Happy Night of the Century, fellow Americans! We have longed for this night, and we have dreaded it. Poor Gwen Ifill was walked to the stage like some dead pope, the contestants are here and ready to go,our drinking game is also ready to go -- are you?! And the pre-game liveblog is just a sweet click away. Ready your beverages, people, and let's do this thing.

9:00 PM -- It really was sad seeing poor Gwen walked in by four or five bodyguards/nurses. She told the crowd, "If you have any questions -- I fell, I wasn't pushed." (True!)

9:00 PM -- Oh look they are here! Sarah just said, "Hey can I call you Joe?" Joe smiled and said sure.

9:02 PM -- Well, they both look great.

9:03 PM -- But Gwen ... good lord, why are you wearing Hillary's old weird patterned blazer? A tribute?

9:03 PM -- Simple talking points on the economy and the Obama plan: "We're going to fundamentally change the focus of economic policy. We're going to focus on the middle class."

9:05 PM -- "I betcha ya gonna hear some fear in that voice." Oh lord she is talking about soccer games. She did not answer the question. She is repeating this, her eyes are even moving as she reads this, in her mind -- or maybe shined on the inside of her glasses.

9:06 PM -- Oh lord, five minutes in, just 90 seconds into her first answer, and it is total gibberish. And she looks down at her notes and grimaces.

9:07 PM -- Biden quickly and cleverly gets in a bit about how he worked on legislation to stop "violence against women." How's that, Mrs. Buy Your Rape Kit You Rape Victim?

9:08 PM -- Palin responds to the "McCain was saying fundamentals of the economy are strong" with ... uh, she says "fundamental," singular, and says "maverick" three times. Drink, drink, drink.

9:10 PM -- Uh, Sarah, there weren't really many $100,000 houses even before this decade's housing boom ... unless you're buying a $1.75 crack house in Saginaw on eBay!

9:10 PM -- Hey, that is a good common-sense point, from our Gov. Palin: "Don't go into debt when you can't afford it." And then she says Heck, Betcha, Gonna, Git 'er done and who knows what else. Could we let Sarah not be Sarah for a little while, please, Alaskan Inuit God who lets her live on Your Holy Lands?

9:12 PM -- Biden talks about McCain's article in a "major magazine" about the great GOP plan to ruin health care the same way they ruined the financial industry. Of course it was just some trade mag and McCain didn't even write it -- he doesn't write anything under his byline.

9:13 PM -- Ha ha, now Biden is going to clobber Palin with those dirty liberal facts. Wow, he is pretty good at this, isn't he?

9:14 PM -- Ha ha, Palin just ignores everything. "I may not answer questions the way the moderator -- I'm gonna talk about being mayor." What?

9:15 PM -- Gwen cuts off Palin. IN THE TANK.

9:15 PM -- Biden wants fairness, for people who are not rich. What an elitist! Got to refill the Goblet of Fire here.

9:16 PM -- Well, there is the clip from Biden. Middle class, no increases in taxes for anyone making under a quarter-million, tax cuts for everyone making less than $150,000 per year, simple, didn't sound like a lecture.

9:18 PM -- Oh lord, Palin just recites some stuff they told her about "wealth redistribution."

9:18 PM -- Ifill: "Governor, are you interested in defending Senator McCain's health care plan?"

9:19 PM -- Well, that's one definition of defense?

9:20 PM -- And the Biden knife comes out: "McCain TAXES your health-care plan from your employer ... and TWENTY MILLION of you are going to be dropped. I call that the ultimate Bridge to Nowhere." (GROANS, GASPS FROM CROWD.)

9:21 PM -- Palin is just busily reading her notes to herself. Her lips are moving!

9:21 PM -- Biden has his first stumble, on the word "characterize." The campaign staff is in the back all crossing their fingers that this is the only one. Oh shit he just called McCain policies "unpatriotic."

9:22 PM -- Palin wants to go back to the energy plan. Has the energy plan been mentioned tonight?

9:23 PM -- "Tell 'em." "Somethin' else." "Bless their hearts, doin' what they need to do." "Aren't comin' to the big multinational corporations."

9:24 PM -- This is the "Let Sarah Be Sarah" thing the wingnuts want so bad.

9:24 PM -- Ifill: "Governor, could you possibly pretend to answer at least one goddamned question, please?"

9:25 PM -- Biden: Obama voted against oil company tax breaks, McCain voted for them. The End.

9:25 PM -- Biden shows some nice class with some "folksy" talk about how he likes how socialist Sarah gives $1,000 checks to Alaskans every day.

9:26 PM -- Ifill: "Gov. Palin, could you just answer something about subprime?"

9:27 PM -- Palin: "Yes, I could," and then recites something about how "we have John McCain to thank."

9:27 PM -- This is exhausting, listening to her.

9:27 PM -- Ha, Barack Obama the child was warning the Fed & Treasury two years ago that the subprime nightmare was already happening. (Your editor knew this, too, which is why he sold his house in Nevada just before the whole bubble imploded.) But John McCain was "surprised" by the collapse in December. Really?

9:29 PM -- Exasperated Gwen Ifill: "Gov. Palin, would you maybe like to respond to what somebody here actually said?" Palin: "He's wrong. So let's talk about my experience givin' breaks to folks."

9:30 PM -- New liveblogging thread!


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