After the Debate: Assessing Biden vs. Palin

Yer darn tootin'!

Yer darn tootin!

UPDATED AGAIN: Ratings? Huge. Biggest debate in 16 years, according to early numbers.

UPDATED: It’s a draw!

That seems to be the consensus from people I’ve talked to/heard from since last night. In our conversation on “Today’s THV This Morning,” Charles Crowson quoted one poll (of course there are many out there this morning) that say 33 percent called the Joe Biden-Sarah Palin debate a tie.

(Click here to see video of the segment.)

I agree with Bryan Jones, who commented to this post saying that, “Biden won on reason. Palin won on feeling.” Palin turned in a markedly better performance than her previous television news interviews suggested, depsite often getting bogged down in talking points and her folksy catch phrases (and the winking — oh, the winking). But she held her own with a seasoned debater in Biden, whose experience talking (and talking, and talking) no one doubts.

Biden, meanwhile, kept his focus, doing what veep candidates are supposed to do: take the fight to the top of the opposing party’s ticket. Palin was almost a non-issue for him.

Still, each candidate got their shots in, and each scored points in a debate that was more lively than the one we saw between Barack Obama and John McCain. Part of that owes to the veep candidates’ larger-than-life personalities, and part of it owes, again, to what veep candidates are supposed to: take on the other ticket, be the attack dog.

Bottom Line

But in the end, despite the more vigorous exchanges between Biden and Palin than between Obama and McCain, the two sides seemed much warmer toward each other. There was Palin’s, “Mind if I call ya Joe?” greeting at the start, and that fascinating scene after the debate, where both the Biden and Palin families hung out on stage meeting and talking to one another.

In the end, neither side probably won many new supporters. But I don’t think they lost any, either.

Arkansas Reaction

Palin did well, Ifill was fine and maybe Biden should be atop the ticket. Good work! [The Arkansas Project]

Palin wins by ‘a landslide’ [The Citizens Journal]

She takes a bite outta Biden, you betcha! [The Tolbert Report]

Brantley: Palin did ‘reasonably well,’ Biden ‘even likeable’ [Arkansas Times]

I doubt many votes moved tonight [Under the Dome]

‘Palin, well scripted, stood up for 90 minutes which, in reality, is a victory for her.’ [Blake’s Think Tank]


Luntz focus group: Palin is ready [Fox News via YouTube]

Debate video clip round-up: sections of the debate arranged by topic [Politico]

Palin’s failed cute: ‘Say it ain’t so, Joe!’ [Gawker]

The three-minute debate [Time]

Just the Facts, Ma’am

Fact checking the debate []

Some facts adrift in debate [Associated Press]

The facts, the inaccuracies [NYT via Mercury News]

Reality check on the veep debate [CBS News]

Around the Nation

Fineman: Palin scores points, but didn’t win [Time]

Klein: Palin was fine, but this debate was no contest [Time]

A tale of two debates … They both survived [Newsweek]

Stanley: A candidate recaptures her image [New York Times]

Kurtz: Palin digs herself out [Washington Post]

Nagourney: The GOP survives the test [New York Times]

Courting the kitchen table [Washington Post]

Balz: Palin delivers but doubts linger [Washington Post]

You betcha she can debate [Politico]

Arena: How did they do? [Politico]

Palin meets expectation but still falls short [Politico]

Palin: Democrats looking back [Bloomberg]

Reaction roundup [Arkansas Times]

The liveblog [Wonkette]

Original post, and comments, after the jump.

Original post:

Thoughts? Leave them in comments. Meanwhile, check out “Today’s THV This Morning” at 6 a.m. Friday, when I’m scheduled to talk to Charles Crowson about tonight’s debate.

We’ll update more Friday morning.


4 Responses

  1. Palin won by simply failing to fail. Biden won because he managed to rein in his speeches and not come off as sexist.

    Both parties did better than expected, but I don’t think either side won any extra votes tonight.

  2. Except for the fact that Biden was flat out wrong on 11 of the facts he quoted as “facts”, he did well. I felt bad for him. He was obviously out classed tonight and new he couldn’t throw a punch which was what he was hoping to do. No major gaffs but lots of factual error–very sad!

  3. Here’s an ad-man’s perspective: Biden won on reason. Palin won on feeling. In advertising, connecting with feelings almost always produces better results than connecting with facts.

  4. Good analysis Bryan.

    Loved ABC coverage last night. Cliff Notes version: “Both did what they needed to do. Democrats will think Biden won, Republicans will think Palin won. Undecideds will call it a tie. We think Biden won.”

    Palin has that “it” thing of Reagan and Clinton (him not her). Probably a wasted effort given the economy but she looks to have a heckuva career ahead.

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