There's been a lot of analysis of the debate between Senator Joe Biden and Governor Sarah Palin. I think that any honest assessment of the debate reveals that Palin lost in a number of ways. She lost the debate on substance. She lost the debate on style. Finally, she didn't answer most of the questions. Debate moderator Gwen Ifill stated, "She blew me off."
On at least 10 occasions, Palin gave answers that were nonspecific, completely generic, pivoted away from the question at hand, or simply ignored it: on global warming, an Iraq exit strategy, Iran and Pakistan, Iranian diplomacy, Israel-Palestine (and a follow-up), the nuclear trigger, interventionism, Cheney's vice presidency and her own greatest weakness.
If you really don't know that much, then your best defense is smiling and repeating talking points. Palin proved that even after a lot of preparation, she doesn't know much.