UPDATE: 11:22 PM President Obama on tonight's debate (via The Washington Post):
“I’m going to make a special point of saying that I thought Joe Biden was terrific tonight. I could not be prouder of him. I thought he made a very strong case. I really think that his passion for making sure that the economy grows for the middle class came through. So I’m very proud of him.”
11:04 PM Hmm. CNBC has Ryan up 20 points. CBS has Biden up 20 points. The nation definitely needs to wait more than 34 minutes to get accurate poll numbers.
11:02 PM The debate has been over for half an hour, and the pundits are weighing in. Most (on left and center) agree that Biden came out swinging, and clearly avoided the missteps of the Dems' less-than-stellar performance last week. The six days Biden took off from the campaign trail to prepare clearly paid off.
Ryan started the debate with confidence, but began cowering as Biden increased the intensity of his attacks. It is almost certain that Romney's team will (ironically) go after the VP for his tenacity. The RNC has already tweeted out that CNN's Gloria Borger said Biden "came off as condescending."
Martha Raddatz did a fantastic job moderating, especially in the rapid-fire foreign policy segment.
10:33 PM Debate ends. Whew. That was a seriously fast-paced 90-minutes. America is collectively exhausted just watching the two candidates go head-to-head.
10:27 PM "All they're looking for is an even shot Martha, an even shot." -Joe Biden on the middle class.
Ryan looks straight into the camera for his closing statements. Biden looks at Raddatz.
10:26 PM Now Hulk Biden account has appeared on Twitter.
10:22 PM Are you ever embarrassed about the tone of the campaign? asks Raddatz.
Biden takes a few final swipes at Romney, citing the 47 percent gaffe. Ryan blames Obama for making the campaign negative. "Attack, blame, and defame." Says there are broken promises.
Funny that Ryan is going negative on a question on the negativity of the campaign.
10:20 PM Biden basically says Roe vs. Wade is in jeopardy in a Romney administration. Flashback to the so-called "War on Women" that has been raging for much of this year.
10:16 PM Raddatz poses a question on the candidates' Catholic faith and abortion. Ryan cites science as a reason why he's pro-life, and gives a personal anecdote. Says the Obama administration is infringing on freedom of religion, Catholic churches, Catholic hospitals, etc. Biden takes issue with this.
10:11 PM How best to deal with the crisis in Syria? Biden says we must collaborate with the Turks, Saudis, Jordanians and other allies in the region. Ryan asks, "what's in the best interest of American people?"
10:07 PM VP trivia compliments of The Guardian: Paul Ryan was three years old when Joe Biden was elected to Congress.
10:05 PM No mention of women/children/education/immigration with 25 minutes left in the debate.
9:57 PM Biden says that he's been in Afghanistan and Iraq 20 times. "It is the responsibility of the Afghans to take care of their own security," he says. We are leaving in 2014--and that's it.
9:53 PM Small navy = invites weakness says Ryan. Instilling fear with thoughts of a floundering military is a reliable tactic.
9:50 PM Biden is giving fact after fact after fact debunking Ryan's answers.
The Obama team must have had quite the pre-debate pep talk/strategy shift. The contrast in energy between this showdown and the presidential debate is striking.
9:41 PM This Medicare and Medicaid debate is heated. Biden's proving to America that he wants to keep his job.
Bill Maher tweet: "Hello 9 1 1? There s an old man beating a child on my tv"
9:40 PM There's already a "Laughing Joe Biden" Twitter account.
9:27 PM Biden is getting his groove back. Says that Ryan asked for stimulus money for Wisconsin. Wishes his opponent would be "a little more candid."
9:25 PM Zing. Ryan goes after Biden's hometown of Scranton. He cites unemployment stats in 2008 vs. 2012 in the Rust Belt city. "The economy is barely limping along," Ryan says. He appears very self-assured.
9:21 PM Luke Russet thinks that Ryan is showing his credits on foreign policy. "Foreign policy is Ryan's weakest area of expertise and he's well on his way to fighting to a draw if not winning on it here.
#NBCPolitics", he tweets.
9:19 PM Tweet from a public policy school classmate: "Both candidates are achieving their objectives: Biden is going on the offense and Ryan is staying attractive."
9:13 PM "How effective would a military strike [on Iran] be?" asks Raddatz. All of the Middle East is leaning in to hear Ryan's and Biden's answer.
9:10 PM "With all due respect, that's a bunch of malarky," says Biden. What's malarky?
9:07 PM Twitter is already exploding with Raddatz' moderating > Lehrer's
9:05 PM The dual begins with the moderator, ABC's Martha Raddatz, asking about Benghazi. Ryan is on the offensive saying that Obama should have called it a terrorist attack. "This is becoming more troubling by the day," says Ryan.
9:00 PM And...we're off!
8:58 PM The Ryan team did not consult Sarah Palin prior to the debate, according to The Rachel Maddow Show.
8:50 PM T-minus ten minutes until the debate begins. Cue "Eye of The Tiger"
Last week, over 67 million viewers tuned in to watch President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney debate how best to tackle the federal deficit, if “Obamacare” should be repealed, and whether Big Bird will be able to keep his day job. This Thursday, all eyes will turn to their running mates, Vice President Joe Biden and Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), as the two go head to head in a much-anticipated matchup at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky.
Make no mistake; the stakes are high for the VP (and VP hopeful). As Obama’s comfortable post-Democratic National Convention lead begins to slip, and Romney continues to ride the momentum following his decisive debate win, Biden and Ryan’s big night could prove to be a game-changer.
As the Washington Post reminds us, these VP candidates are more than Romney’s and Obama’s plus-ones. Both are key government players who know the ins-and-outs of Washington and are able to be judged by their own records.
“Biden is vice president and therefore fully accountable for what has gone right and wrong on Obama’s watch,” writes The Post. “[Ryan] may have a limited public profile nationally, but he has served seven terms in Congress and, of far greater significance, his peers consider him the intellectual leader of the Republican Party for his work on the budget and the economy.”
What are the best possible outcomes for each camp? Obama’s team is hoping Biden will use his decades of policy experience to curtail Republican gains. Romney’s squad is counting on Ryan, who has already once electrified the campaign, to keep enthusiasm for the ticket high.
Either way, be prepared for intense media scrutiny and fired campaign shots come Friday morning.
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