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Biden vs. Palin: Sizing up the debate

Newsweek's Fineman gets two strategists to give advice to Biden and Palin. Bob Shrum on Biden: "You don't ever assume your guy knows enough, but in Joe's case, the problem is that he knows so much. You want to work carefully on honing his answers in practice sessions. It's four steps: an assertion, two supporting points and then the finish. Biden also should have a good feel in advance for Palin's answers. She's so new to all this that they have given her a set of lines: 'Surge is working,' 'John McCain is a maverick.' You practice the comebacks."

"Biden needs to be ready for two Sarah Palins: the smiling one and the attacking one. Actually, she is pretty good at doing both at the same time. Joe should not go after her at all, but only after McCain. And while he is doing it, Joe cannot adopt a posture of being aggressive toward her or, worse, condescending. He attacks McCain only on the economy -- the GOP ticket's weakest spot. As he does so, Biden talks about his blue-collar background."

Stuart Stevens on Palin: "She should be very aggressive, but primarily toward Obama. She should try to drive a wedge into the Democratic ticket by playing back Biden's own critical, dismissive words about Obama from the primary season. She would not be well served going after snarky debating points. Voters know she can tweak Obama with her gleeful combativeness. That kind of thing plays better to Republican audiences than to a national one. She shouldn't be delivering lines to the faithful." 

Per NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli, Obama strategist David Axelrod talked about the upcoming Biden-Palin debate. On the preparations: "You prepare like you would for any debate." Says VP debates are "the most difficult" though because "in a vice-presidential debate you gotta think about your own record, the candidate's record, and your opponent's record… This is primarily gonna be a debate about where the principals, the presidential candidates, want to take the country, but there's more to keep track of."

On the fact that Biden seems to have the edge heading into Thursday: "Boy I sure don't -- you know, I don't see it that way. I think that if you go back and look at the debates that Governor Palin's had as a candidate, she's very skilled and she'll be well-prepared."

"Sarah Palin faces the biggest test of her month-old candidacy with this Thursday's vice presidential debate, but many Republicans are already convinced the Alaska governor is not ready for prime time -- and may never be," the New York Daily News says.

Fareed Zakaria doesn't hold back after watching Palin's interview with Katie Couric. "Can we now admit the obvious? Sarah Palin is utterly unqualified to be vice president. She is a feisty, charismatic politician who has done some good things in Alaska. But she has never spent a day thinking about any important national or international issue, and this is a hell of a time to start. The next administration is going to face a set of challenges unlike any in recent memory."

More: "Obviously these are very serious challenges and constraints. In these times, for John McCain to have chosen this person to be his running mate is fundamentally irresponsible. McCain says that he always puts country first. In this important case, it is simply not true."