Transcript Of The V.P. Debate, Part 3

Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., left, responds to a question during the debate with Republican presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, right, at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., Thursday, Oct. 2, 2008. AP


See part 1 here.
See part 2 here.

IFILL: Senator, you have quite a record, this is the next question here, of being an interventionist. You argued for intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo, initially in Iraq and Pakistan and now in Darfur, putting U.S. troops on the ground. Boots on the ground. Is this something the American public has the stomach for?

BIDEN: I think the American public has the stomach for success. My recommendations on Bosnia. I admit I was the first one to recommend it. They saved tens of thousands of lives. And initially
John McCain opposed it along with a lot of other people. But the end result was it worked. Look what we did in Bosnia. We took Serbs,
Croats and Bosniaks, being told by everyone, I was told by everyone that this would mean that they had been killing each other for a thousand years, it would never work.

There's a relatively stable government there now as in Kosovo.
With regard to Iraq, I indicated it would be a mistake to -I gave the president the power. I voted for the power because he said he needed it not to go to war but to keep the United States, the UN in line, to keep sanctions on Iraq and not let them be lifted.

I, along with Dick Lugar, before we went to war, said if we were to go to war without our allies, without the kind of support we need, we'd be there for a decade and it'd cost us tens of billions of dollars. John McCain said, no, it was going to be OK.

I don't have the stomach for genocide when it comes to Darfur.
We can now impose a no-fly zone. It's within our capacity. We can lead NATO if we're willing to take a hard stand. We can, I've been in those camps in Chad. I've seen the suffering, thousands and tens of thousands have died and are dying. We should rally the world to act and demonstrate it by our own movement to provide the helicopters to get the 21,000 forces of the African Union in there now to stop this genocide. 're willing to take a hard stand. We can, I've been in those camps in Chad. I've seen the suffering, thousands and tens of thousands have died and are dying. We should rally the world to act and demonstrate it by our own movement to provide the helicopters to get the 21,000 forces of the African Union in there now to stop this genocide.

IFILL: Thank you, senator. Governor.

PALIN: Oh, yeah, it's so obvious I'm a Washington outsider. And someone just not used to the way you guys operate. Because here you voted for the war and now you oppose the war. You're one who says, as so many politicians do, I was for it before I was against it or vice-versa. Americans are craving that straight talk and just want to know, hey, if you voted for it, tell us why you voted for it and it was a war resolution.

And you had supported John McCain's military strategies pretty adamantly until this race and you had opposed very adamantly Barack
Obama's military strategy, including cutting off funding for the
troops that attempt all through the primary.

And I watched those debates, so I remember what those were all about.

But as for as Darfur, we can agree on that also, the supported of the no-fly zone, making sure that all options are on the table there also.

America is in a position to help. What I've done in my position to help, as the governor of a state that's pretty rich in natural resources, we have a $40 billion investment fund, a savings fund called the Alaska Permanent Fund.

When I and others in the legislature found out we had some millions of dollars in Sudan, we called for divestment through legislation of those dollars to make sure we weren't doing anything that would be seen as condoning the activities there in Darfur. That legislation hasn't passed yet but it needs to because all of us, as individuals, and as humanitarians and as elected officials should do all we can to end those atrocities in that region of the world.

IFILL: Is there a line that should be drawn about when we decide to go in?

BIDEN: Absolutely. There is a line that should be drawn.

IFILL: What is it?

BIDEN: The line that should be drawn is whether we A, first of all have the capacity to do anything about it number one. And number two, certain new lines that have to be drawn internationally. When a country engages in genocide, when a country engaging in harboring terrorists and will do nothing about it, at that point that country in my view and Barack's view forfeits their right to say you have no right to intervene at all.

