Josh Marshall puts his finger on how Palin, to the surprise of many, managed to remain vertical for 90 minutes:
No follow ups. * * * It wasn't the format [moderator Gwen Ifill] was supposed to work with. But if you look at Palin's interview trainwrecks things always got bad on the follow up -- when the interviewer (Gibson or Couric) pressed her on the nebulous answer for some specifics, which she couldn't provide. That's the difference.Editor extraordinaire James Fallows points his finger:
Ifill, moderator: Terrible. Yes, she was constrained by the agreed debate rules. But she gave not the slightest sign of chafing against them or looking for ways to follow up the many unanswered questions or self-contradictory answers. This was the big news of the evening. Katie Couric, and for that matter Jim Lehrer, have never looked so good.To sum up: Palin went into the debate with cue card answers she was determined to read regardless of the questions; and Ifill went in with cue card questions she was determined to plow through regardless of previous answers.