Instant Debate Reaction


CNN Poll: Biden Wins Debate
A new CNN poll of Americans who watched the vice presidential debate shows that most felt Sen. Joe Biden beat Gov. Sarah Palin, 51% to 36%.

Vice Presidential Debate Reaction
With expectations so low for Gov. Sarah Palin, she did better than many probably thought she could. But in the second half of the debate, it was as if she ran out of things to say. Her performance was very uneven, particulary on foreign policy.

In contrast, Sen. Joe Biden got stronger as the debate went on. He showed he has the best debating skills on either ticket. He was particularly strong in defending Sen. Barack Obama and strapping Sen. John McCain tightly to President Bush. Biden handily won this debate.

Other reactions:

Andrew Sullivan: “Biden’s sobriety and authority and call for fundamental change is both reasonable and solid. It will resonate, I think. As you can read, I began this debate feeling that she was steam-rolling him. She was. But it was a steam-roller coming at you on fumes, not real fuel. She doesn’t have it. Maybe one day she might. But not now. Biden’s peroration was very, very strong. There is no contest here. There was only one loser: Gewn Ifill. She was intimidated, peripheral, neutered. The rules didn’t help. But Ifill put in a dreadful performance.”

Ben Smith: “My quick take is that Palin passed a pass-fail test, though she flagged as the debate went on. Though she was chosen for her emotion connection, she was the drier of the two candidates… Biden, meanwhile, was — as he should have been, given his experience and skill at this — a more effective presence, and a more lucid one. He effectively, and emotionally, used the forum to drive the Obama campaign’s core message that McCain isn’t the man for the economic moment.”

Marc Ambinder: “Averaging expectations, style and points, it was a wash. Partisans have reason to be satisfied; I honestly have no idea how undecided voters will react (although CBS’s panel of them gave Biden an edge.)”

Mark Halperin: “No big moments, no news, little to spoof about Palin, no major Biden gaffes.”

Ezra Klein: “Palin turned in a genuinely competent performance, and Biden turned in a superlative one. His performance tonight was the best I’ve seen from any candidate in this election, including the primaries. Just a superb job. I’m a bad barometer for middle America, but tonight seemed a clear win for him and his ticket.”


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