The truth of the matter is, though, let's go back to John McCain's strategy. I never supported John McCain's strategy on the war. John McCain said exactly what Dick Cheney said, go back and look at Barack Obama's statements and mine. Go look at joebiden.com, contemporaneously, held hearings in the summer before we went to war, saying if we went to war, we would not be greeted as liberator, we would have a fight between Sunnis and Shias, we would be tied down for a decade and cost us hundreds of billions of dollars. McCain's strategy. I never supported John McCain's strategy on the war. John McCain said exactly what Dick Cheney said, go back and look at Barack Obama's statements and mine. Go look at joebiden.com, contemporaneously, held hearings in the summer before we went to war, saying if we went to war, we would not be greeted as liberator, we would have a fight between Sunnis and Shias, we would be tied down for a decade and cost us hundreds of billions of dollars.

John McCain was saying the exact opposite. John McCain was lockstep with Dick Cheney at that point how this was going to be easy. So
John McCain's strategy in this war, not just whether or not to go, the actual conduct of the war has been absolutely wrong from the outset.

IFILL: Governor.

PALIN: I beg to disagree with you, again, here on whether you supported Barack Obama or John McCain's strategies. Here again, you can say what you want to say a month out before people are asked to vote on this, but we listened to the debates.

I think tomorrow morning, the pundits are going to start do the who said what at what time and we'll have proof of some of this, but, again, John McCain who knows how to win a war. Who's been there and he's faced challenges and he knows what evil is and knows what it takes to overcome the challenges here with our military.

He knows to learn from the mistakes and blunders we have seen in the war in Iraq, especially. He will know how to implement the strategies, working with our commanders and listening to what they have to say, taking the politics out of these war issues. He'll know how to win a war.

IFILL: Thank you, governor.

Probably the biggest cliche about the vice-presidency is that it's a heartbeat away, everybody's waiting to see what would happen if the worst happened. How would -you disagree on some things from your principles, you disagree on drilling in Alaska, the National Wildlife Refuge, you disagree on the surveillance law, at least you have in the past. How would a Biden administration be different from an Obama administration if that were to happen.

BIDEN: God forbid that would ever happen, it would be a national tragedy of historic proportions if it were to happen.

But if it did, I would carry out Barack Obama's policy, his policies of reinstating the middle class, making sure they get a fair break, making sure they have access to affordable health insurance, making sure they get serious tax breaks, making sure we can help their children get to college, making sure there is an energy policy that leads us in the direction of not only toward independence and clean environment but an energy policy that creates 5 million new jobs, a foreign policy that ends this war in Iraq, a foreign policy that goes after the one mission the American public gave the president after 9/11, to get and capture or kill bin Laden and to eliminate al Qaeda.

A policy that would in fact engage our allies in making sure that we knew we were acting on the same page and not dictating. cy that would in fact engage our allies in making sure that we knew we were acting on the same page and not dictating.

And a policy that would reject the Bush Doctrine of preemption and regime change and replace it with a doctrine of prevention and cooperation and, ladies and gentlemen, this is the biggest ticket item that we have in this election.

This is the most important election you will ever, ever have voted in, any of you, since 1932. And there's such stark differences,
I would follow through on Barack's policies because in essence, I agree with every major initiative he is suggesting.

IFILL: Governor.

PALIN: And heaven forbid, yes, that would ever happen, no matter how this ends up, that that would ever happen with either party.

As for disagreeing with John McCain and how our administration would work, what do you expect? A team of mavericks, of course we're not going to agree on 100 percent of everything. As we discuss ANWR there, at least we can agree to disagree on that one. I will keep pushing him on ANWR. I have so appreciated he has never asked me to check my opinions at the door and he wants a deliberative debate and healthy debate so we can make good policy.

What I would do also, if that were to ever happen, though, is to continue the good work he is so committed to of putting government back on the side of the people and get rid of the greed and corruption on Wall Street and in Washington.

I think we need a little bit of reality from Wasilla Main Street there, brought to Washington, DC.

PALIN: So that people there can understand how the average working class family is viewing bureaucracy in the federal government and Congress and inaction of Congress.

