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Commentary: The pit bull is back

  • Story Highlights
  • Hilary Rosen: Predebate, people said Palin was weak and out of her league
  • She came out fighting, proving to be tough and aggressive, Rosen says
  • Rosen: Biden didn't contest her answers because she didn't score points
  • She says Palin didn't have strong answers to the top issue, the economy
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By Hilary Rosen
CNN Contributor
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Editor's note: CNN contributor Hilary Rosen is the political director and Washington editor-at-large of, which describes itself as an Internet newspaper and focuses on politics from a liberal point of view. A longtime Democratic adviser, Rosen is a former CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America and supported Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

Hilary Rosen says Sarah Palin showed she is a tough and aggressive politician.

(CNN) -- Thank God we are not talking about Sarah Palin being a "woman" today and dissecting whether Joe Biden acted appropriately toward her.

Both candidates were strong and confident on stage last night.

Remember that poised and impressive governor we saw on the stage at the Republican convention? The one who told jokes about hockey moms being as tough as pit bulls?

I missed her over the past few weeks. We didn't work this hard for equality for so many years to have a female vice presidential candidate be treated differently or more gently because she is a woman.

For the last few days there was entirely too much talk about how to treat Palin during the debate. If Biden came on strong, he might be sexist. If he was too soft, patronizing. Who do you think came out on top?

Well, that predebate analysis quickly became moot. She threw some punches. He didn't punch back at all, but not because she seemed too soft. He didn't punch back because her punches didn't score any points, so why bother?

Gov. Palin is a tough, aggressive politician who showed the country Thursday night that she was not going to hereafter be defined as the weak and vulnerable person we saw in interview clips all week. She wanted the discussion on her terms and the analysis to be about the McCain-Palin ticket.

Joe Biden is free to criticize Gov. Palin just like any other opponent. And pundits from now on are free again to simply give our views without worrying about her fragility.

So here goes. Palin's answers in this debate vacillated between disappointing and incoherent. On the most pressing issue facing Americans this week -- the economy -- she had surprisingly little to offer. She repeated the McCain tax cut plan and health care plan.

But since their tax cuts mostly go to the wealthy and their health insurance proposals offer little more than a potentially useless tax credit, that just wasn't enough. And when moderator Gwen Ifill asked about consumers who face debt or difficulties with their mortgages, she actually asked to change the subject and went back to another answer on energy exploration, which had been fully covered minutes before.

On Iraq, she was just incoherent. She said something about the surge and Obama and fighting. But it didn't answer the question, which was: What is the right plan for Iraq?

Oh, the "pit bull" is back. And she and John McCain are still wrong for the country.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.

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