration but I always had a soft spot for Condi Rice because it was refreshing to see this smart and intelligent woman making us woman look good. That is the very reason why I support Hillary. Everytime Palin open her mouth I want to run and hide. This woman is a complete joke!

    I found her "folksy" talk, eye winking and catch phrases to be very unattrative for a woman running for VP. When its time to sit down with world leaders is this the way she is going to talk. People please wake up! If not for your children at least for mine! Do you really want to take the chance of her being a 72 yrs old heartbeat away from President. I have a hard time understanding how she became Governer. Maybe its true that Todd really called all the shots.

    I believe she totally failed in the debate last night but since the bar was set so low for her I guess anything short of a walrobe malfuntion would be considered a success for her. I mean she couldn't even answer the questions without looking at her notes. I cannot believe that McCain can be so reckless to pick her as VP when he is 72 yrs old.

    October 3, 2008 at 8:11 pm |
  10. Bret Peters

    Clearly America was looking for answers and solutions in detail. Not talking points, or cute stupidity. This is not a high school race for class president . This is for the real thing, and probably the most important of all American's lives. Please look at our problems, how serious they are, and why we got here. Look at democrats ready to pass the same bill without the pork. Realize that 8/10 of the pork added was too convince the republicans to say yes, instead of what was for America in a time of crisis. Oh American’s, please wake up and see the 800 pound gorilla in front of your face!

    October 3, 2008 at 7:44 pm |
  11. LYDIA B

    It seems to me that in US, MEMORIZING and RECITING tones of information is a quality that must be elevated, cultivated and rewarded !! ??
    Why would anyone rate her performance as acceptable or good?, just because she at least matched some sort of an answer to the questions asked ?.
    Lets be serious, it was pathetic !,
    She is running for the office of US Vice President is she ?.

    October 3, 2008 at 7:40 pm |
  12. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT

    REALLY????? Boy, y' all are too easily fooled. What are the pundits and the media afraid of?

    The governor, simply memorized her script and repeated it over and over. How may times did she mention that Sen. Obama voted against funding our troops? Even after Sen. Biden, CORRECTED her, she kept at it! She was a broken record.

    I am so disappointed in the media, I expect "Faux News" to be completely biased, since they make no secret of it. BUT.........the mainstream media?

    What's happened to the journalist that outed Nixon crimes? What's happen to the Walter Cronkites who spoke up and called for Johnson not to run for a second term?

    The ONLY one left with some (excuse the language) balls, is Keith Olbermann of MSNBC!

    What's happened to the FREEDOM of the Press??

    This is terrifying if its true that the Right-wing-facists have silenced you, CNN!

    October 3, 2008 at 7:25 pm |
  13. Joe Ayala


    the bit bull is back?!?!?! c'mon. it was like a chiwawa on steriods at best. did we all watched the same VP debate last night?

    me thinks not. stop livin in dream world, smell the coffee and wake up to reality.

    don't get me wrong, she did fine but enough to change anybody's mind, really. think about it and then get over it.

    need to examine both sides of the story with an open mind.

    October 3, 2008 at 7:18 pm |
  14. Papasan

    The springs in my desk chair are smarter than Palin, and that's an insult to the springs!
    Sarah, have fun in Alaska, and if Ya' git out down our way, come yonder, say Howdy, sure Ya' can call me Joe too, you Bet'cha!

    October 3, 2008 at 7:14 pm |
  15. Eva

    Pitbull back??? What kind of a title is that?! She just had the opportunity to talk again, she avoided topics that were out of her league and went back to the familiar "Energy expert" from Alaska line. The energy experts that I know have formal education and advanced degrees. I believe that if you can become the Vice-President or President of the USA just because you are nice or faithful without formal education (Which I believe is of great importance) then we don't need colleges anymore. I propose then that nobody goes to college and when your children say that they can do anything without studying then...you have nothing to say. Then doctors, lawyers, teachers, policemen can do their job without training, based on pure intinct and good faith. Why would you want your doctor to sacrifice so much, and constantly have to take Medical Boards (every 10 years for the rest of their careers), if he/she can do so based on "good faith and base knowledge" I rest my case....

    October 3, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  16. michelle

    If asked by a pollster I would have been one of the 84% that thought Palin did better than expected. This does not mean I think she did well or had anything of substance to say, it means I discovered she could make a complete sentence. As a feminist I hate speaking badly of a woman, as a voter I am too smart to vote for her because she is a woman. I care about whether or not she can seperate church and state at home or abroad. The fight against AIDS in Africa is hampered and made harder because US dollars are tied to no sex education and no condoms. I care because she believes abstinence is birth control and we all know how many babies that makes, because she wants to overturn Roe/Wade, because as pitbullish as all us hockey moms are, we are more than scared, we know that change, big change needs to happen or our economy and our way of life will be toast. Being able to make a sentance is not enough, nor is being able to attack ones opponent, or reciting platform points. McCain insults me because he thinks I am stupid enough to vote for Palin because she is a woman. Shame on Ms Palin for allowing herself to be used in this way.


    October 3, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  17. Jody

    Gee what a shock. . . Hilary Rosen didn't like Sarah Palin's debate performance!! I'm going to go out on a limb here and say "Bay Buchanan didn't care for Joe Biden's performance either"!!

    October 3, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  18. Fay, CA

    The pundits and reporters examining Sarah Palin's performance have been entirely too easy on her and have been heaping an inexplicable amount praise on her "personality"–doesn't it matter that she continually evaded the questions that the moderator posed, while Biden was able to discuss in detail the serious issues the country is facing? The fact that the rules of the debate had to be changed to accommodate Palin's ignorance shows that she is not ready for the job. It is very disappointing to listen to people who I normally respect continuously glossing over the crucial fact that Palin is not knowledgeable enough to take on the role of VP or president–thank goodness for Jeffrey Toobin, Jack Cafferty, Paul Begala, Roland Martin and Carl Bernstein who see Palin exactly as she is–a mediocre and dangerous VP pick.

    October 3, 2008 at 5:57 pm |
  19. Elizabeth NC

    Sarah Palin is NOT appealling to the women I know. She reminds us of Sigourney Weaver in Working Girl. Smiling, winking and squinching her nose at the "boys" while the rest of us are doing the work. Joe six pack doesn't resonate either. None of the working mothers I know are allowed to park a baby crib next to our cubicles. Men may be swayed by her flirtatous tactics, but we are not fooled.

    October 3, 2008 at 5:41 pm |
  20. phil Texas


    October 3, 2008 at 5:32 pm |
  21. Betty

    She is dumber than a bag full of hammers

    October 3, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  22. linda spiegel

    Sarah Palin is a great little cheerleader. I have no problem with sending civilians into space but I sure wouldn't want them piloting the ship.

    October 3, 2008 at 5:19 pm |