At Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, on Thursday night, the 2012 election will be highlighted for a change by President Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney's running mates, Vice President Joe Biden and Representative Paul Ryan, respectively. The polls are tight, made even tighter by President Obama's weak performance in the last debate.
Will Paul Ryan, who many conservatives consider the brain-child of the brand of Republicanism they want to extol, tag-team in and bulldog Biden with his intellect? Will he create even more interest in Romney, as many Republicans who are only somewhat interested in their support of the former governor of Massachusetts have been voracious in their support for Ryan? No doubt, a perceived major win would excite the tepidly involved base.
Will Biden, who has been mostly absent in the media recently, make another major gaffe like the ones his opponents love to leap upon? Will Biden articulately offend the president's platform in a stronger manner than Obama was able to himself?
For the second election in a row, in many ways, the presidential candidates will be totally overshadowed by their running mate during this debate. And once again, in many ways, it's only Biden's task to not say anything bombastic or flat-out erroneous.
Will either of them even try to swoon millenials? Will any of them actually sway the sometimes disinterested independents, like me, who want to care but are turned off by party politics?
Let's be honest -- we watch these things for the anticipation of a knockout punch, or the possible moment where someone changes the race in bad way with one very stupid quote.
And I'll have my fingers at the keys to revel in those moments if they occur.
Stayed tuned to PolicyMic for all the latest news, updates, analyses, gaffes, jokes, and quotes. Bookmark and refresh this page for the most recent updates.
A live stream can be found here (updates below!):
UPDATE 10:45 PM:
Overall, this was the kind of debate I think American's want more of. There was a strong, bold moderator, two vocal and excited, confident speakers, and the content felt deeper and more substantive than what you might get in a debate that's not as intimately structured as this one.
Both candidates, for the most part, came off as eloquent and poised. The tone of the candidates was kind of chippy and disrespectful towards each other at times, but that's usual for modern-day politics, I think.
Biden's task, as mentioned above, was to be an articulate and strong voicebox for Obama. Ryan, on the other hand, had the task of really taking it to Biden and trying to squash his arguments and points.
Ryan, overall performed well. But Biden did, too. So the tie, in this case, goes to the runner.
Although, I'm sure the talking-heads, party pundits, spin doctors, and fact-checkers will have different opinions than me tonight and tomorrow.
Thanks for following me! And thanks to PolicyMic for inviting me here, too!
UPDATE 10:32 PM:
Ryan's closing argument felt so canned, manufactured.
UPDATE 10:31 PM:
A minute ago, Biden apologized for sounding frustrated. I remember when taking Speech 101 that you should never apologize to the audience in public speaking. Although, personally, I appreciate his candor.
UPDATE 10:30 PM:
UPDATE 10:29 PM:
See, the thing a lot of you guys don't understand is that both Ryan and Biden are doing the same thing throughout the entire debate: speaking long, and often in abstractions about every single topic, somehow focusing each answer on whatever point they feel they need to make. They are masters of the talking point and the long-winded speech. Anything of substance gets muddled in there, in my opinion.
Even Raddatz just pointed out: "Guys, you're going to have a chance to give your closing statements."
UPDATE 10:24 PM:
Biden talking to soldier disillusioned by the tone of the election: I'm going to take every chance I get in this response to not answer your question and pull punches at my opponent.
UPDATE 10:23 PM:
UPDATE 10:20 PM:
UPDATE 10:14 PM:
Oh, now we're talking about how they're both Catholic. Saucy topic. "How does influence your politics?" - paraphrase by Radditz. Specific focus of the conversation is abortion. This debate just got ratcheted up like whoa!
UPDATE 10:09 PM:
More great tweets from random peeps. I'm sure they'd appreciate your follows ;-)
UPDATE 10:04 PM:
Geez. Biden should take my English 101 class. If your thesis is "We've done what we were supposed to do in Afghanistan," I wouldn't bring up the dozens of incidents where Afghan soldiers / police killed our guys. Afghan, unlike Iraq, can't stand up on their own. They don't have the same infrastructure or evolvement or education as a country.
The "trained Afghan personel" are a joke according to my friends who still serve.
UPDATE 9:58 PM:
Ryan: We don't want the Taliban to come back. So, um, we're just going to leave in 2014. Get it?
Me: They're coming back, guys. Whenever we leave. So, um, let's just go, huh?
UPDATE 9:56 PM:
UPDATE 9:52 PM:
The snippiness here is getting kind of annoying. Someone said "debates are really presentations." They keep talking over each other just to get their points heard. Is this substantive conversation or debate?
UPDATE 9:48 PM:
UPDATE 9:45 PM:
I wish Martha Raddatz was my mom. Or at least aunt. She'd tell it to me like is, like, while drinking whiskey or something. Plus, she's been to Iraq and Afghanistan. Bad-ass-ness.
