The pistol packin' momma had her way with the old Beltway insider right from the start. "Can I call you Joe?"
Slow Joe didn't blatantly embarrass himself but it'll be interesting to see what the fact checkers come up comparing some of his statements to the record. If the minimum standard Gov Palin needed to meet was to demonstrate that she's got a brain, then she won going away.
A conservative I correspond with (and who was hoping for more redmeat) thinks Gov Palin "blatantly dodged questions, kept going back to buzzwords."
My response? "You say that like it's a BAD thing!"
It's called reframing the debate or question. It shows presence of mind, strength, a tactical awareness and ability to stay with the message she wanted to get out -- not just acquiesce to the moderator's agenda. The moderator isn't running for anything -- her agenda should be of no, or little, consequence.
Going back to buzzwords?
Again, that was Palin successfully staying on message. Repetition is fundamental to getting the message out. Remember that half the bell curve lives on the south side of the mean and are slow on the uptake -- and many of them vote. Also, remember who the candidates are trying to communicate with during these debates (hint, it's not the firmly entranced fringe).
The candidate needs to connect with people who are undecided and probably haven't been paying too much attention so far. A large % of the population doesn't really tune in to the race until about a month before election day.
As for the moderator...
Subtle bias is more powerful than blatant bias.
Just like the best lie is the one that has 99% truth.
At one point well into the debate Ifill had given Biden something like a 6:1 advantage in number of times he was allowed to rebutt and clipped Palin short/changed the subject on a couple strong answers from Palin.