This is my live-blogging of the VP debate as it transpired between candidates Joe Biden and Sarah Palin. (Also see my live-blogged summary of the McCain/Obama debate here.)

5:58pm First, I’ll be playing Palin Bingo during the event tonight to spice things up a little. So, watching the debate, playing bingo, live blogging, eating dinner, chatting in Facebook and chatting with my roomful of compadres is going to be fun when performed all at the same time. Let’s go!

6pm I think Palin’s got a lot of ground to make up after her botched interviews with Couric. Can she do it? All eyes on Palin. ‘She’, ‘She’, ‘She’; a quarter of the talk about Biden.

6:01pm I’m watching this one on CNN with Wolf Blitzer in High Definition with Dolby Digital Sound. Yes, I’m a geek and a pundit.

6:03pm Gwen Ifill was a controversial choice as moderator: she’s written a book favorable to Obama. Palin: “Can I call you Joe?” She looks great.

6:05pm Biden’s coming across as confident and educated in his first answer. Jeez, Palin may have a hard time sounding as sure of herself. And….. she starts off with “hockey game” and “betcha”. Is that charming or not? But, her answer is actually on-topic, concise, and edifying to McCain’s ticket.

6:10pm Biden: McCain is “out of touch.” Palin: McCain was talking about the work-force. She’s hitting out at Biden very well! So far, she’s showing that the Couric interview was simply a bad night. “Darn right it was the predator lenders….” – she’s showing knowledge of the topics too. Wow.

6:14pm So far, I’m not doing well on Palin Bingo: none of my squares have come up! Biden’s telling stories about his friends not having enough money to fill up their tanks. Palin is responding with another “Darn right.” She has figures refuting Biden’s claim about Obama. This is not the same Palin that did so poorly on the CBS Evening News. Biden: “The charge is absolutely not true…”

6:16pm Now they’re both on the offensive. Palin doesn’t want to answer questions “the way Biden or the moderator want” but wants to push her point about taxes. Moderator interrupts: time up.

6:17pm Biden: only those earning $250k or more will be affected by Obama’s proposal. Palin: yes, but that will affect many small businesses! Great argument.

6:22pm A smile while she jokes that judging by the way the federal government is running things lately, she doesn’t want to see it run healthcare too! Biden counters by bringing up the taxes on existing healthcare plans that would remain under McCain. So far, I’d say there isn’t much in it. Both candidates are doing well, and Palin is the big surprise.

6:25pm Biden wants to gain points on spending, and gains a laugh from the audience by saying “bridge to nowhere.” Palin says McCain isn’t two-faced (the implication is that Obama/Biden are). She now addresses Biden directly: “Your running mate voted for that….” and draws on her experience in Alaska. I think she should avoid mentioning too much about Alaska!, although she’s claiming that she’s had to reverse Obama’s bad decisions on energy!

6:28pm Biden gives Palin credit in Alaska. Palin: “Corruption and greed on Wall Street.” She’s talking up John McCain a lot more than Biden is talking up Barack Obama. What does that say? If anything?

6:30pm Biden qualifies the differences in his and Obama’s voting on a particular measure by saying one saw the glass half empty, the other saw the glass half full. Biden wants to allow people to adjust the principal they owe as well as the interest on mortgages in trouble. Uhhh, what??? Palin responds by going back to her “record” on energy and ignores the moderator’s question deliberately; not a good move on many levels!

6:32pm The mod turns Palin’s way by continuing the topic of energy, and climate change. Palin doesn’t want to talk about the causes of climate change, but wants to talk about what to do about it, practically. I think that’s a decent position for a VP – “We’ve got to reduce emissions.” Interesting. She wants an “all of the above” approach to energy: alternative fuels, and oil. etc. Biden says climate change is “totally man-made”, citing a fundamental difference between him and Palin.

6:36pm Palin is mouthing to herself with a smile on her face. Umm, she needs to stop that. She says “The chant is ‘Drill, baby, drill!'” and that’s what the American people want. I agree. But it doesn’t seem to me that the candidates are saying much different here: Biden also says he wants to drill!

6:37pm Biden: “If your only answer is to drill….” – Palin said explicitly “all of the above”, not just drilling. Wow, we just jumped to homosexuality. Biden wants gays to have equal rights to heterosexuals.

6:39pm Palin doesn’t want to redefine marriage but has a “diverse” group of friends and would be “tolerant.” She wouldn’t want to stop gay contracts or hospital visits.

6:40pm Biden agrees, there should be no gay marriage! There’s no difference between the candidates. It gets a laugh when the mod says, OK, onto foreign policy!

6:41pm Attack from Palin on the troop surge. She’s doing well here.

6:43pm Biden: “With all due respect, I didn’t hear a plan.” She says her plan is to win in Iraq. A counter attack on the voting record of McCain and Obama on Iraq. Honestly, nobody in Congress really knew what to do in Iraq; they’re not war strategists, they’re politicians. Biden: “We will end this war …. there’s no plan in sight” if left to McCain. Palin: the Obama plan amounts to a “white flag of surrender.”