UPDATE 9:44 PM:
Ryan: "This is what politicians do when they don't have a record to run on: try to scare you into voting for them."
UPDATE 9:41 PM:
Behind the scenes politics: I know from my experiences at the Connecticut General Assembly, politicians' names are always going on bills without much scrutiny. When a bill just starts off as an abstract, they all usually sound pretty good. And politicians love taking credit for things. Ryan is probably right about having a Democrat's support at one point for the legislation he's talking about. But he's probably overstating that support.
UPDATE 9:35 PM:
The power of narratives: Politicians love to tell personal stories to try and sway people. Like when Obama pointed to a bracelet he wore to commemorate a fallen soldier, given by that soldier's mom, because he "promised to bring the troops home."
Ryan, however, should not have just tried to compare his personal story to Biden's wife and daughter being killed. I'd be pissed if I were Biden.
UPDATE 9:34 PM:
UPDATE 9:29 PM:
Biden: "I've never met two other people (Ryan and Romney) so down on America." Ouch. "Show me a policy," he says.
UPDATE 9:26 PM:
Scranton's employment is down!? Oh no! Does this mean no more "The Office"?
UPDATE 9:22 PM:
Ryan says that "Iran calls us the Great Satan." Does anyone else think that's kind of awesome?
UPDATE 9:21 PM:
To paraphrase the last couple minutes, "No, I love Netanyahu more." "No, I LOVE Netanyahu more." Does anyone still doubt the power of the Israel Lobby? This whole Middle East thing is always so murky -- our involvement all other the place...
UPDATE 9:18 PM:
Iran really is a threat, no doubt. But they've been "moving very quickly" towards a nuclear weapon like Ryan says for a really long time. Since the "Axis of Evil" speech in 2002. Just sayin'.
UPDATE 9:15 PM:
Sanctions. Really? We write you a very angry letter.
UPDATE 9:13 PM:
UPDATE 9:10 PM:
Lot's of confusing things being said about military "intelligence." I put that in quotes because apparently, ever since I wore a gas mask in Iraq for no reason in 2003, they still haven't fixed that intelligence thing.
UPDATE 9:08 PM:
Good point by Ryan. Where were the Marines? My friend, a retired USA Lt. Col says that he knows the military is quickly down-sizing already these days.
UPDATE 9:05 PM:
They're talking about bin Laden's killing. That WAS America's last great win. Biden is wise to bring that up. My piece on that: ;-)
UPDATE 9:03 PM:
Jumping right into it. "Wasn't this a major intelligence failure, Mr. Biden..." - Martha Raddatz
UPDATE 9:00 PM:
Women will be a crucial demographic both sides will want to engage. But some women aren't confident in either party.
UPDATE 8:54 PM:
Okay, I was wrong. It sounds like half of this debate WILL be foreign policy. Thank goodness. We all know about all of our problems here already. From my experiences, this world is shrinking all the time.
UPDATE 8:43 PM:
Well, here's an indicator of what Biden's marching orders are. Bet you a nickel Biden asks Ryan this directly (I can't bet any more -- I'm poor):
UPDATE 8:40 PM:
The current stakes:
"A CBS News/New York Times/Quinnipiac University poll put Romney ahead in Colorado, 48 percent to 47 percent, a reversal of Obama’s one-point lead last month. The president continued to lead in Virginia, 51 percent to 46 percent, up one point from his 50 percent to 46 percent advantage in September, and in Wisconsin, 50 percent to 47 percent, down from 51 percent to 45 percent the month before.
Romney was ahead in Virginia, 48 percent to 47 percent, in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist College survey, a reversal of Obama’s 49 percent to 44 percent lead last month. Obama held a one-point advantage in Florida, 48 percent to 47 percent, after being ahead by five points in September, and led, 51 percent to 45 percent, in Ohio after being ahead, 50 percent to 43 percent, last month. No Republican has ever won the White House without carrying Ohio."
UPDATE 8:29 PM:
Earlier today, I mispoke and said "President Romney" when talking to my students. They weren't too thrilled with me. What do you think about a possible President Romney? Is anyone ACTUALLY going to leave the country either way?
UPDATE 8:22 PM:
CNN's talking about first impressions. Most Americans don't know very much about these two. How will they choose to reveal themselves to the average citizen?
UPDATE: 7:49 PM:
Okay, got to tap out for about 20 minutes. Running from the my college's campus to back home. No jokes about me not teaching. I taught while updating here. I'm a multi-tasking fool!;-)
Dozens of updates to follow soon!
UPDATE 7:39 PM:
It's starting to get dirty out there. One topic sure to come up, apparently, is recent events in the Middle East. Both sides blaming each other here of dirty politics.
