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Biden and Palin on the vice presidency

Constitutiondebatejim newtonJoe BidenSarah Palinvice president

Veepdebate In all the cross-charges of last night's debate, one particularly pointed exchange occurred over the power of the office that Joe Biden and Sarah Palin are seeking. It featured some clumsy analysis by both candidates.

Asked whether the vice presidency is properly considered part of the executive or legislative branch, Palin dodged the question by saying the framers "were very wise there in allowing through the Constitution much flexibility there in the office of the vice president." She then proceeded to tout her executive experience as a governor, mayor, business owner and, weirdly, "oil and gas regulator," suggesting without quite saying that she viewed the position as within the executive branch (a view that the current vice president has occasionally questioned).

Responding, Biden was more responsive and better on the concept but gaffed the details. He squarely endorsed the notion that the vice president is part of the executive branch and correctly noted that the job is spelled out in the Constitution, but incorrectly asserted that the job is defined in Article 1. Although Article 1 mentions the vice president, it does so only to note that the vice president breaks ties in the Senate. It's in Article 2, Section 1 that the Constitution makes it clear to most scholars that the vice president is part of the executive branch. That section begins: "The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his office during the term of four years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same term, be elected, as follows..."

Photo: AP Photo/Don Emmert, Pool


Comments () | Archives (27)

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Haruo Ito

Palin is a mile wide and an inch deep

David L. Wylie

Is Sarah Palin opposed to gay rights? You Betcha!

When moderator Gwen Ifill asked the VP candidates about their views on gay marriage during Thursday night’s debate, there was a distinct and stark contrast in their answers. While Biden readily admitted that he and Obama did not support gay marriage, the Senator was adamant about his ticket’s support for full civil unions for gay couples and full equality on the basic civil rights issues for all LGBT individuals. The most gays can expect from Sarah Palin is tolerance. The following is transcripts of the candidates exchange on LGBT issues:


David L. Wylie

louis pepe

she knows how to work her beauty contest smile ,and she knows how to work her legs, shes perfect for next seasons DANCING WITH THE STARS

R C Lyman

I honestly do not think Palin even understood the question and its reference to Cheney's claim that he was not subject to an executive order on safeguarding classified information because he was a member to the legislative branch. She had the "deer in the headlights" look on her face when the question was first posed. Then she said something vague about Consititutional flexibility as if she was b-s-ing her way through a high school civics class.

Another example of how woefully ignorant and disinterested she is and has been in national and international affairs.


Ya know, between all the mayorin’ and governorin’ goin’ on by Sarah Pain, I’m comin’ to the understandin’ of how she might not be realizin’ how much underage sexin’ and drinkin’ and daughter drillin’ was happenin’ under her household roof. In my neck of the woods we don’t call that motherin’, we know it more as abandonin’. But I digress, cuz I really wanted to talk about that there debate with Missy Bush and smokin’ Joe Biden.

I’m guessin’ that all that preppin’ n’ memorizin’ all those BushRovian doublespeak words paid off in that Sarah could actually provide all those non-answers to those biased and way-too-complex questions Gwen Ifill was askin’. But still, I think I finally figured out how she was able to speak for more than a few seconds at a time. See, Sarah Palin is a master at readin’ from a teleprompter, and ‘member when Bush had obvious wires and boxes and such on his back durin’ the debates between him n’ Kerry? I’m thinkin’ the boys down at McCain central rigged little teleprompters into those big-ass glasses of Palin’s.

They could even pump into those glasses commands like “now look straight at the camera Sarah, good, now look at Joe Biden real seriously” and on and on. All she had to do from then on was talk really folksy like, and wink every once in a while, and act like she really knew something. We need to send this Annie Oakley caricature back to the frontier so she can complete raisin’ a family and runnin’ the State of Alaska and buildin’ pipelines, and guttin’ moose n’ such.


Meet the next vice president of the United States folks! Sarah Palin. Us gals just love her. Finally a great great Vice President and future President. We are so thrilled and excited. Go Sarah!



That was the best comment I've seen on Palin's method of communicating. Thank you for the laugh!

Chuck Cardiff

I wondered if journalists would notice Biden's error. However, it seems reasonable to ask why the constitution makes the Vice President the President of the Senate. The answer is that in England the Lord Chancellor, appointed by the crown, presided over the House of Lords, and our bicameral system was modeled on the English parliament. Thus the House of Representatives elects its own speaker, just as the House of Commons elects its own speaker. Anyway, it seems patently facetious for Biden to say that the President of the Senate has no legislative function. Asinine, in fact.


Are you KIDDING me?!

