[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/03/viceprez.scorecard.jpg caption="Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Joe Biden greet each other before the start of their vice presidential debate Thursday. "]
Editor-at-large & Senior analyst, TIME Magazine
The Page, TIME.com
In a debate of mostly general questions, she chose never to be any more specific than necessary. Had some planned policy points she was keen to make, but such moments were few and fleeting. Benefited from the format, which invited simplicity and avoided confrontation.
Chose to look directly at the camera most of the time rather than at Joe Biden, moderator Gwen Ifill or the live audience. Her days of intense rehearsal were apparent, but she was much smoother than in recent media interviews when unspooling canned lines and opinions. Was crisp and calm and kept her folksiness to a few short bursts but effectively unleashed her earthy, relatable charm at choice moments in a winning way.
Kept up a drumbeat of criticism against Barack Obama and, to a lesser extent, Biden — but produced no sound-bite moment and was unable to rattle her opponent. Most dramatically, she charged that the Democratic ticket wants to wave a "white flag of surrender" in Iraq. Firmly hit her campaign's main themes (Obama equals higher taxes and Washington business as usual). Ably brandished the opposition research on Obama's record and promises.
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