Who Won the VP Debate: Neither Candidate Wins, Debate Lacks Substance


In the much-hyped vice presidential debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), more is at stake than most recent VP meetings. The U.S. public has had time to analyze and assess the first presidential debate this season and, as the polls continue to fluctuate, millions of Americans will be watching Biden vs. Ryan argue policy issues, none more important than the current state and future of the economy.  

Will the debate have a similarly significant effect that last week's Obama/Romney debate did? How will the candidate's lay out their running mate's message and their own? Stay on PolicyMic Thursday night, October 11 to read detailed coverage and to contribute your opinions.

In the meantime, take a look at the policy positions and debate styles in videos of Biden and Ryan posted below.

Biden’s debate against former Governor of Alaska and GOP Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin in 2008:

Excerpts from Ryan's conversations with Obama:


The overall tone of the debate lacked the gravity that many argued it would carry.  Biden and Ryan provided just enough substance without appearing too wonky on foreign policy, the economy, and health care.  Over the next few days, each political party will try to claim victory but it’s doubtful many voters will take much away from the debate tonight.   

What tonight did do was create more tension for the next Presidential debate as nothing was lost or gained tonight.

Finally, some fact checking provided by New York Times. While there are surely more to come, the Times found a falsehood stated by each candidate on Medicare. Paul Ryan attacked the Obama administration for cutting Medicare to fund Obamacare.  This claim has been debunked in that while the changes slow the pace of future spending growth, there are no cuts. On the other side of the table, Biden incorrectly claimed that any proposed Republican plans to privatize Medicare would negatively impact senior citizens. However, seniors would not be affected by the proposed changes that Romney has laid out.

UPDATE 10:32  The final question asking about each candidate's character missed an opportunity to get into more substantative issues. 

UPDATE 10:25 Closing statements address the negativity of the current campaign, though it is hard to separate the negativity from this political season compared to recent presidential races. While there is certainly a large amount of negativity, the past four races agruable had more. 

UPDATE 10:20 PM New York Times provides clip on Ryan jab at Biden's gaffes.

Check it out here.

UPDATE 10:20 PM The moderator begins finishing the debate up with faith questions with respect to abortion. 

Biden responds with his own faith and does not want to impose his personal Catholic belief against abortion on others.


Neither candidate right now is taking a significant lead in the overall debate. Both Biden and Ryan have provided enough specifics to get credit for knowing their numbers but have not gained on one another. 

Biden and Ryan share their differences in approaches to Afghanistan. Biden wants the US military by the 2014 deadline and Ryan agrees though wants to make sure that the war is first a success.

UPDATE 9:54 Insight provided via Twitter

UPDATE 9:50 Ryan claims that Obama plan will raise the tax rate for small businesses to over 40%.  Martha asks specifics on how Romney and Ryan will pay for the 20% across the board tax cut. Ryan follows the Romney platform in that they are going for a bipartisan solution to implement the tax plan but does not offer the specifics.

UPDATE 9:43 Ryan directly references the pressure that Biden is facing to make up for lost ground.  Biden challenges Ryan claim to have used past bipartisan support for Medicare legislation.

UPDATE 9:35 Politico weighs in on the solid job that moderator Martha Raddatz is doing.

UPDATE 9:31 Ryan responds with a zinger referencing Biden's predeliction to gaffes. The Congressman works well to describe caring and charitable Romney, who college tuition for a family whose father was paralyzed in a car accident.

UPDATE 9:25 PM Now swtiching directly to dometic policy by looking at the state of the economy.  Biden describes the context of the Great Recession, sticking to talking point of the campaign.  Biden then includes the 47% percent comment that Obama omitted from the presidential debate. The Vice President is taking a combative tone.  We'll see how Congressman Ryan reacts.

UPDATE 9:18 PM Both candidates are easing into the debate.  Biden is perhaps attacking Romney and Ryan a little more directly.

UPDATE 9:09 PM Ryan in turn attacks the Obama administration on its response and apologetic tone regarding the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.  Congressman Ryan makes sure to mention the support of the troops, an issue that Romney was criticized for when he omitted talking about the servicemen and women during his nomination speech in Tampa.


Starting out with Libya during the debate, which is a strong move to dive into this contentious issue.  The Obama camp has been criticized for its response.

Biden lays out two main responses and dives into the withdrawal from Iraq and immediately begins to attack Romney.  Biden begins by bolstering Obama’s foreign policy record.

UPDATE: 9:02 PM Where does the word "wonk" come from? Find out here.

UPDATE: 8:35 PM In a brief video from CBS, President Obama and Governor Romney discuss how they prepare for and the overall effects of the debate series on the election. The President and Governor Romney differ on the deciding factor of the debates. Obama believes that many factors will contribute to the decision voters make come November while Romney sees the debate as possibly fundamental in how the election turns out in such a tight race.  Both agree that they have been prepared by the deluge of questions they have faced throughout their political careers, especially on the campaign trail. 

Check out the brief video on CBS, posted on October 3, the day of the first presidential debate.

UPDATE: 8:22 PM What do the candidates do in the 40 minutes prior to walking onto the largest stage of their political career?

UPDATE: 7:45 PM Twitter user Nick Ryan keeps things in perspective however.

Click here for the Wikipedia link.

UPDATE: 7:35 PM 

One interesting aspect of tonight’s debate is the expectation that each candidate has from his respective party.  That is to say, both Biden and Ryan face considerable pressure to either make up for lost ground or build off rising momentum.  The Obama camp is hoping that Biden can out maneuver Ryan to gain some traction after last week’s first Presidential debate.  This puts Biden in a difficult position. Likewise, Ryan is hoped to continue Romney’s commendable performance. However, this round, Ryan does not have the underdog platform that the Romney campaign carefully mapped out for the top of the ticket. 

Both candidates are facing an equal amount of pressure tonight, which could result in a more cautious exchange than experts predict.

UPDATE: 7:10 PM Official summary of tonight's debate taken by www.patch.com

Topic: Foreign and domestic policy 

According to the CPD, "The debate will cover both foreign and domestic topics and be divided into nine time segments of approximately 10 minutes each. The moderator will ask an opening question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a discussion of the question."

UPDATE: 6:10 PM Succinct overview of the debate tonight from The Wall Street Journal.

UPDATE: 5:55 PM Latest Tweets from Biden and Ryan. 

UPDATE: 5:25 PM Will Joe Biden's debate prep partner have the inside scoop on Ryan? Congressman Chris Van Hollen worked with Congressman Ryan on the House budget committee as the leading Democrat and the two held differing views on much of their budgetary analysis.  How much will this perspective help Biden?  We'll find out in a few short hours.

UPDATE: 5:15 PM New CNN poll on the November election suggests that the stakes are particularly high for tonight's debate.  With such a tight race, anything and everything said tonight could be a factor in pulling or pushing votes in a certain direction. The 18 electoral votes in Ohio and 13 in Virginia are crucial for either candidate and independents from either state will most likely be tuning in in droves.  This is the real deal tonight and should not be overlooked.

UPDATE: 11:30 AM Interesting article by Dan Balz of The Washington Post on the importance of the V.P. debate.


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