This writer is going to nitpick Biden's confusion when referencing Article 1 and Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution and compare it to Talking Point Barbie disgraceful lack of knowledge about, um... everything.

Gov. Palin obviously hasn't read an article in a NEWSPAPER let along the Articles in the Constitution.


Liberals think they are so tolerant and "for the people" and are critical of the way Gov. Palin speaks. I thought you all were for the for the blue collar, down home kind of folks. I guess only when it fits your agenda. Let's face it, liberals really are the true elitists. They are only "open minded" if you agree with them.


To TerrifiedinVegas:

Are you kidding me? The liberal elite have been nitpicking everything Palin says and when someone points out a mistake on the other side, you can't take it.


To CC:

Ah yes, the trusty "liberal media bias" talking point.

Darn those leftie journalists with their doggone "gotcha" questions, solely designed to trip up the obvious mental giant that is Gov. Palin.

Nasty, trick questions like "name a Supreme Court decision?" or "What newspaper do you read?" So sneaky. So obviously biased.

Gov. Palin is running for the second highest office in our country, but she sounds as if she is auditioning to be a contestant on "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader."



Maybe you would be better offf reading this article. And, can I ask why the making fun of a person's accent? That sounds more like Junior High, not a good memory.


To Terrified:

I have never heard a poltician talk so much about nothing i.e Barack Obama. He does not have a grasp on the issues. You really should be terrified if he becomes president. Talk about inexperience....and he is the head of his party's ticket. The liberal bias in the media is such a disgrace to our country.

Eric K

OMG, how totally hypocritical. if a woman doesn't agree with your views she's suddenly so stupid and so morally lax that you accuse her of fostering incest and child molestation. That sort of hateful unfounded spewing of vitorol just shows more about your ignorance than your targets.

Eric K

to terrified in vegas:
how totally condescending that whole question is. ohh do you guys in alaska get real magazines and newspapers? well she did answer it today, the economist, time newsweek the new york times several others. .
You know when you give half the scrutiny to your number 1 candidate that you give to Sarah Palin then perhaps we can talk about things in a more intelligent and adult manner.
I really would like to know what Obama's qualifications for president are
wait let me see if i can make a list
1.) elected to the United states senate. . . served a third of a term . .. which he spent 20 months of running for president. the only time he was apparently in the senate was when he had to cast a vote to bring more pork home for his state. almost a billion in two short years. or oh yes getting handouts for his campaign from fannie mae and freddie mac.... 2nd highest recipeinet of money from them in two years (( when the time tested is tnty years. . . that means in effect that he is taking at a huger and much more accelearated rate 1/10th the time and MOST of the money )
2.) he was a community organizer for ACORN, an organization that is under investigation in every state it operates in for voter fraud, got money from fannie mae and freddie mac because they used racial scare tactics to force banks to make sub-prime loans, and is now bussing in homeless people to vote in the abesntee ballots in ohio. Oh yes he was their trainer and lawyer first teaching how to do these illegal things, then defending them.
3.) He served on a board that pushed radical education issues in chicago with ayers.
OH god you are soooooo RIGHT Obama is most immeniently qualified to be president. how could I have missed this???
As a man in his twenties according to his own book he was working community organization stuff
and doing illegal drugs "Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. "
At that same age John McCain was being tortured by north veitnamese prison guards, and giving up his early shipment home, by refusing to trade on his family's privildged position.
OMG you are so riht the character differences are soo glaring now. . all hail Barak the messiah, the chosen one!!!!!! ALL HAIL

Eric K

You know Bidenism's are a strange thing when what it means he is WRONG. Oh that is just joe they say. Tell me what are you going to do when he says something like that to Putin? Any other politcian in the race and they would be crucified. Hell they make up things that are despicable and base lies about at least one of the candidates to float.
How does this guy get the pass that he is smart? and then people praise him for his "factual command of the issues" his secret is of course that he's like a consummate paper bs'er, (when he doesn't plagarize it, but it's ok if he's intellectually dishonest really it's just a bidenism ) he says things that are untrue and backs them up with more things that are kinda true and basically dazzles you with "his command of the issue" riddled with factual inaccuracies, events that didn't happen, such as last night in the debate a bill he claims to have authored that never existed, and international events that just didn't happen, ie lebanon/france/hezbollah..
and yet he's condered an intellectual heavyweight. someone to add gravitas, Barak Obama's Dick Cheney Pick.
I admire his intellectual capaibilities in at least one way. He has for 36 years managed to get enough people in his home state to send him back to washingiton securing a nice solid place as a democratic footsoldier. someone that could be pretty much counted on to toe the party line.
I have said it before 36 years of being wrong, you might say you have experience but only in the congress of the united states could that kind of experience keep you in a job.


