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I know the partisan Republicans are all a-twitter this morning over what they perceive as a victory by Sarah Palin in last night’s vice-presidential debate, and the McCain campaign would like nothing better than to take the focus off of our economic woes, but unfortunately for them, that’s not going to happen.

The credit freeze is deepening, unemployment is up, and companies large and small are tightening their belts in anticipation of a severe economic slowdown.

From Bloomberg:
“The crisis deepened after the worst month for corporate credit on record. Leveraged loan prices plunged to all-time lows, short-term debt markets seized up and even the safest company debt suffered the worst losses in at least two decades. Credit markets have frozen as financial institutions hoard cash to meet future funding needs amid deepening concern that more banks will collapse.”

The president of Chrysler said, “The credit window is now closed.”

Ford and Toyota reported sales for September were down over 30% from a year ago.

General Motors estimates it is losing 10-12,000 sales a month due to tightening credit.

AT&T is having trouble raising cash. From CNN Money:
“CEO Randall Stephenson said Tuesday that his company was unable to sell any commercial paper last week for terms longer than overnight. Commercial paper, which helps lubricate the flow of business operations, is a short-term IOU available to corporations that banks usually know are good for the money.”

Small businesses are suffering as well. From the New York Times:
“Some small companies say they are no longer able to get loans from newly cautious banks as credit tightens across the country, and even those who do qualify are increasingly reluctant to borrow and expand, fearful of overextending themselves in the midst of the financial crisis.”

Manufacturing is at it’s lowest level since 2001.

According to the Wall Street Journal;
“The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 497,000 in the week ended Sept. 27, the Labor Department said. That was the highest since Sept. 29, 2001.”

Unemployment figures for September are due to be released today and are expected to be bleak.

So I ask you, with these facts and figures staring us squarely in the face, does it really matter how well Sarah Palin is able to speak from a prepared text or recite talking points? Not one iota. What matters is electing a president who has the judgement and the vision to tackle these tough problems, not one who admits that he has little knowledge of economics.