Biden and Palin trade barbs over economic crisis
Republican Sarah Palin and Democrat Joe Biden clashed on the economy and Iraq during a lively but polite debate on Thursday, and aimed the most criticism at their rivals at the top of the ticket, Reuters reported.
In the only vice presidential debate ahead of the November 4 U.S. election, Biden accused Republican presidential contender John McCain of being out of touch on the economic crisis and dismissed his claim to be a "maverick" on crucial issues facing Americans.
Palin said Democratic White House candidate Barack Obama was too partisan to work across party lines to accomplish change and was waving a "white flag of surrender" in Iraq.
Both camps claimed victory in a debate unlikely to dramatically change a White House race that Obama leads. Two polls taken after the debate, by CNN and CBS News, judged Biden the winner, but the CNN poll found a big majority thought Palin did better than expected.
With all eyes on Palin in her national debut in an unscripted format, the 44-year-old Alaska governor turned in a steady and aggressive performance in which she repeatedly attacked Obama and pledged she and McCain would work for the middle-class.
She frequently displayed the folksy style that has become a favorite target of late-night comics. "Aw, say it ain't so, Joe," she told Biden at one point, adding a "doggone it" for good measure.
Biden, 65, a veteran foreign policy expert, had one emotional moment, choking up when recalling having to raise his two young sons alone after their mother died in a car crash.
As the two strode on the stage, Palin greeted Biden, saying: "Nice to meet you. Can I call you Joe?"