Democrat Joe Biden looks to be favored going into the one and only Vice-Presidential debate. Biden, who has spent thirty-six years in Washington, is the Chair of the Foreign Relations committee, and has plenty of debate experience from his two failed Presidential campaigns, should be able to handle any question fairly easily. His opponent, Sarah Palin, does not have the Washington insider or the debate experience that Biden does, so it may e more difficult for her, though she has probably learned a lot in the past couple months, and especially the last week or so.
I don't usually make a big deal about candidate's experience, because I know that they will have plenty of staff around to advise them and give them the facts, as long as they get good people around (perhaps unlike some of the people in the Bush administration), and in Palin's case, she won't even be making many decisions. But in the debate, experience will matter because it will not look good if someone doesn't have a good answer to some of the important questions.
I think the challenges for the candidates tonight can be summed up this way: Biden needs to try no to talk too much, and Palin needs to make sure she talks enough. Biden has a tendency to make a lot of gaffes, including saying that "you cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I'm not joking" while he was running for President. He usually seems to basically get a pass on them from the media etc., but probably won't if he makes a gaffe tonight. Biden will also have to try not to act condescending to the much younger and less-experienced Palin.
Palin basically needs to show a command of the facts on policy issues, especially foreign policy, which has thus far not been her strong suit. She needs to avoid a total loss, but if she came through with a win, that would be big for McCain, who is now clearly behind Obama.
It should also be interesting to see how Gwen Iffil moderates the debate, as there is a controversy involving her moderating the debate as she has an upcoming book partly about Obama, whose sales could be effected by whether Obama wins or loses.
According to a Rasmussen poll, this debate is very important to the vote of 34% of voters.