It's a bit of a reversal from the presidential debate, with Biden looking at Gwen Iffel, and Palin looking at you, the TV viewer! Biden doesn't seem 100 percent healthy; Palin is glowing like a Botticelli.
Palin's sentences are a nightmare to diagram, so I wont: "John McCain has been one representing reform," for example.
Biden sticks to sorrow, not in anger attacks on McCain and fulsome praise for Obama. Palin will work for "Joe Six-packs, hockey moms across the nation." You know, a lot of hockey moms live in Michiga… oh.
After a few corn-pone injections from Palin, Biden crackles to life: Hey, he knows people too! One of them, at a gas station!
"I'm gonna talk straight to the American people!" God, what an obvious admission that she's prepped for some issues and not for others.
This is following the pattern of other Biden debates and Palin debates. Palin loathes specifics, and cribs from Reagan: "you're not gonna like the feds running your health care!" Biden burrows into numbers.
"How long have I been at this? Five weeks?" Palin's banking on a media backlash.
I'm going to need to see the math on what these people are actually going to dial back to pay for the bailout? Less than it cost, surely, even if you take Biden's $100 billion figure for the gains from stopping offshore banking.
Did Palin just correct Biden on a chant? I think she did.
Bold stuff from Biden on gay marriage: "the Constitution" guarantees hospital visitations. He knows how far out on a limb is with this issue. Indeed, she looks less comfortable talking about the subject.
The Iraq exchange is as much of a time warp as the presidential debate's exchange was. "White flag of surrender," in 2008? Palin, remember, was not for the surge when it began, but she's all in now.
Paging Walt and Mearsheimer: Both candidates are stacking their panders on Israel higher and higher.
Checking other blogs, I'm seeing a lot of praise for Palin and complaints about Biden's "washingtonese." I don't hear it. I find Palin impossible to follow through her magic garden of run-on sentences. Biden is extremely listenable and blunt.
OK, I'll waive that assessment on the Afghan section. Biden assumes a little too much understanding of military strategy from the audience, similiar to McCain last week.
Show, don't tell, Sarah. "Boy, it's clear that I'm a Washington outsider! Americans are cravin' that straight talk!" The goal is to portray Biden as speaking incomprehensible beltway speak and blur the issues. In this round it's a bit more effective, but generally.
Aha! She's out of facts. The "tomorrow the pundits will check that" response to Biden on McCain's strategy was pure filler.
"Wasilla main street." Yeah, Palin is trying to pretend it's the day after the Republican convention and people still adore this schtick.
"Say it ain't so, Joe! There you go again!" I think she meant to spread those one-liners out a bit more. "Ya get extra credit for watching this debate!"
Palin experiences her first actual return volley when she makes fun of Biden's comment that he didn't want to be vice president. She'd been joking about saying she didn't understand what the VP does; she assumed he was joking, too. "I guess that was a lame attempt at humor. Nobody got it." Biden: "Yours or mine? Which one didn't they get?"
At 10:20 or so, Biden took command of this thing. I was wondering how he'd play the family tragedy card: He played it by choking up at the assertion that he didn't understand average families. He got fed up with the "maverick card" and delivered, I think, a devastating punch to Palin for claiming that McCain was anything but a generic Republican on economics.
"I enjoy being able to answer these questions," says the governor who said she would "talk straight" instead of answer questions.