No gaffes at Biden-Palin debate

The only public duel between the two U.S. vice president nominees turned out to be polite but not intriguing. No gaffes, no revelations and with little direct engagement between the speakers. All in all, the debate was not the vote decider it might have b

Republican Sarah Palin performed better then expected. She spoke fluently and coherently, in contrast to several recent interviews widely mocked by critics. The positive effect was somewhat spoiled by her constant checking her notes and winking at the audience.

Joe Biden’s record of babbling and fumbling is much longer – befitting his 35 years experience in the politics – but the Democratic VP candidate didn’t make any mistakes – apart from referring to McCain as Obama when talking about the Republican candidate’s healthcare plan.

Gwen Ifill of the Public Broadcasting Service, who moderated the debate, was as balanced as ever, with no sign of her supposedly biased attitude, for which some Republican bloggers had criticised her.

Overall the focus was on domestic issues rather then foreign policy. Palin did a good job in her comfort zone of energy policy and stressed that her experience as Mayor and Governor gave her an insight into the ordinary American’s life. For his part, Biden emphasised McCain’s many moments of walking hand-in-hand with the unpopular Bush administration.

When talking about Iraq, Palin said Barack Obama's policy would raise ‘a white flag of surrender,’ while Biden lashed out at McCain’s reluctance to focus on Afghanistan and the Al-Qaeda insurgents there. Both candidates stuck to the lines we’d already heard in the course of the campaign.

The Democratic nominee scored the evening’s most heart-touching moment when he choked while speaking about the death of his wife and daughter and how he knew what struggle was.

Post-event polls gave the victory to Joe Biden. CNN said 52 per cent of respondents thought he was the better, compared with Palin's 36 per cent. CBS’s numbers differed but Biden still led with 46 per cent versus the 21 per cent for the Republican.

The debate ended with the prospective VPs squaring off. Neither had struck disaster, but on the other hand neither had clinched a decisive victory.

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