"She did not prevail -- Joe Biden was too good," Lynn Sweet writes in the Chicago Sun-Times. "But Palin was left standing in her spike heels after 90 minutes on the stage at Washington University, and after some of the loopy interviews she gave in the run-up to the first and only vice presidential debate, that was some accomplishment."
"Sarah Palin never looked out of her depth," Stephen Dinan writes for the Washington Times. "That's not to say she kept up with her opponent, whose three decades in the Senate helped him frame long, complex answers steeped in Washington minutiae of legislative back-and-forth, amendments and votes on final passage."
"Let's pay Palin the respect of treating her exactly as a male candidate would be treated. And that means saying this: She was simply nowhere near as good as Joe Biden," Scot Lehigh writes in his Boston Globe column.
A smart way to watch: "No matter how McCain's fortunes turn out in November, Palin sent a signal tonight that she's probably going to be on the national political stage for quite some time," the Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody writes.
From the fact-check desk: "Gov. Palin came out swinging last night...but some of her punches were crooked," ABC's Jake Tapper reported on "GMA" Friday.
"Sarah Palin got her facts wrong in Thursday's debate with Joe Biden when discussing where John McCain stands on new protections for homeowners facing foreclosures," per ABC's Teddy Davis.
Per USA Today: "The claim: Palin said Obama wants a 'universal, government-run program' and 'health care being taken over by the feds.' The facts: Obama's health-care plan does not call for a government takeover. In fact, it isn't even universal."
What's next: "A shifting map appears increasingly to favor the Democrat, but top aides to both candidates said Thursday that they would go on attack: Obama with the aim of keeping the campaign centered on voters' economic worries, McCain with the hope of 'turning the page' on the crisis and returning to worries about Obama," Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin write for Politico.
Meanwhile, off stage, a map was falling apart.
Jonathan Martin's Politico scoop on McCain's move out of Michigan set a new negative storyline in motion. (Where will he still be on offense -- as opposed to Indiana/Colorado style defense disguised as offense? And how would that Mitt Romney pick look now?)
"Ceding Michigan is a major blow to the McCain campaign, which had spent heavily on television commercials there and where Mr. McCain had campaigned repeatedly in the hopes that he could appeal to enough blue-collar voters, so-called Reagan Democrats and independent voters, to bring the state back into the Republican column in November," Michael Cooper writes in The New York Times.
ABC's David Chalian: "Although McCain's move does not deliver a net gain of electoral votes into Obama's column, the significance of taking the populous state off the battlefield cannot be overstated. . . . The Obama campaign can now start to increasing resources to protect other potentially vulnerable Democratic turf now that Michigan appears to be wiped off the battleground state map."
"The decision was another sign of McCain's weakening position amid the nation's economic turbulence, and it came as a surprise even to Michigan's Republican Party chairman, who was notified in a morning phone call," Maeve Reston, Dan Morain, and Seema Mehta report in the Los Angeles Times.