Sarah Palin last night winked into the camera, confidently sprinkled around the folksy wisdom of a self-declared "Washington outsider", and just about held her own in an eagerly-anticipated debate against Joe Biden.
The Republican vice-presidential nominee declared her intentions from the outset, greeting her Democratic rival by saying: "Hi, nice to meet you, can I call you Joe?" Dressed in black, Mrs Palin went on to blithely declare "I may not answer the questions the way you or the moderator want to hear."
Often she did not even try. Instead, she pivoted out of difficult issues into home-spun anecdotes designed to connect with voters and, perhaps, conceal her lack of detailed knowledge. Asked about the economy, she replied: "Go to a kids' soccer game on Saturday and turn to any parent there on the sideline and ask them, 'How are you feeling about the economy? And I'll betcha you're going to hear some fear in that parent's voice’."
The Governor of Alaska, whose recent performances in TV interviews have become the object of public ridicule, offered a "big shout out to third graders" watching from her brother's school and promised them they would get "extra credits".