As I noted earlier, there were two “Saturday Night Live” skits — and one worked and one did not. The debate skit was a bit too over the top, especially when it hit John McCain’s “I am suspending my campaign” with the candidate proposing a series of unseemly gimmicks.

Even with Amy Poehler’s not-so-great impersonation of Katie Couric, the recreation of the CBS anchors interview with Sarah Palin was spot on, right from the first words out of Palin’s mouth.   Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin ranks up there with Dana Carvey’s George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot, an impression that is only going to reinforce impressions of the candidate heading into Thursday’s debate. Now expectations are so low that apparently the McCain campaign has taken to emphasizing Joseph Biden’s gaffes.

The reason that the Couric-Palin skit worked so well is because is stuck very close to what Palin actually said in the interview. As the New York Times pointed out today, “There were moments so bizarre during the last week — a potential financial meltdown; a suspended campaign; an on-again, off-again debate; offers of hugs from the Pakistani leader — that the presidential election entered the realm of surreal.

“And certainly there were moments during Saturday’s “SNL” when the dialogue seemed to be strangely “Law and Order” — ripped from the political headlines (or at least from the transcripts of interviews and debates).”

Need proof? Here’s the actual exchange of Couric and Palin, on the bailout. Compare it to the sketch I posted earlier.

COURIC: Why isn’t it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families who are struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries; allow them to spend more and put more money into the economy instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?

PALIN: That’s why I say I, like every American I’m speaking with, were ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health-care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping the—it’s got to be all about job creation, too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health-care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And trade, we’ve got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, scary thing. But one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today, we’ve got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that.