"Obama campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter appeared on Fox News Channel’s 'Special Report' on Thursday to double down on her accusationthat Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are the only reason Americans care about the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the Benghazi embassy."
UPDATE 7:35 PM:
YOU BETTER BE GETTING PUMPED! THIS IS THE MAIN SHOW!
UPDATE 7:30 PM:
More humor. How else does one prepare for a debate?
UPDATE 7:25 PM:
My good friend just told me to follow this dude on Twitter. I'm glad I did. LOLzing!
UPDATE 5:09 PM:
What's the one question you would ask to Biden or Ryan?
I think, essentially, they're applying for a job, and we, the American people, are the interviewers.
That being said, the best job interview question I ever was asked was: "If you could be any fruit, what fruit would you be?"
I'd ask them that. Extra points for papaya or huckleberry.
UPDATE 5:02 PM:
Like many 20-somethings, I work several part-time jobs to pay my bills. Maybe that's part of the reason we've been tapped out of the election, too: we're just too freaking busy. I'll be cutting my English 102 class short a little bit to be able to live-blog. I don't think my students will be too upset. ;-)
Check out this PolicyMic piece from earlier:
What do you guys think are the reasons young people don't seem to be politically involved right now?
UPDATE 2:47 PM:
20 Things to Know About Tonight's Debate
So, I'm writing this thing as a veteran, and as a 20-something. I run an online zine, if I may shamelessly self-promote, called 20 Something Magazine. (Do the clickey thing, please! This is the only time I'll plug).
Anyway, in that spirit, here are 20 things you need to know about Biden and Ryan and the debate tonight, and what it means for millenials:
1. When the race is tight, the running mates debate is very important, maybe even crucial.
2. This debate, as far as Biden is concerned, won't be about him -- it'll be about President Obama.
3. This debate, as far as Ryan is concerned, will be about him. He was put on Romney's ticket for a very specific reason: to woo the Tea Party Republicans, get jacked and listen to Rage Against the Machine, and then pummel wussy liberals with his brain-power and intellect.
4. Ryan will try to swoon millenials. He wants to lower governmental spending. A popular Republican mantra is that, under Obama, "we're mortgaging our grandchildren's futures."
5. Biden will try to swoon millenials, too. He'll want to promote a fairness and spread the wealth mindset, which will resonate with many of us young people who believe we're beaten and held down because of the wealthy, corporations, and big business.
6. Ryan's fiscal math, will sometimes be percieved to be of the "fuzzy" variety.
7. Biden will have pressure to champion Obama's policies, which the President, many have said, was unable to do in the last debate.
8. Paul Ryan represents Wisconsin. Joe Biden is from Delaware. Both are used to having a second-fiddle role in national politics. Ouch! Sweet burn!
9. There's a fun debate drinking game you can play! Click right here! Don't get too imbibed to not check back here at PolicyMic!
10. Unfortunately, the on-going war in Afghanistan and what's going on in the Middle East won't be discussed very much at all. Many of our peers and fellow citizens are over there still fighting and dying.
11. This is also unfortunate because Biden is well-known for his foreign policy skills as the former chairperson for the Foreign Relations Committee.
12. Ryan is most well-known for being a finance and budget guru. He was the lead-author and champion for "The Path to Prosperity," the Republican's budget plan for 2013, which is what first propelled him into the national spotlight.
13. Biden has been out of the spotlight for a while and might be rusty.
14. Ryan doesn't have nearly as much debate experience as Biden, certainly nothing this large.
15. To make a sports comparison, Ryan is the upstart Orioles competing against the mainstay Yankees for this "divisional round" of the November election. (Go O's! Sorry, I'm a Balto-moron, hon!)
16. To make a fantasy football comparison: Joe Biden is like Joe Flacco (get the Delaware connection!?). He's a very accomplished and great QB who will get you some points and get you far but never blow out his opponent.
17. Another fantasy football comparison: Paul Ryan is like Brian Hartline. Seriously, how is this the man who's leading the NFL in yards? Where'd this guy come from?
18. Ryan needs to be able to prove that he's ready to lead this nation as commander-in-chief, should Romney get elected and something bad happen.
19. Get ready for a rumble. This one won't be friendly like the Palin-Biden debate four years ago. The tone has already been set.
20. PolicyMic will be the best place to get up-to-the-moment news, reactions, and analysis! Please check back here and keep refreshing the page during the debate! Like, share, re-post! Woot!
UPDATE: 1:54 PM:
In the spirite of fariness, here's a funny Joe Biden meme.
See, it's funny because sometimes Biden confuses technology and historical facts. Womp wah...
UPDATE: 5:44 PM, the day before the debate:
Is this the best Paul Ryan meme?
See, it's funny because "fiscal" sounds like "physical." These are the awesome things you can do when you have a political science bachelors and a masters in poetry like me.