James Fallows observed,
How was it, considered strictly as a debate? Of course Biden did a far better job — he answered the questions rather than moving straight to talking points, he drew on a vastly broader range of factual references, he attacked his opponents in ways that were relevant to the subject under discussion. But this is not how the event was being watched or scored.
That’s pretty much it. Expectations of Palin were so low about all she had to do was show up and not drool to be scored a success. And she’s not an idiot and she does OK in front of a camera, so I wasn’t expecting a train wreck. But what struck me was how when you get beyond the folksy demeanor, her speaking was at times almost as fractured as something from a Bush speech. I kept thinking, “She comes across OK when you’re watching her, but if you go back and read the transcripts you’ll wonder what she is smoking.”