Rich Galen

It seemed to me that Biden was getting tired after an hour. On his Afghanistan answer ("the surge will not work" followed by "we need more troops in Afghanistan") he began slipping back into the speech patterns which made him the darling of about one percent of the Democrat primary voters.

Palin corrected Biden on what the head of the NATO forces, General David McKiernan had actually said regarding a strategy in Afghanistan that the counter-insurgency strategy which is working in Iraq would work in Afghanistan.

Biden didn't appear to be certain whether she was correct or not, and stumbled on his response.

The Politico's Ben Smith, in his contemporaneous blog pointed out, "like Obama against McCain on foreign policy - her job isn't to outshine Biden; it's to pass a threshold."

As with the Presidential candidates, both V.P. candidates were well-schooled in not falling into the "what would you change" or "what promises won't you keep" questions. Pivot off the question you don't want to answer into the question you DO want to answer.

Biden's strongest moment was talking about his life immediately after the accident in which his wife was killed and his children were seriously injured. You can't fake that. It was very moving.

At the end of the debate, Gov. Palin met the test, passed the threshold. Not perfect, but perfection wasn't the mark she had to reach. Biden didn't say anything brainless, which was a huge disappointment to me, but he was expected to do well and he did.

As I said when I walked into the lobby: A tie goes to Gov. Palin, so Palin won.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at