Just everyday working class Americans saying, you know, government, just get out of my way. If you're going to do any harm and mandate more things on me and take more of my money and income tax and business taxes, you're going to have a choice in just a few weeks here on either supporting a ticket that wants to create jobs and bolster our economy and win the war or you're going to be supporting a ticket that wants to increase taxes, which ultimately kills jobs, and is going to hurt our economy.

BIDEN: Can I respond? Look, all you have to do is go down Union
Street with me in Wilmington or go to Katie's Restaurant or walk into Home Depot with me where I spend a lot of time and you ask anybody in there whether or not the economic and foreign policy of this administration has made them better off in the last eight years. And then ask them whether there's a single major initiative that John McCain differs with the president on. On taxes, on Iraq, on Afghanistan, on the whole question of how to help education, on the dealing with health care. alth care.

Look, the people in my neighborhood, they get it. They get it.
They know they've been getting the short end of the stick. So walk with me in my neighborhood, go back to my old neighborhood in Claymont, an old steel town or go up to Scranton with me. These people know the middle class has gotten the short end. The wealthy have done very well. Corporate America has been rewarded. It's time we change it. Barack Obama will change it.

IFILL: Governor?

PALIN: Say it ain't so, Joe, there you go again pointing backwards again. You preferenced your whole comment with the Bush administration. Now doggone it, let's look ahead and tell Americans what we have to plan to do for them in the future. You mentioned education and I'm glad you did. I know education you are passionate about with your wife being a teacher for 30 years, and god bless her. Her reward is in heaven, right? I say, too, with education, America needs to be putting a lot more focus on that and our schools have got to be really ramped up in terms of the funding that they are deserving. Teachers needed to be paid more. I come from a house full of school teachers. My grandma was, my dad who is in the audience today, he's a schoolteacher, had been for many years. My brother, who I think is the best schoolteacher in the year, and here's a shout-out to all those third graders at Gladys Wood Elementary School, you get extra credit for watching the debate.

Education credit in American has been in some sense in some of our states just accepted to be a little bit lax and we have got to increase the standards. No Child Left Behind was implemented. It's not doing the job though. We need flexibility in No Child Left Behind. We need to put more of an emphasis on the profession of teaching. We need to make sure that education in either one of our agendas, I think, absolute top of the line. My kids as public school participants right now, it's near and dear to my heart. I'm very, very concerned about where we're going with education and we havegot to ramp it up and put more attention in that arena.

IFILL: Everybody gets extra credit tonight. We're going to move on to the next question. Governor, you said in July that someone would have to explain to you exactly what it is the vice president does every day. You, senator, said, you would not be vice president under any circumstances. Now maybe this was just what was going on at the time. But tell us now, looking forward, what it is you think the vice presidency is worth now.

PALIN: In my comment there, it was a lame attempt at a joke and yours was a lame attempt at a joke, too, I guess, because nobody got it. Of course we know what a vice president does.

BIDEN: They didn't get yours or mine? Which one didn't they get?

PALIN: No, no. Of course, we know what a vice president does.
And that's not only to preside over the Senate and will take that position very seriously also. I'm thankful the Constitution would allow a bit more authority given to the vice president if that vice president so chose to exert it in working with the Senate and making sure that we are supportive of the president's policies and making sure too that our president understands what our strengths are. John McCain and I have had good conversations about where I would lead with his agenda. That is energy independence in America and reform of government over all, and then working with families of children with special needs. That's near and dear to my heart also. In those arenas, John McCain has already tapped me and said, that's where I want you, I want you to lead. I said, I can't wait to get and there go to work with you. allow a bit more authority given to the vice president if that vice president so chose to exert it in working with the Senate and making sure that we are supportive of the president's policies and making sure too that our president understands what our strengths are. John McCain and I have had good conversations about where I would lead with his agenda. That is energy independence in America and reform of government over all, and then working with families of children with special needs. That's near and dear to my heart also. In those arenas, John McCain has already tapped me and said, that's where I want you, I want you to lead. I said, I can't wait to get and there go to work with you.

IFILL: Senator?

