The common wisdom seems to be that Thursday’s vice-presidential debate is Sarah Palin’s big test, said Noam Scheiber in The New Republic online, but Joe Biden will pay just as dearly if he screws up. If any “high-profile Democrat” is likely to play into the McCain campaign’s hands by offending voters with a condescending (“albeit inadvertent”) remark, it’s Biden the gaffe machine.

Biden doesn’t have anything to gain by hyping his experience over Palin's, anyway, said said Andrew Halcro in The Christian Science Monitor. Take it from someone who has debated Gov. Palin back home in Alaska—she is “a master, not of facts” and policies, but of the “fine art of the nonanswer.” Against “such charms,” Biden’s best bet is to ignore her, respectfully, and stick to the questions.

Keep peddling those low expectations, which have been fueled by Palin’s rocky recent interviews, said Kathryn Jean Lopez in National Review online. But if the real Sarah Palin—the one “ready to have a little fun and tell her story and show competence and intelligence”—shows up on Thursday, “she’s going to give Joe Biden a run for his money.”