Huffpost Politics

VP Debate: Who Won... Reactions, News Analysis

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Below is a collection of reactions to Thursday night's vice presidential debate between Governor Sarah Palin and Senator Joe Biden. For HuffPost bloggers reactions - including Bob Shrum, Madeleine Albright, Nora Ephron, and more - go here. And for analysis and video generated during the debate, please go here.

The New York Times: "not a tipping point for the embattled Republican presidential ticket":

It was not a tipping point for the embattled Republican presidential ticket, the bad night that many Republicans had feared. But neither did it constitute the turning point the McCain campaign was looking for after a stretch of several weeks in which Senator Barack Obama seemed to be gaining the upper hand in the race. Even if he no longer has to be on the defensive about Ms. Palin, Mr. McCain still faces a tough environment with barely a month until the election, as he acknowledged hours before the debate by effectively pulling his campaign out of Michigan, a Democratic state where Mr. McCain's advisers had once been optimistic of victory.

"This is going to help stop the bleeding," said Todd Harris, a Republican consultant who worked for Mr. McCain in his first presidential campaign. "But this alone won't change the trend line, particularly in some of the battleground states."

Wall Street Journal: Palin held "her own against her senior vice-presidential rival":

A confident, folksy Sarah Palin attacked the Democratic presidential ticket on taxes and partisanship, holding her own against her senior vice-presidential rival. Joe Biden, assiduously avoiding any direct attacks on his opponent, kept his focus trained on the top of the ticket, charging again and again that Palin's partner, John McCain, wants to give tax breaks to the rich and deregulate the economy.

Asked about the economy, Palin suggested talking to a parent at a soccer game. "I'll betcha you're going to hear some fear in that parent's voice," she said. Asked who was to blame for the subprime lending crisis, she said, "Darn right it was the predator lenders."

The Washington Post: "One debate will not erase doubts that have been building about Palin's capacity to serve as vice president":

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.

Palin produced at a moment McCain needed it most. In the past two weeks, his standing has deteriorated as the focus of national attention has shifted almost entirely to the economy. National and state polls show Obama gaining ground, and the preface to the debate Thursday was the news that McCain is pulling out of Michigan, once seen as a potential pickup.


The Politico's Roger Simon
: "You betcha Sarah Palin can debate":

But if people thought she was going to look like a dumb bunny for 90 minutes, they were disappointed. She said what she wanted to say, and she was so relaxed she even winked at one point. Really! An actual wink during a national debate, when she said she was going to try to get John McCain to change his mind about not drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Do people care about such stuff? Should all that down-home talk and body language really count? Joe Biden doesn't think so.

AP: "Americans watching the vice presidential candidates' debate agreed that Gov. Sarah Palin's performance exceeded their generally low expectations"

From a bowling alley called the Lucky Strike in Miami Beach to a smoky barroom in Wasilla, Alaska, many Americans watching the vice presidential candidates' debate agreed that Gov. Sarah Palin's performance exceeded their generally low expectations. Whether she did well enough against Sen. Joe Biden is another matter.

Brian Elias, co-owner of the Lucky Strike, had to give Palin her props.

"I thought she held her own. I'm much more impressed than I thought I'd be," said Elias, 45, who is a registered Republican but doesn't know whom he'll vote for. "My expectation was that her performance would make it easier for me to pick Obama, but her performance kept me undecided."

But others in the crowd of more than 100 watching CNN coverage saw it differently.

"She's the queen of generalities," 27-year-old Tami Toussaint, a law school graduate who is currently unemployed, said of Palin. "I don't think she's a dumb person, I just think she's out of her league."