Thursday night offered us our first and only chance to witness the two vice presidential candidates, Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Joe Biden, debate and discuss why they and their respective running mates should be elected on Nov. 4.
The pre-debate buzz was louder than that of the first debate between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain. The main question was whether Palin would repeat her poor performance in her interview with CBS anchor Katie Couric. Those who thought she would were disappointed.
There was also controversy surrounding the moderator, Gwen Ifill, and her public support for Obama. She also disappointed her detractors by staying apparently unbiased – almost to a fault, when she failed to keep either candidate on topic with their responses.
Palin’s answers were well-spoken and delivered with charm and a smile – and once with a wink. She held fast to her image as representative of the "common folk" and "hockey moms" of America. Though she hardly tripped over any subject, her answers were mostly the talking points and accusations often repeated at her rallies, and with the help of her notes, which she relied too heavily on, she always answered with little hesitation.
Biden also hardly missed a beat in the debate. Unfortunately, similarly to Palin, he reverted to the same attacks he spouts repeatedly at his own rallies, though he avoided attacking Palin directly and went mostly after McCain. Biden, when speaking about nuclear proliferation, made a comment about Pakistan having nuclear weapons that can reach Israel. This was an irresponsible gaffe, and someone with his foreign policy experience should have never made this connection publicly. Pakistan has never stated an intention to do Israel harm.
Though both expressed their many differences, they found common ground. Palin and Biden are both staunch supporters of Israel and oppose redefining the traditional definition of marriage of one man and one woman. They also agree on the view that man causes global warming, though with varying views on to what extent.
Through the repetitive campaign sound bites and personal stabs, both candidates reinforced one fact: they are, at best, vice presidential-caliber politicians.