BIDEN: Gwen, I hope we'll get back to education because I don't know any government program that John is supporting, not early education, more money for it. The reason No Child Left Behind was left behind, the money was left behind, we didn't fund it. We can get back to that I assume.

With regard to the role of vice president, I had a long talk, as
I'm sure the governor did with her principal, in my case with Barack.
Let me tell you what Barack asked me to do. I have a history of getting things done in the United States Senate. John McCain would acknowledge that. My record shows that on controversial issues.

I would be the point person for the legislative initiatives in the United States Congress for our administration. I would also, when asked if I wanted a portfolio, my response was, no. But Barack Obama indicated to me he wanted me with him to help him govern. So every major decision he'll be making, I'll be sitting in the room to give my best advice. He's president, not me, I'll give my best advice.

And one of the things he said early on when he was choosing, he said he picked someone who had an independent judgment and wouldn't be afraid to tell him if he disagreed. That is sort of my reputation, as you know. I look forward to working with Barack and playing a very constructive role in his presidency, bringing about the kind of change this country needs.

IFILL: Governor, you mentioned a moment ago the constitution might give the vice president more power than it has in the past. Do you believe as Vice President Cheney does, that the Executive Branch does not hold complete sway over the office of the vice presidency, that it it is also a member of the Legislative Branch?

PALIN: Well, our founding fathers were very wise there in allowing through the Constitution much flexibility there in the office of the vice president. And we will do what is best for the American people in tapping into that position and ushering in an agenda that is supportive and cooperative with the president's agenda in that position. Yeah, so I do agree with him that we have a lot of flexibility in there, and we'll do what we have to do to administer very appropriately the plans that are needed for this nation. And it is my executive experience that is partly to be attributed to my pick as V.P. with McCain, not only as a governor, but earlier on as a mayor, as an oil and gas regulator, as a business owner. It is those years of experience on an executive level that will be put to good use in the White House also. years of experience on an executive level that will be put to good use in the White House also.

IFILL: Vice President Cheney's interpretation of the vice presidency?

BIDEN: Vice President Cheney has been the most dangerous vice president we've had probably in American history. The idea he doesn't realize that Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the vice president of the United States, that's the Executive Branch. He works in the Executive Branch. He should understand that. Everyone should understand that.

And the primary role of the vice president of the United States of America is to support the president of the United States of
America, give that president his or her best judgment when sought, and as vice president, to preside over the Senate, only in a time when in fact there's a tie vote. The Constitution is explicit.

The only authority the vice president has from the legislative standpoint is the vote, only when there is a tie vote. He has no authority relative to the Congress. The idea he's part of the
Legislative Branch is a bizarre notion invented by Cheney to aggrandize the power of a unitary executive and look where it has gotten us. It has been very dangerous.

IFILL: Let's talk conventional wisdom for a moment. The conventional wisdom, Governor Palin with you, is that your Achilles heel is that you lack experience. Your conventional wisdom against you is that your Achilles heel is that you lack discipline, Senator
Biden. What id it really for you, Governor Palin? What is it really for you, Senator Biden? Start with you, governor.

PALIN: My experience as an executive will be put to good use as a mayor and business owner and oil and gas regulator and then as governor of a huge state, a huge energy producing state that is accounting for much progress towards getting our nation energy independence and that's extremely important.

But it wasn't just that experience tapped into, it was my connection to the heartland of America. Being a mom, one very concerned about a son in the war, about a special needs child, about kids heading off to college, how are we going to pay those tuition bills? About times and Todd and our marriage in our past where we didn't have health insurance and we know what other Americans are going through as they sit around the kitchen table and try to figure out how are they going to pay out-of-pocket for health care? We've been there also so that connection was important.

But even more important is that world view that I share with John McCain. That world view that says that America is a nation of exceptionalism. And we are to be that shining city on a hill, as
President Reagan so beautifully said, that we are a beacon of hope and that we are unapologetic here. We are not perfect as a nation. But together, we represent a perfect ideal. And that is democracy and tolerance and freedom and equal rights. Those things that we stand for that can be put to good use as a force for good in this world.

