On Thursday night, Sarah Palin showed that she has the "right stuff" to be one heartbeat away from the presidency.
Under fire for rambling answers in recent television interviews, Palin went into last night's debate the underdog against the sharp-tongued Joe Biden.
But Palin, in style and substance, demonstrated she can hold her own on the national stage.
Pollster Frank Luntz's focus group on Fox News watched the St. Louis debate. The group was evenly divided between Kerry and Bush supporters from the 2004 election. After the debate Luntz asked if she won, and his group almost unanimously said she had.
The New York Post cover Friday shared a similar sentiment , roaring: "PIT BULL SARAH SHOWS HER BITE."
The Post began "Sarah Palin used folksy language, winks, smiles and sharp elbows to try to put seasoned rival Joe Biden on the defensive in last night's vice-presidential debate."
The Post's star columnist, Andrea Peyser, offered effusive praise.
"I walked in last night expecting a train wreck from our gal of the moment. Instead, I saw fireworks," Peyser wrote. "Sarah rules," she continued, adding, "In her first, and last, vice-presidential debate, Sarah Palin was strong. Articulate. Folksy. And warm."
During the verbal fisticuffs, Palin made clear she is not one of the good old boys.
"It's so obvious that I'm a Washington outsider and I'm someone who's just not used to the way you guys operate," Palin said.
Palin employed a similar "outsider" strategy to defeat the incumbent Republican governor in Alaska.
Even the liberal New York Times had to admit, albeit grudgingly, that Palin scored points in the first and last vice presidential debate.
The Times began its coverage this way: "Gov. Sarah Palin made it through the vice-presidential debate on Thursday without doing any obvious damage to the Republican presidential ticket. By surviving her encounter with Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. and quelling some of the talk about her basic qualifications for high office, she may even have done Senator John McCain a bit of good, freeing him to focus on the other troubles shadowing his campaign."
Across the blogoshere, positive reviews for her debate performance were pouring in for the first woman on a national Republican ticket.
Michael Goodwin, writing in the New York Daily News, declared Palin had a "slim" victory over Biden.
"She sometimes sputtered nonsense, seemed like a Thanksgiving turkey stuffed with facts and was no match for his knowledge and experience on foreign affairs," Goodwin wrote. "But Sarah Palin demonstrated a remarkable political skill Thursday night: She looked into the camera and talked to people as one of them, while Joe Biden talked mostly to the moderator as a teacher to a student.
"On her ability to connect with the audience, and because the expectations for her were so pitifully low, Palin was the victor."
And Steve Huntley in the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, "Appearing assertive and confident in her national debate premiere, Palin battled Sen. Joseph Biden on a broad range of issues - the Wall Street meltdown, taxes and spending, Iraq, foreign relations, which candidate best represents change - and more than held her own."
Not every one so pleased about Palin's performance, especially among the pro-Obama cheerleaders in the major media.
Chris Matthews of MSNBC said Palin seemed like she was appearing at a spelling bee and CBS was quick to post an instant survey claiming "independents" believed Biden had won the debate.
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