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What I Saw Inside The Debate Hall

Posted: 10/03/08 02:33 AM ET

I was seated on the floor for the debate. It was very interesting to watch Palin when the camera was on Biden. On topics where it was clear she knew the talking points, she kept looking into the camera with a big smile. On foreign policy and other points where she gave light answers, she was intently reviewing her notes on the podium.

I'm not sure how much things came across on camera, but each time that Palin made a cute move -- twice winking at the camera, giving a 'shout out', claiming to be a maverick or painting herself as outside the beltway -- there was a visceral reaction from the people in the room. Even from the Republicans seated next to me. The Republicans I spoke with immediately afterwards felt very somber about her performance. The first hour she came across strong, but the last half hour did her in.

The imagery was very interesting when we walked out of the Field House. There were these massive McCain/Palin signs that were deployed everywhere around any media. These along with homemade signs declaring Palin the winner were all a part of the spin -- and surprising to see because we were told not to bring in signs.

Biden gave direct answers to nearly all of the questions (except the first one, if I recall correctly). Palin was charming but stuck to talking points or patented responses if she was in deep waters. Clearly Biden won.

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