Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., left, responds to a question during the debate with Republican presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, right, at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., Thursday, Oct. 2, 2008. (AP Photo/Rick Wilking, Pool)
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin accused Barack Obama of voting against funding for U.S. troops in combat Thursday night in their much-anticipated campaign debate and chastised Obama's Democratic running mate, Joe Biden, for defending the move, "especially with your son in the National Guard" and headed for Iraq.
"John McCain voted against funding for the troops," as well, Biden countered, adding that the Republican presidential candidate had been "dead wrong on the fundamental issues relating to the conduct of the war."
Biden did not reply to Palin's mention of his son, Beau, the Delaware attorney general, who is scheduled to fly to Iraq with his National Guard unit on Friday.
Palin has a young son who is in Iraq with the Alaska National Guard, although she did not refer to it.
The exchange over Iraq was easily the most personal, and among the most pointed, as the two running mates debated across 90 minutes on a stage at Washington University.
They also clashed over energy, the economy, global warming and more in their only debate, with little more than one month remaining in the campaign and McCain struggling to regain his footing.
Republican officials disclosed earlier in the day that he was conceding the battleground state of Michigan to Obama. The state voted Democratic four years ago, but McCain had spent millions trying to place it in his column.
Biden was scathing in his criticism of McCain's position on the Iraq war, calling him the "odd man out" for his refusal to accept a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
But Palin countered that a timetable was tantamount to "a white flag of surrender in Iraq," and at a moment when victory was "within sight."
She also said Biden had once supported McCain's view of the war, and noted that he had once said of Obama that he wasn't ready to be commander in chief ... "and I know again that you opposed the move that he made to try to cut off funding for the troops and I respect you for that."
"I don't know how you can defend that position now but - I know that you know, especially with your son in the National Guard."
As for Obama, she said, "Another story there. Anyone I think who can cut off funding for the troops after promising not to - that's another story."