Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin combined a folksy appeal to Middle America with relentless criticism of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama as she sought to reclaim her identity as a feisty, folksy frontierswoman ready to storm Washington.
While Palin spoke more fluidly and confidently than she had in her damaging interviews with Katie Couris of CBS, she mostly stuck to practiced talking points. She avoided engaging the substance of questions on such issues as health care or bankruptcy legislation, instead pivoting away to advertise her middle-class roots and values.
At one point, Palin even advertised her lack of responsiveness, saying, "I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I'm going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record."
Her Democratic counterpart, Joe Biden, repeatedly tried to tie Republican presidential nominee John McCain to what he called the failed policies of incumbent George W. Bush.
Biden, a 35-year Washington veteran, also sought to project a human side to counter the know-it-all showoff reputation he’s gained in Capitol Hill. One of the more poignant moments of the debate was when he choked up speaking about how he understands the trials that Americans face.
He mentioned raising two children on his own and not knowing whether a child is going to live. Biden, 65, was a single father after his first wife and daughter died in a car accident in 1972; one of his sons, Beau, is now headed to Iraq.
"The notion that somehow, because I'm a man, I don't know what it's like to raise two kids alone, I don't know what it's like to have a child you're not sure is going to -- is going to make it -- I understand."
Biden won the debate, according to 46 percent of respondents in a CBS News poll afterward of 473 people who said they weren't yet committed to a candidate; 21 percent said they thought Palin triumphed.
This is the only debate for the potential VPs but Obama and McCain have two more debates lined up before Election Day. Their next battle is next Tuesday, October 7 at 9pm.;
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And if you didn’t catch the debate, check out some footage below.