6:45pm Palin: “You said Barack Obama was not ready to” be president, talking directly to Biden. Ha! Biden attacks McCain on voting against funding for extra gear for the troops.

6:49pm Which is the greater threat: Pakistan or Iran? Biden says both. Palin will likely respond the same, so it’s got to move somewhere else: and here it comes, Biden says the difference between them is that Obama would focus on al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Palin says Petraeus agreed with McCain that Iraq was an important front in the war on terror. Hard to say who is doing better here, because Palin is doing a decent job of holding up confidence on these issues (perhaps much of her briefings this week centered on what they considered her weak spot, foreign policy). She also mentions talking with Kissinger recently; that confirms rumors that he was one of the guys charged with bringing her up to speed on this stuff. And it seems to have worked.

6:54pm Palin uses the term “a second holocaust” on protecting Israel, as McCain did last week. Biden says “nobody” in Washington has been “a greater friend to Israel than Joe Biden” (yes, referring to himself in the third person!).

6:56pm Palin: Bush’s policy has not been an “abject failure” but she’s glad they both love Israel; Biden takes a deep breath as she says that! Palin invokes McCain the maverick again and says “change is coming” with McCain – a direct challenge to Obama’s monopoly on change. McCain hasn’t showed that there’s any change coming with his administration, according to Biden, and it’ll be the same as Bush’s!

6:59pm I wish Palin could say the word “nuclear.” “Can we talk about Afghanistan real quick, also?” She’s been using her time on her own terms quite a bit here, I don’t know how that goes down, exactly. She doesn’t want her voice to become a ‘noise’ after a while, while Biden speaks more slowly.

7:01pm Megan McArdle (who’s also live-blogging) thought she saw Palin wink at the camera, went back on her Tivo and watched it again and confirmed it. Haha! Thought that was interesting. She’s punching out on Afghanistan strategy and appears to have thrown Biden a little by her knowledge on it.

7:03pm Does the American people have the stomach for another war? Biden: The American people “have the stomach for success.” Why doesn’t he say that about Iraq?

7:06pm Palin, smiling: as a Washington outsider I’m not used to “the way you guys operate”… why would you vote for something and then vote against it? Haha! I like that. She’s cleverly using the public’s loathing of politics to her advantage and even turning her lack of experience around, in a way, demanding straight-talking. Another strong response.

7:08pm Biden says go look for yourself as to what he said and did and what McCain and Obama said and did. That’s a strong move, but she’s bouncing back by saying the media will hash it over and we’ll “have proof” of it all – this sounds like confidence that she’s right.

7:10pm Biden: “…we must O-liminate…” – isn’t it E-liminate? Palin responds to another question with another smile and a wink: that really works for her!

7:11pm Biden spends “a lot of time” in Home Depot. Who knew?

7:14pm Palin gets a laugh by putting Biden down for framing his responses in the past with that great smile again, and “God bless” his wife who’s a teacher… and “her reward is in heaven, right?”

7:15pm A humorous moment as Palin says she was joking when she said she didn’t know what the vice-president did on a daily basis, and threw it back at the moderator by saying nobody got the joke either time: humor wins points!

7:18pm The difference between this Palin and the one on Katie Couris is STUNNING. Biden: VP Cheney has been “the most dangerous VP” in history…. and Melissa wins Palin Bingo with her “special needs” comment.

7:21pm Next question: Palin lacks experience and Biden lacks discipline… true or not? Palin: Alaska. And America is exceptional. (?) Biden: well of course it’s not true that I lack discipline! And the moderator was “kind” to him since he would say his achilles heel is passion. Ha! That’s like walking into a job interview and listing “Work too hard” as a weakness. And he raises two kids. (?) He chokes up just a little, which provokes a spike in the “Uncommitted Ohio voters”-o-meter on CNN. Palin describes McCain as a “maverick” again. Change the record!

7:24pm Biden asks for time to say that McCain is no maverick. Yup, that last time using that word was a mistake as I thought.

7:25pm Five minutes to go. Really, there is nothing interesting happening now.

7:28pm Palin: work together, work together, bipartisan bipartisan. Mod picks up on it and asks how to accomplish that. God, this another boring question. Working “across the aisle” couldn’t be further from my interest, though it accurately describes the clusterfuck of diluted legislation and pork-barrel spending in Washington.

7:31pm palin sets out what the difference is between her ticket and Biden’s. “Clear choices on November 4th.” She’s friendly toward Biden in her closing remarks and gets a dig in at the CBS Evening News, implying that the interview she did was “filtered” against her; she prefers to speak directly to the general public and answer hard questions as she just did. And she’s inspiring people with a great speech at the end about ideology of America. EXCELLENT job.

7:33pm Biden finishes up talking about believing in yourself and working hard. “My dad used to have an expression … when you get knocked down, get up.” And “May God protect our troops.” Palin had the edge at the end, in my opinion.

Well, that’s it. It’ll be interesting to see what the punters think of this! A big “Thank you so much” from Palin to Biden and a compliments being shared between her and the moderator too. Now the commentary starts! Thanks for joining me.