WASHINGTON, D.C. - Negotiators from the campaigns of Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain agreed to format details in the October 2nd debate between Vice Presidential running mates Senator Joe Biden and Governor Sarah Palin, according to sources involved in the talks.
At issue was the length and duration of the questioning period for both candidates, as well as the topics covered. The format finally settled on was split between the candidates. Mr. Biden will be governed by shorter answer periods than the presidential candidates will see, and also a shorter response period to Palin's answers. His range of topic areas will vary between foreign policy, widely believed to be his strong suit, and areas such as the economy, energy policy and social issues.
Mrs. Palin will be governed by a slightly altered set of rules. Instead of being asked questions by the moderator, she will be given a series of nouns, all of which fit into categories such as "Things That Are Sharp" and "Places You Wear Boots". Her task will be to name the category in which all of the people, places or things fit, and do so for six such categories in sixty seconds. Mr. Biden, kept in a soundproof booth, will then have to come out and replicate the task. The winner will be determined based on who either names all six categories most quickly or, barring completion, who names the most categories accurately.
The unprecedented rules were agreed to after Mrs. Palin's first two attempts at spontaneously reacting to questions on the campaign trail. On September 18th, CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked the Governor about the distribution of domestically drilled oil in the world market, and how it could be kept for domestic use. Mrs. Palin answered: "Oil and coal? Of course, it's a fungible commodity and they don't flag, you know, the molecules, where it's going and where it's not. But in the sense of the Congress today, they know that there are very, very hungry domestic markets that need that oil first. So, I believe that what Congress is going to do, also, is not to allow the export bans to such a degree that it's Americans that get stuck to holding the bag without the energy source that is produced here, pumped here. It's got to flow into our domestic markets first."
On September 17th, a pool reporter asked Mrs. Palin about the $85 billion bailout of insurance company AIG. Her response: "“Disappointed that taxpayers are called upon to bailout another one. Certainly AIG though with the construction bonds that they’re holding and with the insurance that they are holding very, very impactful to Americans so, you know, the shot that has been called by the Feds, it's understandable but very, very disappointing that taxpayers are called upon for another one.”
It is believed that the new rules distribute equal favor to both parties - the McCain camp believes that Palin's shorter answers will better showcase the personal appeal that was on display at the Republican Party's national convention earlier this month, and the Obama camp believes that Palin's truncated stage time will prevent Joe Biden from, according to a senior source, "putting a gun to his goddamn head and pulling the trigger having to sit through that shit. Seriously. I mean, fuck, really? Christ. Fungible molecules my black ass."