What to look for in tonight’s Biden – Palin debate:
- It’s all about Palin - she wins or loses based on knowledge and thinking skills. Biden is almost an afterthought. Paretto’s law is at work – 80% of the impact (and media coverage) will be about Palin, 20% will be on Biden.
- Palin will have to overcome mental clumsiness as shown in her halting interviews with Katie Couric, and others.
- Palin will have to act ‘presidential’ without losing her personality. She has to drop the casual language, like “gonna” “kinda” “gotta” and never again “I’ll try to find you some and I’ll bring ‘em to ‘ya.”
- Palin is an excellent communicator in connecting with people – energy, eye contact, humor and smile. She is outstanding giving a formal speech.
- Palin in the past has shown ‘thinking on your feet’ skills when she knows the subject. The problem is now on this national scale, when she does not apparently know much about the subject – she has faltered and stumbled. Her knowledge and thinking/bridging skills will be critical to answer the question of “qualified?” which will be on the undecided voter’s minds.
- Palin only has to convince the 10-20% of the voters who are the undecided’s. She’ll never change the minds of those who love her, or those who hate her.
Tonight Sarah Palin has to create a communication experience that can persuade the record number of viewers of this debate that she has a grasp of complex issues and the ability to lead on a national scale.
For Palin, it will be a tough task to triumph. But perhaps they don’t call her “Sarah Barracuda” for nothing. Tonight will be an event, and if Palin DOES triumph, it could get the McCain straight talk express back on track. Stay tuned.