On Thursday night, the focus shifts from President Obama and Mitt Romney to their running mates, Vice President Joe Biden and Representative Paul Ryan. This is the first and only Vice Presidential debate of the election, and it could feature more direct debating as opposed to the typical format of the presidential debates.
Four years ago, Biden shined in this forum, handily defeating Sarah Palin in their debate, with 46% of people walking away believing that Biden had defeated Palin (21%). Whereas Obama and Romney both speak in very calculated terms, Biden has been known to let his emotions fly during when he speaks, which could in turn lead to a very interesting debate if things take a heated turn. Ryan meanwhile, comes across as a man of the people, and does not let things get too far out of hand. This contrast of styles between the two should lead to an interesting debate. One thing to watch for is Biden's knack for making horrible gaffes at inopportune times. If he can speak emotionally without going too far off the deep end, or creating a Big Bird hacking soundbite, then Biden is perfect for this format.
The moderator for the night's proceedings is ABC News' Martha Raddatz. This is Raddatz's first major moderating assignment. However, what she may lack in experience, she makes up for in terms of breadth and depth of knowledge. Widely considered one of the most intelligent members of the media, having been tapped as ABC's chief foreign correspondent since 2008, Raddatz should be able to aptly handle the pressure of her first nationally televised debate. While vice presidential debates have never really swayed the voting public much, the Democrats could really use a win here as the majority of people who saw last week's debate and thought Obama gave a subpar performance. Whether a win here would rehab the party's image is another story; however, the Democrats would be happy to walk away without anything commercial-worthy coming out of Joe Biden's mouth. The debate starts at 9 Eastern Time in Danville, Kentucky (the site of one of the most relaxed debates between Joe Lieberman and Dick Cheney in 2000) and is scheduled to run until 10:30.
PolicyMic will be covering the vice presidential debate live. For live updates, bookmark and refresh this page.
UPDATE: 11:13 PM - My closing remarks:
At the end of the vice presidential debate, what can we take away from this? No attacks on Big Bird, and no horribly embarrassing things came out of Joe Biden’s mouth. That alone could make both parties happy; however, in this case, Biden came through with the more impressive performance. More aggressive from the outset, Biden used a keen sense of what he needed to do, in addition to a strong command of the facts at hand and was not afraid to call out Ryan on his or his parties inaccuracies. While at times, Biden may have let his emotions get the best of him; Ryan was constantly on his back heels.
On an issue-by-issue basis, after Ryan came out strong, Biden consistently sounded more confident and more emotionally attached to what he was saying in comparison to Ryan’s faux-“man of the people” tone. One interesting thing to take away from this debate was neither Biden nor Ryan but the role of the moderator. One debate removed from Jim Lehrer’s less-than-stellar debate moderator performance, the audience was treated to ABC News’ senior foreign correspondent Martha Raddatz. Raddatz frequently improvised, and he question about the role of their religion (both candidates are Catholic) and the role that plays in their views on abortion. If there were a quote one could take away from this, it would be Biden’s response to that question when he said, “I accept my church’s doctrine in my personal life, but I refuse to impose that on others.”
Overall, to grade this out, Biden gets a 10 in an important win in this debate, while Ryan, hardly impressive, but did not make any major mistakes. Conservatives never reveal details, and Ryan stuck to the script in that regard. While the value of this debate is not necessarily of the utmost important, this debate was a resounding win for Biden and the whole Democratic Party.
10:34 PM - "A clear victory for Joe Biden" -Chris Matthews
That's a wrap folks, thanks for following along, hopefully I provided some insight to those at home. Go Yankees!
10:31 PM - "This sounds so scripted. Biden's sounded empassioned, this was written last month" -My friend on Ryan's closing statement
10:29 PM - Closing statement time, so far, nothing foot-in-mouth worthy
10:28 PM - "My record stands for itself" -Joe Biden. Where is Paul Ryan's record?
10:22 PM - Biden handles one of the trickiest questions I have seen sent to the candidates with class and skill. Ryan, not so much. Biden is making up for the prior debate without Obama even being in the room.
10:18 PM - "I accept my church's doctrine in my personal life, but I refuse to impose that on others." -Joe Biden. Well put Mr. Biden, well put.
10:16 PM -
10:15 PM - Let's talk about religion and abortion. Game on in the final 15 minutes.
10:10 PM -
9:59 PM -
So far, so good for Joe Biden. If this was a boxing match (which to the untrained eye, this very well may be) Biden scored a 10, while Ryan is at an 8.
9:57 PM - Mid-Paul Ryan sentence, "I'd like to talk about Afghanistan." Another point Raddatz
9:55 PM -
Well that doesn't reflect so well upon the Republicans
9:53 PM - I am excited to see where 20% tax cuts have been done before.
9:49 PM - "Close loopholes" -Paul Ryan. What loopholes? They have thrown out the word "loopholes" dozens of times; however, they have never mentioned what loopholes.
9:44 PM - "I gave you a simple answer, he's raising the cost of Medicare" -Joe Biden on Healthcare
9:39 PM - I like this, they answer the questions and actually debate each other.
9:38 PM - Biden just stared into the camera with eyes wide open and said "Any senior out there - you ask them do you have more benefits today? They do."
9:34 PM - This is way more entertaining than the first Presidential Debate. Another interesting fact from OFA_WI:
9:31 PM - "Mitt Romney is a good man. A good man" -Paul Ryan. Why are they repeating everything twice. Meanwhile, after smiley Biden hears about a man in a car accident, his demeanor changes. Instead of being filled with laughter, he switched into serious-mode and spit out a ton of facts in a collected and emotionally charged way. One point Biden.
9:25 PM -
9:22 PM - I agree with Bill Maher:
9:20 PM - Biden is losing control a little bit, Ryan makes a little joke, but Biden has looked passionate, as well as emotionally invested in his beliefs.
"You are a foreign policy expert, facts matter. Facts matter." -Biden
9:17 PM - From the New York Times:
9:12 PM - Raddatz is in full control of this, seamlessly shifting from topic to topic with no argument from the candidates. Raddatz > Lehrer
9:09 PM - "That's a load of malarkey" -Joe Biden. Biden is far more aggressive in his pursuit of Ryan than Obama was to Romney. So far so good.
9:07 PM - Ryan says "We are watching the unraveling with the Obama Foreign Policy." Joe Biden cannot control his laughter as a giant smile is plastered upon his face.
Here is Bill Maher's take on the first five minutes:
9:05 PM - My friend bet me $100 that he would mention Osama Bin Laden within the first segment, my wallet just got lighter. Biden is pulling out extremely specific and accurate facts while full-out on the offensive.
9:04 PM - Paul Ryan is taking notes, I don't know about what seeing as how he was writing before the question even started.
9:02 PM - And we are live. Quote of the night thus far, "We will be switching off between Foreign Policy and Domestic issues, because that's what Vice President's have to do"
8:47 PM - We are here live with you here, mere moments from the start of the debate. Be sure to stay here for both informative and witty updates throughout the night.