Now that I’ve had several hours to let the chips fall and think about things more clearly, I believe there was a decisive victor in the debate last night. That person was Gwen Ifill who, despite he Obama-friendly book coming out in January, was very professional and I thought evenhanded in the questioning. She followed-up with both candidates and told both of them when they weren’t answering questions.
Of course, Ifill isn’t running for office so let’s get to the what matters.
Anyone hoping to tune in and see some kind of melee where Biden mopped the floor with Palin was sorely disappointed. She held her own with the 35-year veteran of the senate. Her performance wasn’t amazing, but it was good, which is what it needed to be. Biden, on the other hand, performed as expected as there really wasn’t a bar set for him, he also performed very well.
Palin needed to sound presidential, needed to answer the question as it was presented. She did that for the most and had Biden on the defense a good portion of the debate. Biden is very skilled though, he played things off well and took it back to Palin.
I believe many in the media were thinking this debate was going to send polls further to Obama’s direction and I don’t think that happened. I would say this election is probably where it was on Wednesday but perhaps with a more confidently energized Republican base after Palin’s performance.
Neither candidate had a major mistake or gaffe, both garbled things a little from time to time as expected. It comes down to substance and effectiveness. Truth be told, Biden had more factual tidbits and facts in his answers. They sounded like the answers delivered on the Senate floor, perhaps. Palin had effectiveness in communicating with people on a more familiar level they can relate to. The question is, which does the American people want more? I’m not going to answer it but I believe that is what it comes down to.
Now, onto the media pundits who all had some mixed statements and reviews:
First, CNN’s analysis:
Here’s a very fair, honest assessment from the Today Show on NBC
I think NBC hit the nail on the head there. They both performed well but Palin’s performance managed to excite and engage Republicans.
Karl Rove on Fox News:
Olbermann, Maddow, and Buchanan on MSNBC:
Report from CBS News with analysis:
Report from Yahoo News:
ST. LOUIS – John McCain’s campaign aches needed a tonic.
On a day when he abandoned the fight with rival Barack Obama in one battleground state and national polls showed him trailing overall, running mate Sarah Palin put on a debate performance that soothed the pain.
Going up against Democratic running mate Joe Biden, the Alaska governor offered reassurance to Republicans and conservatives unnerved by her lack of national experience and her faltering conduct in two recent TV network interviews.
She winked and smiled and shrugged through a litany of grievances against Obama on taxes, the war in Iraq and energy. She jotted down notes, glancing at them from behind her lectern as she checked off the points of her replies. And she made a case to the middle class, offering a populist answer to the cause of the current housing crisis.
“Darn right it was the predator lenders, who tried to talk Americans into thinking that it was smart to buy a $300,000 house if we could only afford a $100,000 house,” she said.
But even as Palin reversed some of the harm she had caused herself, Biden was meeting his own tasks as well. Time and again, the veteran Delaware senator tied McCain to unpopular President Bush and managed to connect with the audience on a personal level as much as he did on policy points.
Disciplined, he defended Obama from attacks, but refused to engage Palin in a tit-for-tat exchange.
They both did what they had to do. Biden was very disciplined, he did not run on in his answers or make any gaffe as he’s prone to do. Palin came across as eager to answer and eager to engage, unlike the Couric interview days before.
Both candidates were effective for their respective campaigns.