As one paper summed it up: anyone who thought there would be blood on the tracks from a train wreck will have been disappointed.
Both the Democrats and the Republicans are claiming victory after the first debate between the US vice-presidential candidates.
One thing is clear, though: the economy is at the forefront of the campaign.
Biden said: “The middle class has gotten the short end, the wealthy have done very well, corporate America’s been rewarded (for) some time. We will change it, Barack Obama will change it.”
Palin responded: “Say it ain’t so, Joe. There you go again, pointing backwards again, you prefaced your whole comment with ‘the Bush administration’. No, doggone it, let’s look ahead, tell Americans what we have to plan to have to do for them in the future.”
Most of the pressure was on Palin, ridiculed in the press for her folksy ways and over claims of being incompetent. Of course Iraq also came up.
Biden said: “We will end this war. For John McCain there is no end in sight to end this war. The fundamental difference is that we will end this war.”
Palin said: “Oh, man, it’s so obvious that I’m a Washington outsider. And someone just not used to the way you guys operate. Because here you voted for the war and now you oppose the war. Americans are craving that straight talk and just want to know, hey, if you voted for it, tell us why you voted for it.”
In the end there was no big gaffe, as many commentators had expected. Palin claimed to be close to the people; Biden stressed his promise for renewal.
Palin said: “I want to assure you that John McCain and I, we’re going to fight for America. We’re going to fight for the middle-class, average, everyday American family like mine.”
Biden said: “No one can deny that the last eight years, we’ve been dug into a very deep hole here at home with regard to our economy, and abroad in terms of our credibility. And there’s a need for fundamental change in our economic philosophy, as well as our foreign policy.”
Snap polls by major TV channels show most viewers thought Biden won the debate, saying he curbed his tendency to be verbose and was respectful toward Palin. But observers say the Republican also gets credit for proving wrong those who said she would be a total disaster.