Many of the 400 working mothers who watched the VP debate in a San Francisco hotel ballroom live Thursday night grimaced as Sarah Palin leaned awkwardly into Joe Biden onstage, then sailed over to her podium. "After all, this is a historic night for working moms," noted the work/life conference wrangler. Not even the many liberals in attendance wanted her to fail outright. Thus, there was a collective groan at Palin's first response to Gwen Ifill: "You know, I think a good barometer here, as we try to figure out has this been a good time or a bad time in America's economy, is go to a kid's soccer game on Saturday, and turn to any parent there on the sideline and ask them, "How are you feeling about the economy?"
These parents know when they're being pandered to. The faint charms of Palin's mommy group charisma, her overuse of the word 'darn'? Oh, how the shine has worn off. There were catcalls at Palin's use of the phrase "respect for women's rights." Cheers when Biden finally took off the kid gloves.
"I'm a registered Democrat, and I have to admit, the first time I saw her speak I was nervous," said a redhead named Kacy, standing near the open bar and the cupcake table after the first hour of the debate. "She seemed witty and strong." Kacy adjusted the sleeping one-month-old on her shoulder. "But now that I've seen her speak more, I've lost my admiration for her," she said.
A blonde at the book table, by titles "Porn for New Moms" and "The Three-Martini Playdate," planned to watch the recorded debate at home with a Palin Bingo card in hand and another glass of wine. "Really, it's just like any other reality show, isn't it? Two people looking like idiots on TV?"
After an hour of Palin and Biden, star work/life speaker Lisa Belkin took a vote. Option one, "watching the rest of the debate," lost by a few cheers in favor of extended panels on blending life and work. They'd TiVoed it. They knew what they were missing in the Veep debate—and what they weren't.