Joan Walsh of Salon.com thinks Biden won the debate, and that Palin made two key blunders that may linger and dog her:
There were two key moments for me when Sarah Palin blew it badly. One was substantive, one was symbolic. The substantive was her bizarre statement about being happy that Dick Cheney had expanded the powers of the vice-presidency, and wanting to expand the powers more. I think that’s what she said, it was one of many moments I didn’t entirely understand her point, but I got her overall meaning. Biden came back with a decisive: “Vice President Cheney has been the most dangerous vice president in American history,” and he defended the existing limits on vice-presidential power. Point: Biden. Big time.
The symbolic moment Palin flubbed was subjective, of course. But I instant-messaged a friend that she lost the debate when Biden choked up over losing his wife and child in a car accident in which his sons were critically injured — and she went straight back into “John McCain is a maverick.” I truly expected her to express human sympathy with Biden, and her failure to do so showed me something deeply wrong with her. But maybe that’s just me.
She made other mistakes that others have already caught: She called the top commander in Afghanistan “General McClellan”; his name is David McKiernan. She said the troop levels in Iraq are down to pre-surge levels; they’re not. She simply didn’t answer a lot of the questions. Moderator Gwen Ifill tried to pull her back, but Palin is stubborn; she had her talking points, and she stuck to them.