Who won? I think my editor, Ann Hawthorne, had it about right: you probably think the one you're for won. No big gaffes, certainly. Nobody lateraled Poland the way Gerald Ford did in 1976; nobody sighed mournfully--was he sad or just bored--the way Al Gore did in 2000. And each candidate got in some good licks, though I think John McCain failed in his effort to make Barack Obama seem like an immature teenager.
So, onward. I'm personally looking forward to the vice presidential candidates exchange, due this coming week. I mean, we have one candidate, in Sarah Palin, who cites the fact that you can see Russia from parts of Alaska as somehow enhancing her foreign policy credentials. " Well, it certainly does," Palin told CBS's Katie Couric. "because our next door neighbors are foreign countries, there in the state that I am the executive of."
Well, maybe. But many years ago, when I was a draftee soldier, the U.S. Army send me to St.Lawrence, an island in the Bering Strait about half way between Nome and Siberia. We could see Siberia on clear days, and there were two or three of those that winter, but none of s thought we learned anything neew about the Soviet Union by staring at it. What we mostly did was tape record radio messages and worry about keeping our feet warm.
Ms. Palin's rival, Sen. Joseph Biden, has been to Russia, of course, and when you visit a place you do learn something about it. Not anything very vice presidential, maybe, but did you like the food, are the people friendly, stuff like that. I liked the people when I was there, though the government, back when the pace was the USSR, was less obliging.
Anyway, the two of them should be fun. You never know what she'll say, and I still remember him, at one very boring Senate hearing, pausing maybe eight minutes into his ten-minute turm to ask questions--he hadn't asked one yet--and suddenly saying, thoughtfully, "Of course, I have no idea what I'm talking about."
So I have high hopes for the VP showdown.