This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," September 13, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
PAUL GIGOT, FOX HOST: Coming up next on the "Journal Editorial Report," the battle over Sarah Palin as John McCain's VP pick dominates the debate for the second straight week. We'll look at the Obama campaign strategy for taking her on. Is it smart politics?
From earmarks to energy policy, we'll dissect Palin's record as governor of Alaska.
Bail out nation. Who's to blame for the Fannie and Freddie debacle?
Are Detroit automakers next in line for a government handout?
The "Journal Editorial Report" begins right now.
Welcome to the "Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.
First up, the battle over Sarah Palin. For the second straight week, John McCain's VP pick dominated the political debate with Democratic presidential candidate rock Obama on the attack over her record and on defense over some poorly chosen words in a speech. This, as the McCain campaign kept Palin largely under wraps before her debut interview on "ABC News."
Here with a look at whether either campaigns Palin strategy is working is "Wall Street Journal" columnist and deputy editor Dan Henninger, columnist marry Anastasia O'Grady, opinionjournal.com columnist John Fund and Washington columnist Kim Strassel.
Kim, first to you. How effective do you think this Obama strategy is a going after Sarah Palin as opposed to going after John McCain?
KIM STRASSEL, WASHINGTON COLUMNIST: Not effective at all. It is never good news when the top of a ticket feels the need to tear down and compare themselves to the second person on another ticket.
The other problem with this too is the things Barack Obama is choosing to slam Sarah Palin for are things that just keep in the news stuff that he would rather not have to talk about, his own experience in comparison to hers, and, for instance, earmarks in which he doesn't necessarily have a good record. This isn't helping him.
GIGOT: But wait a minute, Dan, doesn't Obama have to take her down a pet. She is energizing — all the polls show it. She's energizing Republicans the same way a lot of Democrats were energized by Obama. When McCain went after Obama and took some of the luster off him personally, calling him a celebrity and so on, that seemed to work. Why can't they do that to Palin and why shouldn't they?
DAN HENNINGER, COLUMNIT AND DEPUTY EDITOR: I have talked anecdotally to the Democratic faithful. And they want her taken down. There's no question about it. The big problem here is Sarah Palin is an authentic political phenomenon. This is like a force of nature. It is going to be very hard to stop in the traditional way.
I put it this way. If you're going to come up with things she has done wrong on a scale of 1-10, they need a nine or a 10. They have to blow her out. Everything else merely re-energizes the Republicans. and we have been watching it happen right before our eyes day after day. They make the Republicans stronger.
GIGOT: Anything, John, that they can use to make it happen? Where is the nine or 10 that Dan is talking about? Is there one?
JOHN FUND, OPINIONJOURNAL.COM: In Alaska they're hoping for troopergate which is perhaps the bungled attempt by some members of her staff to get a state trooper that had been married to her sister, who misbehaved, fired. I think it is rather murky and the state trooper is an unsympathetic figure. There are people out there working for 527 groups, labor unions and others trying to unearth her background and resume. That's fair game by the way. She is largely a...
GIGOT: It's part of her record. You have to look at that.
FUND: Absolutely. Absolutely. But I think that the Democrats should have waited. When the first presidential debate happens on September 26th, the focus will go back to McCain and Obama for a while. Then we will move into a more issues-oriented campaign. I think they panicked when they saw Palin and they saw white women moving away in the polls.
GIGOT: Mary, it is clear, that point that John makes about white women. There is the risk of a backlash among women if you seem to be attacking Palin. The McCain campaign is running an ad that's playing right to that.