A semi-masturbatory stream-of-consciousness exercise in solo debate watching:
On the first question, about the bailout, Palin's answer is rehearsed, but clear and well-delivered. On the very next question, Biden gives a quick answer about bipartisanship and then pivots to attack McCain. Palin's response is, again, canned, but not half-bad. Pretty good, actually. If she keeps this up she's gonna make a lot of people on the right very happy.
Palin is talking directly to Joe Six Pack.
Biden looks a little somber. So far he's limiting his attacks to John McCain, effectively ignoring Palin.
...Until now. "The governor did not answer about deregulation."
Now we're on taxes. Biden's answer is effective and to the point. Palin responds with Biden's "paying taxes is patriotic" gaffe. OTOH, she seems to be referring to her notes. But she's knows she's doing well, and it shows.
But Biden's doing well to. On the McCain's health care tax, he's talking right to Middle America, and effectively.
On "what will you give up," Biden gives a very brief token answer then effectively elides the issue and makes it about McCain's economic plan. Palin isn't anywhere near answering the question, but instead makes it about her reformer issue and attacks Obama. Ifill calls her on it. Palin's answer is effusive, but pretty lame on substance.
As of right now, I think Palin has more than cleared the low bar set for her by expectations going into the debate.
On climate change, Sarah starts to babble just a bit.
Biden looks at his notes too, but his riposte on cliate change is solid. Sarah Palin says she doesn't want to argue about the cause, just fix it. How, asks Biden, can you fix it if you don't know what's causing it.
On energy, Palin is certainly holding her own.
Biden just said "same sex marriage." Oops. Palin pounces. But I think the exchange diffuses to nobody's particular benefit.
"Your plan is a white flag of surrender in Iraq." Ow. Let's see how Biden responds. He'd better. Nope. Maybe indirectly. We'll see how that plays out in the spin.
Palin: "nuke-yoo-lar." Heh heh.
This won't be a blowout for either side. Looks like it's gonna be a tie, and that goes to Palin.
Argument on Afghanistan works well for Palin, although not against Biden.
Not sure how Biden's passion on Darfur will play with the electorate.
Biden's getting wordier.
Still, if it were anybody but Palin up there, I think Biden would be widely considered to have performed a crushing victory. Won't play that way, though.
On the VP question, both of them get back to the treasured middle class voter.
"There you go again."
On VP as subject to the executive, Palin is seriously babbling. Biden schools her.
Biden suddenly chokes up. Very affecting. Suddenly Palin's response seems cold in comparison.
I'm getting seriously tired of Palin's "lifted" Reagan quips. And if I hear "maverick" one more time....
Right on cue, Biden skewers the "maverick" myth, and makes a moving appeal to the Middle Class at the same time. Beautiful.
I can't escape this impression:
Palin: cutesy-poo. Well-prepared.
Biden: passionate. Steeped in the issues.
Now, stand by for the spin. I note that a Palin gaffe has been reported already: she botched the name of the commander in Afghanistan.