Who Won the Debate: Biden Grins Too Much, But Beats High School Student Paul Ryan


After Obama's subpar performance in the first presidential debate, analysts and voters alike will watch and see if Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) can show that both sides of the Republican presidential ticket are ready for the spotlight, or if Vice President Joe Biden can fight back with a standout performance of his own and get the Obama campaign back on track. 

Ryan is known as the policy wonk and is very good at articulating his point, but Biden debated very well against Sarah Palin last year and is underrated in his ability to reach the average voter. While typically the vice presidential debate isn't nearly as much as a focus as the presidential debates, the nature of the 24-hour news cycle and the sudden tightening in the national polls will make this debate more of a spectacle. Further, since it is the only debate for the two candidates, topics will run the gamut, including the economy, entitlements, foreign policy, and social issues

Expect to see Biden try to talk about social issues to try to portray Ryan as extreme, and Ryan is likely to try to bring out a fiery and gaffe prone Biden. Unlike the first presidential debate, this debate is sure to be lively. 

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10:48 PM - Last random thought: Biden grinned too much, Ryan was overeager, but did better on foreign policy than I expected. However, Biden owned the night, switching issues very well and always being in charge and engaged. Funniest comment of the night I've seen from a friend, "Someone call 911... I just saw an old man beating up a little boy on national television! (go joe!!!)"

10:30 PM - Closing statements: Biden defends Obama's record, and Ryan sounds a little high schoolish. I mean, really, the choice is clear? I blurted out Coca-Cola when he said that.

10:28 PM - 


10:27 PM - Ryan is way, WAY, better about playing up Romney than Romney has ever done.

10:26 PM - Or remember when...

10:25 PM - Waiting for Ryan to throw out Saul Alinsky, keeps saying try to paint your opponent's record if you don't have something to run on.

10:23 PM - 

10:21 PM - Biden just throws out the name of Bork as a Supreme Court Justice, who, if you are above the age of 40, will probably scare the crap out of you.

10:20 PM - Here it is, Biden lays out Ryan's idea about abortion. Ryan again says a Romney administration will allow exceptions, but again, Ryan will not say he agrees with it.

10:19 PM - Religious liberty or civil liberty?

10:17 PM - Although others might not have noticed, Ryan says a Romney administration's policy would allow some exceptions for abortion. Not that he agrees with that view, however.

10:16 PM - 

10:14 PM - Excellent question, what is the criteria for intervention. And she wants to know about humanitarian point of it, which Ryan wants to ignore, for some reason. It has to be in our national security interests.

10:13 PM - Biden (and Ryan) are right that Russia is very literally arming the Bashar al-Asad regime in Syria. A plane was stopped on its way from Moscow to Damascus today http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19912534

10:09 PM - Now Romney is his friend. Biden is making a good point, exactly how does differ on Obama's Syria policy other than "not leading"?

10:08 PM - Syria. What is the difference between Syria and Libya. Everything. No really, everything. 

10:06 PM - 

10:04 PM - Unanimous consent, this moderator has won this debate. Now if only they wouldn't choose over their best years old guys to do the presidential debates.

9:59 PM -

9:57 PM - They (the Joint Chiefs of Staff) made the recommendation first! Oh yes they did!

9:56 PM - Agreed!

9:54 PM - Biden gets in some good shots. Why isn't the former governor of Mass. fighting to win that state?

9:53 PM - Jack Kennedy lives!

9:51 PM -

9:45 PM - This is a very good moderator. Why wasn't she doing the presidential debate?

9:44 PM - I have to say, I'm impressed with Ryan not giving an inch when Biden interrupts him. 

9:38 PM - I grin, you grin, we all grin for medicare and entitlements. Why does it seem like all the figures they throw around will change the second the tire hits the road?

9:37 PM - Again from roommate "Did he just scare us about other people scaring us?" Uh oh, Palin and the panels are back. Wasn't this fact checkers lie of the year?

9:33 PM - Hulk Biden just body slammed Ryan Savage. Yes, Ryan asked for stimulus money because "it helped create jobs".

9:32 PM - From my roommate, "Did Biden get both set of (insert word here) for this debate"?

9:31 PM - Disclosure, the author of this liveblog went from unemployed to employed. You can't tell me the economy is getting worse.

9:29 PM - Sometimes words don't come out the right way. Laughter. The Ryan strikes back.

9:28 PM - Dear Romney and Obama, this is how you debate. #debatelessons

9:25 PM - Wow Biden just put the slam down on taxes and Romney. He's had it up to HERE! But, Ryan is his friend.

9:24 PM - Now unemployment needs under 6%. Apparently 8% isn't good enough as a talking point.

9:23 PM - Ryan will tell us which is worse. Iran having a bomb, not war in the Middle East. Biden says war should be the last resort. Funny to debate war so easily.

9:22 PM - Ok Biden, settle down now.

9:21 PM - The Bibi debate apparently. Who is better friends with Bibi (Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu)?

9:18 PM - Uhhh... trying to water down sanctions? Didn't Ryan just say he agreed with the sanctions the Obama administration had put in place?

9:17 PM - Interesting, Biden says intelligence community between Israelis and Americans are on the exact same page. Trying to undermine Romney's close relationship with Israeli PM Netanyahu.

9:15 PM - Now to Iran. Some nice back and forth between Ryan and Biden, neither flinching.

9:10 PM - First question is about Libya, and there are some misleading things here. Obama didn't 'apologize' to anyone in Egypt, this was a statement released, against US gov't orders, from the US embassy. Also, in Libya, Biden is right, there was conflicting intelligence on the situation on the ground.

9:05 PM - So it is Congressman and not mister!

8:52 PM - Also, tonight the Nats won. Why does this matter? There was the possibility that Game 4 of the NL Division Series would continue on during the debate, causing some to decide between the game and the debate. The NYT had a pretty funny article about this possibility, and some people (ahem journos) skipping the debate to watch the game. Then again, if you were at the game, you are probably still on your way home, as the metro doesn't seem to be cooperating today. http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/05/d-c-may-have-to-decide-between-pastimes/

8:45 PM - Next up, also from Politico, a good story about 'Mister' Paul Ryan and his debate history. Although he doesn't have the breadth and experience as Biden, this isn't Palin going on stage and trying the aww shucks aren't I heartening routine. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1012/82288.html?hp=t2_3

8:40 PM - Hello, and welcome to my live blog of the VP debate! First and foremost, I'd like to thank everyone for joining me. Now off to the links. First up, according to Politico, Congressman Ryan will be referred to as 'Mister' instead of 'Congressman', due to the low approval rating of Congress. If this is true, I can imagine Biden pouncing repeatedly to refer not only to his position in Congress, but also to his long time on the Hill. http://www.politico.com/blogs/burns-haberman/2012/10/sources-ryan-to-be-called-mister-not-congressman-at-138168.html