I took two pages of notes, in shorthand, during this debate. However, so many of the facts and factoids will be covered in other places, so I'll just give a relatively short commentary here.
Just like in the last debate, the first words out of the mouth of the Democrat were an attack on the President, and the first words out of the mouth of the Republican were positive and inclusive.
Unless I misheard, at 7:17 pm PDT Joe Biden, in reference to the role of the vice president as President of the Senate, stated that Article 1 of the Constitution refers to the executive branch, and that's where the vice president belongs. What an egregious error, if he in fact stated that! Article 1 refers to the legislative branch, the Congress--something he should know, having spent 35 years there. (Update: while still completing this post I just received an email from the Instapundit saying that he, too, noted the Article 1 error.)
With the exception of that one statement, I noted that neither candidate made any real gaffes. That was refreshing. I also noted that up until near the very end, Biden seemed agitated and perhaps angry, while Palin seemed poised and even cheerful throughout. She started off seeming a little nervous, but still radiated optimism. It didn't take her long to get into stride, and she flew like the wind once she did--and didn't look back. I loved her "Bless their hearts" comment regarding oil executives!
A few specifics. At 6:16 pm, Biden said that class warfare was "fairness"; I appreciate your clarification, comrade. At 7:25, he acknowledged that he's changed his opinion since joining the Congress and now believes in an ideological litmus test for federal judges. At 6:31 he stated that climate change is "clearly man-made", whereas Palin said it's real but not entirely caused by humans. At 6:36 Biden used the phrases "under the Constitution" and "it's what the Constitution calls for" regarding hospital visitation, property rights, and other benefits for homosexual couples; if those statements are true, why are we still legislating those rights? More on that later.
If Palin disappointed me at all, it was in her continued attacks on the greed of Wall Street. Why was none of her scorn directed at Joe Biden and the Congress, which created, shielded, and was wined and dined by officials from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Whatever happened to the concept of congressional oversight--or were the congressmen too busy with junkets and parties?
The two candidates agreed on some topics. Neither supports "gay marriage", and neither do their presidential candidates, but all four support seem to support equal rights and civil unions for homosexuals. Both spoke of unwavering support for our ally Israel. Both claim to wear the mantle of "change". Both have sons either in Iraq or on the way there.
And moderator Gwen Ifill, who isn't exactly impartial, what with the impending release of her book about Barack Obama and all, acquitted herself well.
Update: and even though you didn't come directly to this post, welcome to my visitor from Wasilla, Alaska!