In Chicago, Biden Previews Palin Debate

By Sarah Kliff 

CHICAGO, IL - At the beginning of this week, Stumper was looking at Joe Biden's impressive dismantling of claimsthat he would have trouble debating Gov. Sarah Palin because of her gender. “The only guys who think that way have never been around strong women,” was one of the standard lines. The rationale: Biden was laying the groundwork to remove gender from the equation, making it seem sexist NOT to throw some tough jabs at his veep rival.

It didn't take that long to move from Phase A (dismantle claims about gender) to Phase B--attack. At two private fundraisers in Lincoln Park homes in Chicago last night, Biden gave his audience a new take on debating Palin. He did pretty much what he’s been saying he’s going to do for the past few days: left gender completely out of it. First there was this swipe at Palin for focusing on small issues rather than the big pictures:

“I’m not into the small bore stuff. I don’t care whether or not she built a bridge to nowhere. I don’t care if she sold a plane. What I care about is what in God’s name she [is] going to do – along with John McCain – about the thousands of people who don’t have health care.”

And, then there's this one, when he was discussing why the United States has only 10 percent of the world’s "green jobs": “Because we have an asinine [energy] policy. We have a Sarah Palin policy.” Ouch.

This doesn’t mean Biden has decided that gender is completely irrelevant. At those same fundraisers, he dropped the news that Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm is going to spend four days prepping him for his Oct. 2 debate. In other words, he'll be spending a good deal of his practice time debating a woman--not a man. Wonder why? Exit gender…and enter gender again.