Chuck Todd, NBC – As many said going in, this debate was about one person, Sarah Palin. And for those tuning in wondering if we’d see a train wreck between Palin’s inexperience and Joe Biden’s verbosity. Well, a train wreck it wasn’t. Palin started strong and proved to be a folksy cliché machine, which probably came across as extremely charming. She lit up the screen at times with her smile and occasional winks.
Dan Baltz, Washington Post – One debate will not erase doubts that have been building about Palin’s capacity to serve as vice president, but the effect of the encounter may shift the focus away from the sideshow that Palin has become and put it back on the two presidential nominees and what they would do for the country. Thursday’s debate adds to the importance of the two remaining presidential debates, the first of which will be held Tuesday.
John Harris e Mike Allen, Politico – By that standard, she got out alive, though there were white-knuckle moments along the way: questions that were answered with painfully obvious talking points that betrayed scant knowledge of the issue at hand, and sometimes little relevance to the question that had been asked. But recent days have given John McCain’s team little reason to suppose that not-that-bad is good enough. The Republican ticket’s sliding polls and narrowing electoral map gave it a different imperative in her showdown against Joe Biden. That was to alter the trajectory of the race in a way reminiscent of how Palin first enlivened Republicans—it seems long ago now—when she joined the ticket in late August.
Jon Cohen, Washington Post – More than eight in 10 voters in the CNN poll said Palin exceeded their expectations. Before the debate, 43 percent of uncommitted voters said Palin is knowledgeable about important issues. After the debate, that figure jumped to 66 percent. At the same time, both before and after the debate, majorities of those polled by CNN said she lacked the qualifications to be president. Biden, too, was widely seen as doing better than predicted, and he, like Palin, saw his favorability ratings go up in both polls. But the bottom line is how many voters will be swayed by the event, and here, the preliminary evidence suggests that not many will; 71 percent of uncommitted voters in the CBS poll said they remained so after the debate. Among those who said they had shifted, slightly more said they tilted Democratic (18 to 10 percent).
John Whitesides, Reuters – Both camps claimed victory in a debate unlikely to dramatically change a White House race that Obama leads. Two polls taken after the debate, by CNN and CBS News, judged Biden the winner, but the CNN poll found a big majority thought Palin did better than expected. With all eyes on Palin in her national debut in an unscripted format, the 44-year-old Alaska governor turned in a steady and aggressive performance in which she repeatedly attacked Obama and pledged she and McCain would work for the middle-class.
Howard Fineman, Newsweek – Palin Scored Points, But She Didn’t Win. I always wondered what a wolverine would sound like chewing through plywood. Now I know: like Sarah Palin “debating” Joe Biden. First, let me say that I was wrong–ridiculously wrong–when I said on “Hardball” before the debate here in St. Louis that the event would be the longest 90 minutes of Palin’s life. No way. She loved every minute. And when Biden said at the end that he was glad to have finally met her, he was clearly lying. It was no fun for him.
E sobre o spin dos candidatos:
David Plouffe, Obama-Biden Campaign Manager – “Joe Biden won a clear victory tonight because he made a passionate case for change from the disastrous economic and foreign policies of the last eight years, and Sarah Palin defended them. While Governor Palin blindly supports John McCain’s plan for more of the same policies that have devastated Main Street and let Wall Street run wild, Joe Biden spoke clearly and strongly about Barack Obama’s plan for a tax cut for the middle class, health care that is affordable, and an end to the war in Iraq. Tonight, the American people saw why Barack Obama chose Joe Biden, a statesman from Scranton who clearly has the experience and knowledge to be a great Vice President.”
Jill Hazelbaker, McCain-Palin Communications Director: “Tonight, Governor Palin proved beyond any doubt that she is ready to lead as Vice President of the United States. She won this debate, putting Joe Biden on defense on energy, foreign policy, taxes and the definition of change. Governor Palin laid bare Barack Obama’s record of voting to raise taxes, opposing the surge in Iraq, and proposing to meet unconditionally with the leaders of state sponsors of terror. The differences between the Obama-Biden ticket and the McCain-Palin ticket could not have been clearer. The American people saw stark contrasts in style and worldview. They saw Joe Biden, a Washington insider and a 36-year Senator, and Governor Palin, a Washington outsider and a maverick reformer. Governor Palin was direct, forceful and a breath of fresh air”