But it worked. Instead of hemming and hawing and staring blankly at the floor while trying to think of the name of a newspaper, any newspaper, Gov. Palin actually did all right.
Of course, my expectations were so low to begin with that the fact that she was able to speak in complete sentences made me think she was doing gangbusters. When Palin gets flustered, she babbles in disconnected phrases and half-sentences. (Biden babbles when he's flustered too, but at least tends to speak in full sentences.) Palin did get flustered a couple of times tonight, but instead of babbling her voice would quiver. It was weird. Luckily her dad was in the audience to keep her together. Wink! Also luckily, she had several talking points to fall back on: maverick, original maverick, maverick of the senate, team of mavericks, etc. At this point, the 1994 Mel Gibson movie should just be playing on a screen behind her 24/7.
I'm surprised she mentioned McCain suspending his campaign, though. That really took me off guard. I would have figured they wanted everyone to forget that in the wake of the bailout bill's failure following McCain's 24-hour "rush" back to D.C. from New York. That she mentioned it at all indicates to me the campaign is still trying to find a way to spin it in their favor. Personally I think they should let it go and hope everyone forgets.
Biden did all right too. He didn't eat his foot or call Obama "articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy." But I do wish the Democrats would stop harping on the "McCain said he wouldn't meet with the president of Spain" thing like it was an actual policy stance. It was clear McCain couldn't hear the question properly. The dude is 72 years old. I'm surprised he's not carrying one of the olde tyme ear horns. Anyway, Biden showed a softer, more emotional side of himself, rather than being a stuffy constitutional law lecturer. He also managed not to come off as condescending toward Palin, which would have been the political equivalent of putting a gun to his own head. He came off as smart, passionate, and I think he actually directly answered 2% more questions than Palin did.
But yeah, tonight was really all about Palin. This was kind of her last chance to make America like her again with her favorable ratings steadily slipping since her electrifying convention speech. Personally I don't think it worked, but we won't know for sure until the post-debate polls come out and we see if her favorables have gone up again.