John McCain and I share that. You combine all that with being a team with the only track record of making a really, a difference in where we've been and reforming, that's a good team, it's a good ticket.

IFILL: Senator?

BIDEN: You're very kind suggesting my only Achilles Heel is my lack of discipline.

BIDEN: Others talk about my excessive passion. I'm not going to change. I have 35 years in public office. People can judge who I am.
I haven't changed in that time.

And, by the way, a record of change -I will place my record and
Barack's record against John McCain's or anyone else in terms of fundamental accomplishments. Wrote the crime bill, put 100,000 cops on the street, wrote the Violence Against Women Act, which John McCain voted against both of them, was the catalyst to change the circumstance in Bosnia, led by President Clinton, obviously.

Look, I understand what it's like to be a single parent. When my wife and daughter died and my two sons were gravely injured, I understand what it's like as a parent to wonder what it's like if your kid's going to make it.

I understand what it's like to sit around the kitchen table with a father who says, "I've got to leave, champ, because there's no jobs here. I got to head down to Wilmington. And when we get enough money, honey, we'll bring you down."

I understand what it's like. I'm much better off than almost all Americans now. I get a good salary with the United States Senate. I live in a beautiful house that's my total investment that I have. So
I -I am much better off now.

But the notion that somehow, because I'm a man, I don't know what it's like to raise two kids alone, I don't know what it's like to have a child you're not sure is going to -is going to make it -I understand.

I understand, as well as, with all due respect, the governor or anybody else, what it's like for those people sitting around that kitchen table. And guess what? They're looking for help. They're looking for help. They're not looking for more of the same.

IFILL: Governor?

PALIN: People aren't looking for more of the same. They are looking for change. And John McCain has been the consummate maverick in the Senate over all these years.

He's taken shots left and right from the other party and from within his own party, because he's had to take on his own party when the time was right, when he recognized it was time to put partisanship aside and just do what was right for the American people. to take on his own party when the time was right, when he recognized it was time to put partisanship aside and just do what was right for the American people.

That's what I've done as governor, also, take on my own party, when I had to, and work with both sides of the aisle, in my cabinet, appointing those who would serve regardless of party, Democrats, independents, Republicans, whatever it took to get the job done.

Also, John McCain's maverick position that he's in, that's really prompt up to and indicated by the supporters that he has. Look at
Lieberman, and Giuliani, and Romney, and Lingle, and all of us who come from such a diverse background of -of policy and of partisanship, all coming together at this time, recognizing he is the man that we need to leave -lead in these next four years, because these are tumultuous times.

We have got to win the wars. We have got to get our economy back on track. We have got to not allow the greed and corruption on Wall
Street anymore.

And we have not got to allow the partisanship that has really been entrenched in Washington, D.C., no matter who's been in charge.
When the Republicans were in charge, I didn't see a lot of progress there, either. When the Democrats, either, though, this last go-around for the last two years.

Change is coming. And John McCain is the leader of that reform.

IFILL: Senator...

BIDEN: I'll be very brief. Can I respond to that?

Look, the maverick -let's talk about the maverick John McCain is. And, again, I love him. He's been a maverick on some issues, but he has been no maverick on the things that matter to people's lives.

He voted four out of five times for George Bush's budget, which put us a half a trillion dollars in debt this year and over $3 trillion in debt since he's got there.

He has not been a maverick in providing health care for people.
He has voted against -he voted including another 3.6 million children in coverage of the existing health care plan, when he voted in the United States Senate.

He's not been a maverick when it comes to education. He has not supported tax cuts and significant changes for people being able to send their kids to college.

He's not been a maverick on the war. He's not been a maverick on virtually anything that genuinely affects the things that people really talk about around their kitchen table.

Can we send -can we get Mom's MRI? Can we send Mary back to school next semester? We can't -we can't make it. How are we going to heat the -heat the house this winter?

