Sarah Palin avoided a debate meltdown, and in that respect tonight was a positive evening for her. Biden, however, also avoided making gaffes, and he consistently made the case against John McCain.

That said, she lost the debate on points. It was obvious she was constantly referring to note cards for her talking points, and she blatantly avoided answering numerous questions. She landed some good punches, but she was unable to counter Biden’s most effective attacks against McCain, while Biden always had a response when she tried to attack Obama.

Her folksy manner seemed contrived, while Biden had the most compelling and authentic moment of the evening when he spoke about raising his two sons following the death of his wife and daughter. In that moment he took away her only potential advantage – her connection to average Americans.

Overall, this debate does not look like the game-changer that McCain needed given Obama’s current lead. Palin stopped the bleeding, but the initial polls have Biden winning the debate. She also made it clear that we shouldn’t hold our breath regarding future media interviews or news conferences for Sarah Palin.