There has been much discussion about whether Sarah Palin committed a "gaffe" during the ABC interview when she did not seem to immediately understand interviewer's reference to the "Bush doctrine." To be sure, a reasonable argument can be made that Palin committed no such gaffe insofar as the term "Bush doctrine" does not have one set definition. Even so, Palin gave no indication of having any familiarlity with the various meanings of the term, and all in all, did not impress. In short, after her amazing performance during the Republican Convention, Palin has been knocked down a peg.
But might this be a good thing for the Republicans? The next big test for Palin is the debate with Joe Biden. But "success" in a debate is generally determined not by which candidate gives the strongest answers, but by which candidate performs above expectations. In other words, to "win" the debate, Palin must merely "beat the points spread." The Bush-Gore debate from the 2000 campaign was a classic example of this phenonemon. Four years later, Gore was still whining about it.
Since Biden is the elder statesman, he'll definitely be considered the heavy favorite coming into the debate. But the smart money is on Palin and the points.