He voted against even providing for what they call LIHEAP, for assistance to people, with oil prices going through the roof in the winter. assistance to people, with oil prices going through the roof in the winter.

So maverick he is not on the important, critical issues that
affect people at that kitchen table.

IFILL: Final question tonight, before your closing statements, starting with you, Senator Biden. Can you think of a single issue -and this is to cast light for people who are just trying to get to know you in your final debate, your only debate of this year -can you think of a single issue, policy issue, in which you were forced to change a long-held view in order to accommodate changed circumstances?

BIDEN: Yes, I can. When I got to the United States Senate and went on the Judiciary Committee as a young lawyer, I was of the view and had been trained in the view that the only thing that mattered was whether or not a nominee appointed, suggested by the president had a judicial temperament, had not committed a crime of moral turpitude, and was -had been a good student.

And it didn't take me long -it was hard to change, but it didn't take me long, but it took about five years for me to realize that the ideology of that judge makes a big difference.

That's why I led the fight against Judge Bork. Had he been on the court, I suspect there would be a lot of changes that I don't like and the American people wouldn't like, including everything from Roe

v. Wade to issues relating to civil rights and civil liberties.
And so that -that -that was one of the intellectual changes that took place in my career as I got a close look at it. And that's why I was the first chairman of the Judiciary Committee to forthrightly state that it matters what your judicial philosophy is.
The American people have a right to understand it and to know it.

But I did change on that, and -and I'm glad I did.

IFILL: Governor?

PALIN: There have been times where, as mayor and governor, we have passed budgets that I did not veto and that I think could be considered as something that I quasi-caved in, if you will, but knowing that it was the right thing to do in order to progress the agenda for that year and to work with the legislative body, that body that actually holds the purse strings.

So there were times when I wanted to zero-base budget, and to cut taxes even more, and I didn't have enough support in order to accomplish that.

But on the major principle things, no, there hasn't been something that I've had to compromise on, because we've always seemed to find a way to work together. Up there in Alaska, what we have done is, with bipartisan efforts, is work together and, again, not caring who gets the credit for what, as we accomplish things up there.

And that's been just a part of the operation that I wanted to participate in. And that's what we're going to do in Washington,
D.C., also, bring in both sides together. John McCain is known for doing that, also, in order to get the work done for the American people.

IFILL: Let's come full circle. You both want to bring both sides together. You both talk about bipartisanship. Once again, we saw what happened this week in Washington. How do you change the tone, as vice president, as number-two?

BIDEN: Well, again, I believe John McCain, were he here -and this is a dangerous thing to say in the middle of an election -but
he would acknowledge what I'm about to say.

I have been able to work across the aisle on some of the most controversial issues and change my party's mind, as well as Republicans', because I learned a lesson from Mike Mansfield.

Mike Mansfield, a former leader of the Senate, said to me one day
-he -I made a criticism of Jesse Helms. He said, "What would you do if I told you Jesse Helms and Dot Helms had adopted a child who had braces and was in real need?" I said, "I'd feel like a jerk."

He said, "Joe, understand one thing. Everyone's sent here for a reason, because there's something in them that their folks like.
Don't question their motive."

I have never since that moment in my first year questioned the motive of another member of the Congress or Senate with whom I've disagreed. I've questioned their judgment.

I think that's why I have the respect I have and have been able to work as well as I've been able to have worked in the United States Senate. That's the fundamental change Barack Obama and I will be
bring to this party, not questioning other people's motives.

IFILL: Governor?

PALIN: You do what I did as governor, and you appoint people regardless of party affiliation, Democrats, independents, Republicans. You -you walk the walk; you don't just talk the talk.

And even in my own family, it's a very diverse family. And we have folks of all political persuasion in there, also, so I've grown up just knowing that, you know, at the end of the day, as long as we're all working together for the greater good, it's going to be OK.

But the policies and the proposals have got to speak for themselves, also. And, again, voters on November 4th are going to have that choice to either support a ticket that supports policies that create jobs.

