I don't know which debate some folks were watching (particularly the commentators on CNN), but i saw Palin caught being shrill, phony, ignorant, dishonest, narrow, clichéd and obvious about it, bitchy and out-classed repeatedly; and as Rady Ananda pointed out, there was that time she seemed affected by Biden and stammered, looked flummoxed and desperate, for the space of several questions. For a while she was undone.
I don't consider her avoiding questions scoring points especially as baldly as she did it, especially as often, and most especially the fact that each time she blew off the questions to return to her script, it was such a narrow script on energy plans, and being vague about the greed on Wall Street. Most importantly i saw her straight-facedly advance some of the most transparent attempted deceptions of the McCain camp about his less than stellar record and her lack of one.
Also in her back into her own messes way, Palin gave reference to the real reason she was on the ticket: Alaska oil and gas, including the huge natural gas pipeline she symbolically waved as a show of her power, but instead it revealed that it wasn’t about the lipstick or the pit bull with Palin in the end. With Palin it’s more about getting Alaska and putting up with her, than any other consideration of why she’s claimed to have tapped for this role.
Many said Biden had to win by not bullying her, while all the while trashing McCain and Bush and he did that so many times Palin eventually chided him for looking back and jaw-droppingly acknowledged the Bush admin had made blunders. She even repeated herself and you could imagine the collective hiss from the steam letting out of the GOP Watch Parties across the country.
I saw Biden slam home several points that were played with style and cleverness, including more than once getting a zinger last word on a subject and Palin getting no chance to refute, leaving her unsettled to start her next round. Well played. I also saw him slap down GOP BS when she tried to spread it, like on the Vote to cut funding for the troops thing when Biden noted McCain did the same thing and the campaign’s respective tax plans.
Watching on CNN we saw a graphic supposedly of lines reflecting "Undecided Ohio Voters" broken down by men and women. We saw Palin at negative or flat-lined a majority of the time with these voters and Biden repeatedly scoring, particularly with women to a point where the EKG like scrolling graph topped out, climbed all the way to the top of the chart then slid along the upper edge, particularly on lines about education and Bush being scum. The tale of the tape on this one showed that much of the time, particularly in the later portions of the debate, the audience whether or not the audience agreed or disagreed, most of the time they could’ve cared less just as long as she’d stop speaking since they’d all already heard it before.
Biden scored one of his biggest moments when Palin, by his (and by my) reckoning, misinterpreted the Constitution about the legislative powers of the vice president. Biden hit that one in the sweet spot on his reply that reaffirms the rabid liberals who were once Obama's base. As the Illinois Senator has rushed to the middle of the road those initially inspired have had their enthusiasm somewhat tempered by his transformation from a member of the choir Wright was preaching to, to a moderate Afghan War loving, Israel loving, Off-shore Oil Drilling 'Democrat-style Commodity." The poor man has been bleached of as much color as is possible without totally cooling off his base.
So, when Palin poorly asserted that she looked forward to the powers of the Vice President in the Senate, and imagined to what extent can 'he,' or god forbid in this case 'she,' craft and direct legislation. She then obligatorily tossed Dick Cheney a prop for his work with muscling Congress. Biden then gave was undoubtedly the liberals rallying cry quote: Biden made a point of looking straight at the camera and said, "Dick Cheney is the most dangerous vice president this country has ever had."
That's a line that me and millions like me needed to hear to keep our faith.
So many pundits watching the show measured it by how well or not well they perceived Palin; but Biden was also in a position to sell a plan and hit one, or several, out of the park.
As far as i'm concerned he did just that.