First of all, Sarah Palin exceeded expectations. There's no doubt about it. Joe Biden met expectations. The senator was very fluent with the issues. So on that score, Governor Palin came out ahead.

As far as getting votes, you've got to believe that Mrs. Palin will deliver a bit more to John McCain than Biden will deliver to Barack Obama. So again, on that barometer, Palin was a winner.

Now, on the issues, Biden is clearly more knowledgeable than the governor. But, remember in 1960, Richard Nixon was far more knowledgeable than John F. Kennedy. So it's all about the voters feeling confident and comfortable with the candidate.

Barack Obama has demonstrated that he is a tremendous campaigner and he could win the presidency. But right now Sarah Palin is getting a massive amount of attention and is once again a plus for John McCain, after two weeks of being a minus.

The problem with the debate Thursday night, and most debates, is that the moderator, Gwen Ifill, was far too soft and unfocused with her questions.

Talk about room to roam, Governor Palin had an Alaskan-sized turf Thursday night and she used it well. Here was my favorite sound bite about the current financial mess:


SARAH PALIN: We need to make sure that we demand from the federal government strict oversight of those entities in charge of our investments and our savings. And we need also to not get ourselves in debt. Let's do what our parents told us before we probably even got that first credit card. Don't live outside of our means. We need to make sure that, as individuals, we're taking personal responsibility through all of this. It's not the American people's fault that the economy is hurting like it is.


Now that was excellent and will rally traditional Americans.

Now Senator Biden had his moments as well, especially when he talked about the folks:


JOE BIDEN: Look, the people in my neighborhood, they get it. They get it. And they know they've been getting the short end of the stick. So, walk with me in my neighborhood. Go back to my old neighborhood in Claymont, an old steel town, or go up to Scranton with me. These people know the middle class has gotten the short end.


Now, with the bailout passing Friday, things may calm down in America. Let's hope so. But the folks will still be angry come election day.

With Obama running about 7 points ahead in the polls, it is on John McCain now to turn that anger to his advantage if he wants to win. McCain has to do that next Tuesday night. He has to say exactly how he'll clean up Washington and Wall Street, and point out that the Obama-Biden ticket will just make government bigger. It will be interesting to see just how forceful Senator McCain will be on the subject.

"Talking Points" is fascinated by this election cycle. Every week, something new happens, and nobody knows how it will all turn out.

And that's "The Memo."

Pinheads & Patriots

Actress Salma Hayek has joined forces with Procter & Gamble to help poor babies in Africa. Procter & Gamble will donate millions of tetanus vaccines from the sales of Pampers to help those babies. Because of that, Ms. Hayek will publicize the efforts, so she is a patriot.

On the pinhead front, P. Diddy, who used to be Puff Daddy, is now frightened of Sarah Palin.

Click here to watch "Pinheads & Patriots."


P. DIDDY, RAPPER: Sarah Palin, she scares me. She really scares me. I'm hiding under the covers. She's worse than the boogeyman. John McCain is 72. Sarah Palin could be the president. Boys and girls, vote. Please, I beg you.


You might have to man up on that one, you know? I'd like to reassure Mr. Diddy no matter who's elected, you'll be able to do whatever it is you do. So don't be frightened, and don't be a pinhead.

You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Pinheads & Patriots" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com