You do that by lowering taxes on American workers and on our businesses. And you build up infrastructure, and you rein in government spending, and you make our -our nation energy independent. government spending, and you make our -our nation energy independent.

Or you support a ticket that supports policies that will kill jobs by increasing taxes. And that's what the track record shows, is
a desire to increase taxes, increase spending, a trillion-dollar spending proposal that's on the table. That's going to hurt our country, and saying no to energy independence. Clear choices on
November 4th.

IFILL: Governor Palin, you get the chance to make the first closing statement.

PALIN: Well, again, Gwen, I do want to thank you and the commission. This is such an honor for me.

And I appreciate, too, Senator Biden, getting to meet you, finally, also, and getting to debate with you. And I would like more opportunity for this.

I like being able to answer these tough questions without the filter, even, of the mainstream media kind of telling viewers what they've just heard. I'd rather be able to just speak to the American people like we just did.

And it's so important that the American people know of the choices that they have on November 4th.

I want to assure you that John McCain and I, we're going to fight for America. We're going to fight for the middle-class, average,
everyday American family like mine.

I've been there. I know what the hurts are. I know what the challenges are. And, thank God, I know what the joys are, too, of living in America. We are so blessed. And I've always been proud to be an American. And so has John McCain.

We have to fight for our freedoms, also, economic and our national security freedoms.

It was Ronald Reagan who said that freedom is always just one generation away from extinction. We don't pass it to our children in the bloodstream; we have to fight for it and protect it, and then hand it to them so that they shall do the same, or we're going to find ourselves spending our sunset years telling our children and our children's children about a time in America, back in the day, when men and women were free.

We will fight for it, and there is only one man in this race who has really ever fought for you, and that's Senator John McCain.

IFILL: Thank you, Governor. Senator Biden.

BIDEN: Gwen, thank you for doing this, and the commission, and
Governor, it really was a pleasure getting to meet you. Look, folks, this is the most important election you've ever voted in your entire life. No one can deny that the last eight years, we've been dug into a very deep hole here at home with regard to our economy, and abroad in terms of our credibility. And there's a need for fundamental change in our economic philosophy, as well as our foreign policy. the most important election you've ever voted in your entire life. No one can deny that the last eight years, we've been dug into a very deep hole here at home with regard to our economy, and abroad in terms of our credibility. And there's a need for fundamental change in our economic philosophy, as well as our foreign policy.

And Barack Obama and I don't measure progress toward that change based on whether or not we cut more regulations and how well CEOs are doing, or giving another $4 billion in tax breaks to the Exxon Mobils of the world.

We measure progress in America based on whether or not someone can pay their mortgage, whether or not they can send their kid to college, whether or not they're able to, when they send their child, like we have abroad -or I'm about to, abroad - and John has as well, I might add - to fight, that they are the best equipped and they have everything they need. And when they come home, they're guaranteed that they have the best health care and the best education possible.

You know, in the neighborhood I grew up in, it was all about dignity and respect. A neighborhood like most of you grew up in. And in that neighborhood, it was filled with women and men, mothers and fathers who taught their children if they believed in themselves, if they were honest, if they worked hard, if they loved their country, they could accomplish anything. We believed it, and we did.

That's why Barack Obama and I are running, to re-establish that certitude in our neighborhoods.

Ladies and gentlemen, my dad used to have an expression. He'd say, "champ, when you get knocked down, get up."

Well, it's time for America to get up together. America's ready, you're ready, I'm ready, and Barack Obama is ready to be the next president of the United States of America.

May God bless all of you, and most of all, for both of us, selfishly, may God protect our troops.

IFILL: That ends tonight's debate. We want to thank the folks here at Washington University in St. Louis, and the Commission on Presidential Debates.

There are two more debates to come. Next Tuesday, October 7th, with Tom Brokaw at Belmont University in Nashville, and on October
15th at Hofstra University in New York, with Bob Schieffer.

Thank you, Governor Palin and Senator Biden. Good night, everybody.
The Commission On Presidential Debates
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