The debate: No real surprises


(Getty Images) Except Joe Biden's real indignation -- almost to tears -- over Sarah Palin's repeated playing of the mom card, that "because I am a man . . . I don't know what it's like to be a single parent (he's a widower); what it's like . . . if your kid is going to make it."

Palin was predicted to be an aggressive debater, and she lived up to her billing, dismissing Biden's critique of the past eight years with a breezy "Say it ain't so, Joe. Pointing fingers backward again!"

I don't know if Gwen Ifill's broken ankle was bothering her or what, but she (and Biden) did fail to press Palin on a critical point: Even though all the candidates oppose same-sex marriage, did Palin, as do Obama/Biden, believe that same-sex and straight couples ought to have equal federal civil benefits? 

Instead she said, "Then we can move on," and the St. Louis audience laughed with relief.

I hated that laugh more than anything.

Well, I also hated when Palin said, "John McCain knows how to win a war. He's been there."

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