Almost 70 million Americans tuned in to watch the vice presidential debate this week, according to Nielsen, making the Sen. Joe Biden/Gov. Sarah Palin sparring the third most-viewed debate of either presidential or vice presidential candidates since 1992.
The 69.99 million viewers compares thusly with previous No. 2 romps:
43.6 million watched Vice President Dick Cheney debate then-Sen. John Edwards, D-NC, (yes, he was once unquestionably a plausible candidate) in 2004.
29 million watched Cheney debate Sen. Joe Lieberman (yes, he was once a Democrat) in 2000.
26.6 million watched then-Vice President Al Gore and former Rep. Jack Kemp, D-NY, go at it in 1996.
51.2 million watched Gore debate then-Vice President Dan Quayle and Admiral James Stockdale ("Who am I? Why am I here?") in 1992.
46.9 million watched Quayle debate the late then-Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, D-Texas, ("You’re no Jack Kennedy") in 1988.
56.7 million tuned in to watch then-Vice President George H.W. Bush debate then-Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, D-NY, (yes, she was once unquestionably a Democrat once) in 1984.
For that matter, 52.4 million watched the presidential debate last week between Senator Whats-his-name* and Barack Obama.
More at James Hibberd’s The Live Feed.
* For the humor impaired, this is just a joking reference to how much media attention Gov. Palin has garnered and the intense public interest in her, and the McCain campaign’s not entirely ill-founded complaints earlier this campaign that they have had trouble getting media attention for the man at the top of the ticket. Please relax.