It was no blowout, but that's not to say there weren't plenty of blowout moments. The vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan had substance, feistiness, and a real contest of ideas. It likely reminded viewers how bad the Romney, Obama presidential debate was.
Presidential debates generally fail to shift voter preferences by very much, and vice presidential debates may matter even less. But sometimes, when debates are perceived to be blowouts – as the first presidential debate this cycle appears to have been – the effects can be more potent. The uptick in support for Mitt Romney in recent polls since his strong debate performance against President Obama attests to this.
But last night’s vice presidential debate between Rep. Paul Ryan and Vice Joe President Biden was no blowout.
That is not to say there was any shortage of blowout moments. Mr. Biden came ready to fight. He swung early and often, determined not to treat his opponent with kid gloves as many analysts feel the president did in his debate with Mr. Romney. But Mr. Ryan held his own, countering his way to a solid overall performance that went toe-to-toe with Biden.
Last night’s debate was, well, exactly that – a real debate. There was substance – lots of it – and feistiness, and a real contest of ideas. It was everything the first presidential debate was not, perhaps reminding many viewers that this is more of what they should have seen during the Obama/Romney duel. In fact, the vice presidential debate was so good that it may have reminded viewers about how bad the presidential debate was.
Biden appeared to be very aware of his boss’s near-collapse in the presidential face-off; Democrats were on defense, but the vice president did not let them down. Biden was an effective attacker who was willing to take the Republican ticket to task for controversial policies and campaign statements (like Romney’s 47 percent remarks).