Palin managed to meet the absurdly low expectations she faced going into the debate. But, judged by any actual objective measure, I think it's hard to deny that Biden made far more substantive points about John McCain. And that's the other key difference between the two -- Palin attacked Biden, Biden attacked McCain.
Biden realized, correctly, that he didn't have to go after Palin -- she'd indict herself. And she pretty much did, from misunderstanding the difference between personal and business taxes, to getting the name of the commander of American troops in Afghanistan wrong. Palin showed she could speak in complete sentences -- not an obvious thing before tonight -- but I don't really think she managed to make a case for voting for John McCain.
Joe Biden just defended Obama's plan to raise taxes on people who make over $250,000 a year. Sarah Palin responded that this meant raising taxes on small businesses. This is the kind of thing that you get in trouble with if you don't understand your own talking points. She was supposed to say that tax increases would effect small business owners, but she either messed that up or just doesn't quite get the distinction. Either way, it's very revealing. Biden managed to subtly highlight the difference in his response when he pointed out that most small business owners don't make more than $250,000 a year -- it may have just been in my head but I thought he emphasized the word owners heavily.