- Biden has slogged it out in the Senate for 30 years and come to terms with the fact he'll never be President, so he's running for VP with a man he really doesn't like or respect very much.
- Sarah Palin can somehow be clever and charming yet completely incoherent. She just throws out all the words she can think of and hopes they stick.
- Main theme: Biden - "The Bush administration has been a train wreck and you're no different."
- Main theme: Palin - "I don't know anything about that, let's talk about energy".
- They both bashed the Bush administration, oil companies, and Wall Street.
- They both blamed mortgage lenders for the subprime mortgage crisis. Yeah, we hold guns to people's heads - because we're greedy and corrupt- to get them to buy houses, then we pay mobsters to package mortgage securities. Then we orchestrate a crash in home prices. The Illuminati are in on it too.
- Neither of them actually answered any of the questions posed by the moderator.
- Palin got off some real zingers, which went over well. Had Biden shot back he'd have been a sexist jerk. I could tell he was biting his tongue a lot of the time because he knew he'd look bad if he got at all aggressive or patronizing.
- Biden is smart but not likable, Palin is likable but not smart.
- Major props to whoever prepared their crib notes - they had misleading vote counts and meaningless statistics coming out the wazoo.
- Good job keeping it civil and professional but not smarmy.
- Why is it than in a political debate - about the differences between candidates - most of the talking was about how they believe in and support all the same things?
- They both seemed okay with sending troops to Darfur, a colossally stupid idea. Yes, the situation is desperately sad but there is no external solution. Those people won't stop fighting just because we ask them to. Kinda like Iraq.
- Sarah Palin pronounces nuclear "noo-cue-lur". See, it's not a Texan thing.
- They both love Israel, education, their middle-class backgrounds, and clean coal.
- They both could use a little Botox and/or Restylane. Biden's tie was badly knotted and Palin's skirt was too tight.
- They both oppose gay marriage but support protection of the rights of same-sex couples. Come again?
Sarah Palin tried to establish herself as an able executive because she was mayor of Wasilla. It came off badly - like claiming to be an expert entrepeneur because you had a lemonade stand in third grade. Biden was pretty dry and wooden - I think he's very capable and smart but just has no charisma. He only really came alive when he was bashing Dick Cheney.
My biggest surprise was when Biden teared up talking about his son. For those who don't know, he lost his wife and little girl in a car wreck in which one of his sons was very badly injured right after his first election to the Senate, almost 30 years ago. He was talking about not knowing whether or not your child would make it- in the most literal sense, for him. This guy has a reputation as a hard-nosed brawler and it was very uncharacteristic but actually nice to see - he's not made of iron.
Both of these candidates are good foils for their Presidential candidates - Biden's institutional gravitas to Obama's rock-star charisma, Palin's likability and folksiness to McCain's bad-tempered detachment.
It was a good debate in that it gave us a chance to get to know these candidates and learn about their ticket's stance on some issues. I don't think they changed anybody's mind though.
One last thing - how much better would this debate have been if it had been Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton? That would have been the best debate in the history of politics. Two pushy women who despise one another slogging it out, pulling no punches. Hillary would have wiped the floor with sweet, pretty Sarah but still come out the loser. But man it would have been fun to watch.