Updated 10/03/2008 09:21 AM
Palin, Biden debate
ST. LOUIS, M.O. -- A heavily anticipated political face-off began with a charm offensive from Sarah Palin.
"Nice to meet you. Hey, can I call you Joe?" Sarah Palin asked Senator Biden.
The Alaska governor probably faced the most pressure going into the debate. She may have fumbled for answers in recent TV interviews, but Palin held her own against rival Joe Biden in the only vice presidential debate of the campaign.
"I want to let you know what I did as a mayor and a governor, and I may not answer the questions the way you or the moderator want to hear, but I'm going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record," Palin said.
Palin has been on the national scene for just five weeks, since John McCain chose her as his running mate. Pundits said this could be a make or break moment for Palin, who had to prove herself as a competent leader.
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Biden had more than three decades in office to build his credentials. He brings a wealth of foreign policy experience to Barack Obama's resume. But it was the economy that was the first hot topic Thursday night with both candidates portraying themselves as champions of the middle class.
"You said recently that paying higher taxes is patriotic. In the middle class of America, which is where Todd and I have been all our lives, that's not patriotic,” Palin said.
"That's how he raises $3.6 trillion on taxing your health care benefit to give you a $5,000 plan. So you’re going to have to replace a $12,000 plan with a $5,000 check you just gave to the insurance company. I call that the ultimate bridge to nowhere," Biden said.
Next it was on to foreign policy and Iraq. Palin tried to draw contrasts between Biden and Obama, like their differences on funding the war. And she reminded him of a comment he once made about possibly running as McCain's vice president.
“You said regarding McCain's military policies, you would support them. In fact, you said you wanted to run with him on the ticket. That's an indication of how much support you had before you got on the VP ticket here," Palin said.
There was one emotional moment during the debate when Biden choked up while talking about a family tragedy. It was a rare moment of emotion in a relatively placid debate.
There was one emotional moment. Biden choked up when talking about a family tragedy.
Biden said, “The notation that somehow because I’m a man I don’t know how to raise two kids alone. I know what it’s like to have a child you are not sure is going to make it.”