Sarah Palin and Joe Biden's Debate Smackdown in St. Louis

Will Biden look like the Amtrak conductor he likes to play, and will Palin repeat her recent flubs?

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The Big Debate is finally here. The only question left: Who will show up? Will it be folksy Amtrak Joe Biden or the lecturing chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Biden of Delaware? Will the good-old-boy slaying governor of Alaska arrive in St. Louis or the ill-informed target of CBS anchor  Katie Couric's quiz show? In advance of the Show Me Debate, it looked a bit like Joe Amtrak could be facing Miss Teen South Carolina, the poor girl who flubbed a geography question but came back fast before national audiences. Our Matthew Belvedere caught up to Biden literally on Amtrak Wednesday. Well, specifically the pricier Acela train. Here's what Matthew E-mailed me from the 5 p.m. train from New York City to Washington.

Sen. Biden got on the NYC to DC bound Acela train at Delaware —press corps and all. He was going to DC to vote on the bailout bill Wednesday evening. About 15 minutes before we got to DC, Biden walked up and down the aisle—shaking hands and even taking a cell phone picture with one of the passengers. Biden held the phone and took a picture of the two of them. The guy looked at it and said, "You got my chin." One of Biden's aides snapped it again. On Biden's way back to the front of the train with aides in tow, he said of the conversations he had with passengers, " there's a lot of relief on this train." Then he quipped, " Must be lots of brokers on this train." When we arrived in DC, Biden was whisked past an enthusiastic crowd, though one guy observed: " Must be someone important." Another guy shouted "go Joe" from the crowded platform as Biden made his way past the crush of passengers and press—exiting the train en route to the Hill.

It wasn't as good for Palin, who took another hit in the media today after her latest Couric sit-down. Asked about Supreme Court decisions, she fumbled in a way that some are comparing to Caitlin Upton, the 2007 Miss Teen South Carolina. Asked why Americans have difficulty finding the United States on a world map, Upton said: "I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uhmmm, some people out there in our nation don't have maps and uh, I believe that our, I, education like such as, uh, South Africa, and uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should, uhhh, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, should help South Africa, it should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future, for us." The good news: Upton quickly recovered on national news shows, explaining in a line Palin could use: "Everybody makes a mistake. I'm human."

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