Todd says now things have completely changed for Palin.
"It appears her confidence has been shaken, and that these interviews have gone awry a little bit, particularly this most recent one with Katie Couric so she does have a big challenge ahead of her," he said.
Gov. Palin has debate experience. She participated in a few televised debates during her campaign for governor, and she delivered memorable moments, first in a round table primary debate with Gov. Frank Murkowski and John Binkley by cutting through the squabbling to have her voice heard.
In the general election, Palin faced former Gov. Tony Knowles and Andrew Halcro.
Halcro says Palin's strength is her ability to connect with people. But he says her weakness is the details of public policy.
"Biden's challenge is he has to be respectful," Halcro said. "He has to be a gentleman and he can at no time try to flex his muscle that he knows more about public policy than Gov. Palin does because people already know that, and if he does, and I can speak from experience, you come across looking like a bully."
That moment came in an Oct. 29 debate, when Halcro pressed Palin on a topic he says she was avoiding.
"Sarah, I didn't hear an answer to my question and let me repeat it to you slowly. What percent of the constitutionally mandated services are you going to protect. Where else would you cut?" asked Halcro during the debate.
"Well Andrew it's a large percentage," Palin replied. "I'm a candidate, so I don't mind you disrespecting candidates with that kind of talk but I would hope in your business that you don't."
The question for Thursday night is this: Can Gov. Palin draw Biden into a trap?
"If I were the McCain campaign I would be trying to coach Gov. Palin into baiting Joe Biden into making a mistake," Todd said. "If Friday morning the conversation is about what Joe Biden said or did then they will have accomplished something. And if he's debating John McCain he's having a good night. If he's debating Gov. Palin my bet is Joe Biden's having a bad night."
Todd says he studied Palin's past performances and called her a good debater, but the stage she takes Thursday night is bigger than anything she's experienced before.
The debate will be live on Channel 2, starting at 5 p.m.
Contact Jason Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org