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Across Country, Differing Views On VP Debate

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

The best watched show of the new fall television season may come tonight when Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Delaware Senator Joseph Biden take the stage in St. Louis. It is the first and only debate between the Republican and Democratic vice presidential nominees.

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

The live 90-minute event begins at nine Eastern time. It will be moderated by Gwen Ifill of PBS under rules set by the campaigns. Suffice to say there may be more interest in the showdown of these potential number twos than in next week's presidential debate.

SIEGEL: Well, we dispatched reporters to a few different cities today to find out what people want from tonight's Palin-Biden debate.

JULIE GOLDER: My name is Julie Golder. I'm from West Hartford, Connecticut. I'm just hoping to see two intelligent people do their best. I just hope there's not a lot of nasty fighting. So I just hope it's a fair debate, and everybody plays by the rules.

NOREEN MCGILL: I'm Noreen McGill from Bloomfield, Connecticut. What I'm expecting tonight is that Sarah Palin will come across very down to earth, aggressive, speaking from her heart not from her head. And my hope is that Senator Biden comes across as a thoughtful, intelligent gentleman and doesn't come across condescending.

JULIE BORRIAGOATHS: My name is Julie Borriagoaths. I live in Orem, Utah, and I'm a professor of chemistry. Well, Governor Palin bills herself as an expert in energy. And as a scientist, I'm very much interested in what her plans are, what she would propose that we do with respect to long-term energy needs.

NICOLETTE DEOGARDY: Nicolette Deogardy from Athens, Ohio. And what I want to hear from the candidates tonight is how quickly and how fast they are going to resolve the economic crisis that the country is facing, and how quickly and how fast they're going to remove our troops from Iraq.

CRAIG FLANNERY: My name is Craig Flannery, and I live in Hartford, Connecticut. Hopefully, I would expect Sarah Palin to really lay it into Joe Biden. I'd like to see her really stick it to everybody.

STEVE COURTNEY: Steve Courtney, and I live in Cheshire, Connecticut. It's going to be a pivotal night for her. And I think that she's really got to show that all the stories are untrue of her being unqualified.

BLOCK: And you can listen to the vice presidential debate at 9 p.m. Eastern tonight on many NPR stations as well as at npr.org. There we'll also have real-time analysis and fact checking of the candidates' statements. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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