Hard to know who won this one. Palin carried out an effective gameplan put forth by her coaches. She didn't say anything as ridiculous as she had in her interviews with Couric. It certainly was not a knockout by Biden. She may have connected with a lot of people in America with her "folksy" talk. Same people who wanted to hang out with Bush at a BBQ. However, Palin wasn't really challenged on some of her answers, by either Gwen Ifill or Biden. She probably gained more than Biden tonight, given that many Republicans were calling for her to step aside.
Post-debate fact check.
10:32 PM. Palin- Will fight for America, middle-class, proud to be an American, need freedoms. Biden- most important election, last 8 years have been poor, need change in economic and foreign policy, can accomplish anything if work hard.
10:28 PM. Closing statements coming.
10:23 PM. Biden calls out "the Maverick". He points out how his positions have mimicked Bush's all along. Excellent rebuttal.
10:22 PM. She calls McCain the Maverick again!! And again a few sentences later! In reality, McCain has not been much a 'maverick' over the past several years. He has become quite predictable and partisan.
10:20 PM. Both trying to connect with American people, mentioning sitting around kitchen table.
10:13 PM. Another wink. She must have watched the Town Hall Debate Bush v. Kerry in 2004- Bush was winking at the whole crowd.
10:11 PM. "Say it ain't so Joe". She was waiting all night to use that!
10:08 PM. Palin mentions "maverick" again. That's enough, please.
10:05 PM. Palin mentions divestment of Alaskan holdings in Darfur. She avoids whether we should intervene in some manner.
10:03 PM. Palin calling out Biden for voting for the war before voting against it.
10:01 PM. 1 hour in, and I have to admit, Palin has certainly exceeded the expectations that I, and many, had going into this. The "Hustler"?
10 PM. Biden says General in Afghanistan says surge will not work in that country, right after Palin suggests this as a strategy difference.
9:55 PM. Biden calling out McCain/Palin...how will policies be different from George W. Bush....
9:54 PM. Biden recounting the mistakes of the current administration regarding policies and elections in the Middle East. Very powerful (and true).
9:48 PM. Palin with somewhat cogent arguments re: Iran.
9:46 PM. Biden making great points about where the heart of terrorism is located (not Iraq).
9:42 PM. Touche. Biden comes back with good counterpoints (re: timeline, etc).
9:41 PM. Palin making a nice point by pointing out the fact that Biden called out Obama about his votes on funding for the troops.
9:39 PM. Here comes foreign policy questions.
9:38 PM. Biden's right on with rights for same-sex couples. Palin has a pretty good answer as well. Points for both.
9:35 PM. Good for Biden going after the stupid "drill, drill, drill" mantra. Oh, gosh, then she comes back and corrects him on the mantra ("drill, baby, drill"). I'm going to puke.
9:33 PM. Circular arguments on climate change. If cyclical and not man-made, then nothing we can do. How many times is she going to say "energy independence"? Wow, she just mentioned conservation. I have to give her props for that. It's about time a politician mentions this as an option. Biden's arguments on global warming much more direct and objective.
9:25 PM. We are 25 minutes in, and Palin is holding up. Again, the expectations were so low, so it's not saying much. She is trying to pour on the charm with the repeated winks, big smile, and cute little words. She's been practicing a great deal....she's sticking to the script.