Eric K - you forgot about the 8 years as an Illinois state senator from a district with twice the population of Alaska. You need to some meds, bud , before your head explodes.

Hoa Tran

To Chuck Cardiff ---

As "President of the Senate", the Vice President's role is limited to overseeing procedural matter and casting tie-breaking votes. We can debate ad infinitum whether such role has any legislative function or not. The fact of the matter is that, by convention, the VP does not get involved with legislative issues in the Senate.

Hoa Tran

To Erick K. --

Your postings are incomprehensible - I am afraid. The issue here is not whether one agrees with Mrs. Palin's views. It is about her performance in the debate. Mrs. Pain may not be a stupid person. But her frequent avoidance of answering questions directly and launch into scripted talking points DO make her look like she has no clue.

The Vice Presidency is an important post. We do (and should) expect high standards from the candidates. Mrs. Palin's performance proved that she did not meet such standards.

Half Sigma

Biden and Palin are both right, the Constiution defines the role of the Vice President in Article I:

"The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote unless they be equally divided."

Article II says nothing about the duties of the Vice President except for how he is elected, and that manner of his election was quickly changed with the Twelfth Amendment.

So yes, under a plain reading of the Constitution, the Vice President is a legislator and not an executive.


Dear Liberal, you’re nothing but a bunch of hypocrites.

I’ll tell you what worries me: A president that naively believes he can negotiate with terrorists, a president that has changed his position from left field at the beginning of the primaries to center field as he think fit for his own benefit, a guy whose only goal is to be president and will say and do whatever it takes to get there.

Obama has no experience in many important areas, but less of all in foreign affairs. Russia recently announced that will assist Venezuela attain nuclear power, will engage in joint exercises with Venezuelan warships in the Atlantic Ocean, and that will implement a joint space program with Cuba. Do the aforementioned remind you of the missile crises?

Like Obama, JFK was charismatic, young, eloquent, and INEXPERIENCED; that is why the Russians played him like a piano and we had to let Castro reign over Cuba all these years. We now have Chavez and few other Castro wannabes; do you really think Obama is up to the job?... I KNOW I’LL SLEEP BETTER WITH MCCAIN AT THE HELM.


I thought the debate between Biden and Palin was fairly even. Both candidates shirked a few questions; so what? Biden is a more polished speaker, but again so what?( In fact, that's kind of scary. It means he can be a convincing liar).
I felt the big difference when they were at odds about previous voting records was that Palin told the truth and Biden was not telling the truth, as exposed by the nonpartisan truth-checkers, and I looked a lot of it up myself.
Biden's and Obama's claim that they are supportive of the middle class and wouldn't raise taxes is in direct contradiction to Obama's voting record: Obama voted recently to significntly raise taxes for people earning $30K- 43K (approx.), but the vote didnt pass. Biden lied about this in the debate. Biden also lied about his accusations of McCain's support of deregulation.

On matters of wasteful govt. spending, McCain voted against it 88% of the time while Obama voted against it only 18% of the time.
Obama has abstained from voting about half the time! Strange for a man who "claims" to want "change" to have been such a do-nothing.
At the Democratic Convention, wasn't it odd that the only people who could stand up for Obama's character were people who a month earlier were saying that Obama was unqualified for the job, and even shocked that he was running? Biden himself had been saying that!
Geez! He's a two-faced liar! Wake up, America!
And the ppl who know Obama best are sort of... "extreme" ppl - as in angry, militant type of people, such as Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan, William Ayers, Michael Pfleger. Scary.

I am not a huge McCain fan, but he is much more qualified and honorable than Obama (and less scary), and he has gone against his party when necessary which Obama hasn't. And I think Palin is honest and hard-working and she has a history of fighting corruption even within her own party. Whenever I check candidates facts, I find Biden to be lying much of the time, and have Obama in quite a few too.


Palin has the nerve to talk about Obama - when she infact is one step away from being a felon. Troopergate, tax evasion, witchcraft. This is the best John McCain could do????

John Boom

The vice president DOES hold positions in both the executive and legislative branches, the Constitution merely states what the vice president’s minimum responsibilities are. Palin was right. Biden was wrong. Nitpick over Article one or two? Sure if you are going to say Palin was wrong, because in fact she was right.

Erik Szpyra

Like Obama, Bill Clinton was charismatic, young, eloquent, and INEXPERIENCED; that is why the North Koreans played him like a piano and we now have North Korea as a nuclear power.

Kevin Akers


offers a good explanation of the Vice Presidency. Joe Biden doesn't seem to know too much about the office he is running for.



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