Don't expect the October 11 one and only vice presidential debate to be as civil (boring) as the Obama vs. Romney face off.
For starters, gaffe-prone Biden is being framed as "a gifted orator" by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus who took to the Sunday shows to downplay expectations for the Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan of Wisconsin (who will be making his debut on the national stage). "[He'll do] a great job," Priebus said of Ryan.
Secondly, since vice presidential nominees have historically filled the role of "attack dog" in elections, expect Representative Ryan to go for Biden's jugular by pounding at the vice president's admission that he and the president want "to raise taxes by a trillion dollars." Ryan will also likely tie this bombshell to Romney's recent accusation that Obama lacks an economic plan other than raising taxes and hiring some teachers (as spoofed by Saturday Night Live last night).
Though Biden will likely try to discredit Ryan's "Path to Prosperity" plan as well as to evoke the Democratic narrative of the Wisconsin congressman "pushing granny off a cliff," the challenger vice presidential nominee has the advantage of highlighting what the Republicans say has been a failed economic record during the last four years. And though the vice president will try to tout the sudden and surprising unemployment rate drop (from 8.1% to 7.8%), Ryan — the wonk — also has plenty of numbers he can use as ammunition; among them; the 60% of Americans who still think the country is on the wrong track, and the fact that one in two new college graduates is unemployed or underemployed (plug faded Obama posters metaphor).
For good ol' Joe, it's going to come down to avoiding any more gaffes (especially when it comes to the economy) that can be used ad nauseam by Republicans in 30-second political ads during what is left of the campaign. It's a taller order than what it seems. While in 2008 then Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin had to walk on egg shells due to her collapse on the national stage, it's now Biden who finds himself in a similar position; not as much because of his gaffes and the perceived economic failure of the Obama administration, but because of the president's less-than-stellar debate performance (which is already moving polls in Romney's direction). Had the president performed better in Denver, Biden would have more of an overhead coming into this potential butchering.
As for eager beaver Ryan, he needs to avoid coming across as the right wing wacko Democrats have tried to define him as. He also needs to offer some specifics as to what the Romney/Ryan economic plan to fix America is, as this was the main source of criticism against Romney in Denver. More importantly, Ryan will do well if he avoids attacking the vice president directly (especially his character) focusing instead on the top of the Democratic ticket, and dominating Obama as he did on this video: