On Thursday night, the much hyped vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan was held at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky — wherever that is. After a blasé performance by Barack Obama in last week's first presidential debate against Mitt Romney, the one-man blooper reel that is Biden amazingly found himself in position of having to reinvigorate the president's campaign. Strangely, Biden has not sat down for an on-camera interview in five months. Where have you gone, Joe Biden? Barack Obama turns his lonely eyes to you. Woo woo woo. Especially now that the three latest polls show Romney leading. I live-blogged it all while playing PolicyMic's official 2012 Vice Presidential Debate Drinking Game!
There's no other way to put it other than to say Biden crushed it. He crushed it even more than Romney did in his debate against Obama. For 90 minutes, Biden delivered a virtuoso debate performance that made you wonder how he could ever commit the kind of gaffes he does on the campaign trail.
Far from committing any gaffes Thursday, Biden showed far greater energy and enthusiasm than Ryan, who is 27 years his junior.
10:36pm: Well, that was just a complete devastation, even more so than Biden's schooling of Palin in 2008. Biden ran roughshod over the young congressman and GOP budget guru, whose demeanor throughout the debate was much like that of Obama’s last week. Ryan wasn’t so much calm and deliberate, but blasé. From the opening, it was clear that Biden was fired up, and even though he’s 27 years older than his Republican counterpart, Ryan was either unwilling or unable to match his energy.
10:32pm: Ryan says Obama had his chance and he brought more spending and higher taxes. Notes 15% of Americans living in poverty. Says this is not a real recovery. Claims Romney is "uniquely qualified" to handle the situation. Calls Romney a "job creator."
10:29pm: Closing statements. Biden first, says they inherited a God-awful mess. Biden says he's frustrated with his opponents' attitudes toward the American people, specifically Romney's 47% remark. Says he's talking about his mother and father.
10:25pm: Paul Ryan is currently reviewing Obama's broken promises. Says a debt crisis is coming. Says Obama hasn't put together a credible plan to deal with deficits.
10:23pm: Biden has been using his whisper voice for the last several minutes. Quite a contrast from earlier, where he was doing his best Al Pacino.
10:21pm: Raddatz asks Ryan if people who think abortion should be legal should be worried by a Romney presidency. Ryan totally demurs, and says something about unelected judges.
10:17pm: Ryan says Romney-Ryan administration would oppose abortion except in the cases of rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is at risk.
10:15pm: Raddatz notes the Catholicism of both candidates. Biden is pro-choice. Ryan is not.
10:09pm: Biden slammiong Romney and Ryan for saying the U.S. should do more. Biden asks, what more could be done other than put American troops on the ground.
10:04pm: The debate faces of Joe Biden:
10:00pm: Ryan with a measured response on Afghanistan. Biden dials it back. I suspect he's gearing up for a big crescendo.
9:58pm: Biden is now crushing Martha Raddatz!
9:57pm: Biden is beating Ryan more than he beat Sarah Palin in 2008.
9:55pm: How in the hell is the audience staying quite during this brouhaha.
9:51pm: Ryan is discussing his tax plan, and Biden is chomping at the bit to respond.
9:49pm: Paul Ryan is the Barack Obama of this debate.
9:45pm: Paul Ryan accuses Biden of making stuff up. Says that's what politicians do when they don't have a record to run on. What? Biden's been in the Senate of 40 years!
9:41pm: Biden says the administration would never sign onto a voucher program. Ryan denies his plan turns Medicare into such a program, but for all intents and purposes, it does.
9:38pm: Did I mention Joe Biden crushing this shit at the moment?
9:35pm: Ryan reiterates his support for a sliding scale subsidy system replacing Medicare.
9:34pm: Ryan's bread-and-butter: Medicare. Unfortunately for him, the majority of Americans oppose his plans for the program.
9:32pm: Biden knocks Ryan for asking for stimulus money that Ryan opposed. Says Ryan thinks the program is so terrible that Ryan requested money from it. Biden can't keep himself from snickering. That's about the only negative thing you can say for Biden right now.
9:30pm: Biden referencing his late wife and one year old daughter who died in a car accident in 1972.
9:29pm: Ryan with a not-so subtle jab at Biden's penchant for making gaffes.
9:26pm: Ryan slamming administration on the slow pace of the recovery. Notes Scranton, PA specifically, says the unemployment rate there is now higher than it was when Obama took office. Biden is originally from Scranton.
9:25pm: Biden is housing this debate, like he couldn't wait to have at it in the Thrill in the 'Ville.
9:22pm: Biden says war with Iran should be the absolute last resrot. Says sanctions on Iran are working, and so does Bibi Netanyahu.
9:19pm: Biden is smoking Ryan on foreign policy.
9:18pm: Paul Ryan publicly disagrees with Benjamin Netanyahu! Says that Iran is probably further away from making a nuclear weapon than Netanyahu says.
9:16pm: Biden says there is no difference between the approaches of the U.S. and Israel on Iran's nuclear program.
9:15pm: Ryan says that Obama has been too soft on Iran's nuclear program. Says Obama's threat of military action is not credible.
9:12pm: Candidates are arguing over whether the murdered U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens should've had a Marine detachment.
9:09pm: Biden uses the word "malarkey" in responding to Ryan's criticism of Obama's foreign policy. That's not in the drinking game, but drink for five seconds anyway.
9:07pm: Ryan says attack on U.S. consulate in Benghazi is indicative of a larger problem with the Obama administration's foreign polic failures.
9:06pm: Ryan is speaking in this weird, halting sort of tone, giving his remarks a fragmented and disjointed feel.
9:05pm: In a very measured toned, Biden is explaining what went wrong in Libya, and nicely pivoted to hit Romney on his foreign policy vision.
9:02pm: Martha Raddatz starts with.... Libya?
9:00pm: Here we go.
8:50pm: It was just announced on ABC that tweeting from the debate hall tonight will be banned. Oh the humanity!
8:44pm: I've preempted the start of the our Vice Presidential Debate Drinking Game by starting to drink before the start of the debate. This will make things more interesting.
8:39pm: Little known fact: Joe Biden prepares for debates by double-fisting soft serve:
8:33pm: Somebody call Ron Paul: BuzzFeed has some straight gold:
See all 18 here.
8:30pm: T-minus 30 minutes to lofty rhetoric and virtually zero substantive discussion. Welcome to American political campaigning!
8:27pm: Apparently, if PolicyMic hits 400K tonight, all of us editors are doing a Gangnam Style dance video in Times Square. Not sure how I feel about that.
8:20pm: There seems to be a genuine belief that Biden is good for at least a gaffe or two in tonight's debate, but I just don't see it. Most of his gaffes have occurred in front of friendly audiences, when he's likely to feel at ease. Tonight's prime time spectacle is no such affair. Expect Biden to have a solid debate, including a couple of zingers. If Biden has the zeal he had at the Democratic National Convention, he will crush Ryan.
8:16pm: Joe Biden's infamous Hennessy ad:
From The Onion
8:04pm: Courtesy of the Washington Post, the chart on Ryan's budget proposal that Biden should memorize:
7:53pm: Paul Ryan making a futile appeal to Ron Paul supporters:
7:49pm: If Paul Ryan loses tonight's debate:
7:45pm: Dick Cheney in the 2000 vice presidential debate against Joe Lieberman at Centre College speaking about same-sex unions:
It looks like the GOP's national ticket has taken a couple of steps back in the last 12 years.
7:13pm: Biden arrived earlier today in Lexington, Kentucky:
6:39pm: Politico gives an overview of tonight's debate format:
"The vice presidential debate format will differ somewhat from the first presidential contest in Denver. Instead of six 15-minute segments (or 'pods,' as Lehrer referred to them), there will be nine 10-minute segments. Each candidate will have two minutes to answer a question, and the remaining time to debate with one another. Roughly half the segments will focus on domestic policy, the rest on foreign policy."
6:34pm: Be sure to check out the seven biggest Joe Biden gaffes caught on video.
6:30pm: Did we ever get an explanation as to what this was about?
Quick: Who was the last sitting president to have facial hair?
Answer: William Howard Taft — the Walrus of American presidents.
6:24pm: Thirsty? Why Wait for the debate to start so you can play the Vice Presidential Debate Drinking Game? Grab a beer now!
6:11pm: Separated at birth? Paul Ryan Eddie Munster — character from the 1960s sitcom, The Munsters:
5:52pm: From Joe Biden's greatest hits. He tells a wheelchair-bound state senator to stand up:
3:41pm: Ryan telling Biden to check himself before he wrecks himself:
3:36pm: Paul Ryan recently posed for....Time magazine? Do people actually pose for Time? When did this become a thing?
Nice bicep, junior. Now turn the hat around so you don't look like you're 12.
Many seem to think that Biden is likely to commit a gaffe tonight, but that is highly improbable. For all his verbal blunders, which typically occur in front of friendly audiences, Biden is a skilled debater who knows the ins and outs of a substantive policy discussion. Ryan is no dummy either, but if there can be such a thing as a favorite in this debate, it's undoubtedly Biden.
Of course, with tonight's debate it's important to keep a little perspective. Although it may prove to be entertaining, no one is going to remember what happened in this debate in November. Unless someone pulls a Stockdale.
PolicyMic will be live-streaming and live-blogging the debate between the seasoned Washington Democrat, and the fresh-faced, self-appointed Republican budget expert, whose famed "Path to Prosperity" budget represents a long-sought Randian wet dream. Moderated by ABC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Martha Raddatz, the topics will run the gamut from domestic to foreign policy. As boring as that sounds, conservatives sexed things up a bit by crying liberal media bias because Obama attended Raddatz's wedding in 1991; and later as president, he appointed her now-ex- husband to chair the Federal Communications Commission.
All that business aside, I have no doubt that this debate will have as much impact on the election as an intra-squad Spring Training game has on the World Series. Nevertheless, the people demand total coverage! And they will get it. Tune in tonight for a live-stream and live coverage of this not-so-momentous moment in American political history!