This round goes to the Democrats. Joe Biden more than held his own in this debate and for the moment righted the Obama campaign ship. Biden came out strong and stayed on the attack for an hour before he visibly began to wind down. Biden took every opportunity to force Ryan to defend any past statements, interviews, positions, votes that contradicted any of the talking points he tried to make during the debate. When Ryan tried to critique the 2009 stimulus package, Biden reminded the audience that Ryan requested stimulus funds citing the benefits of government stimulus packages in growing jobs in his district.
“I have your letters hanging in my office,” said Biden. He also gave a parting shot when he said, “You can send me letters anytime.” When Ryan tried to defend his tax plan, Biden pounced by pointing out that the very conservative American Enterprise Institute think tank was one of many organizations that rejected the plan. Biden injected Mitt Romney's 47% comments back into the news cycle and hung them around Ryan’s neck. There was a moment during the discussion on tax cuts, where Ryan tried to channel John F. Kennedy. Reminiscent of the 1988 vice presidential in which Democratic VP nominee Lloyd Bentsen chided Dan Quayle, Biden said “Oh now you’re Jack Kennedy?”
Throughout the debate Biden interrupted Ryan anytime he felt Ryan was evading the truth, misrepresenting the facts or just plain lying. He called Romney a flip-flopper, once he stopped short of calling Ryan a liar and quickly changed the word to “not candid.” He told moderator Martha Raddatz, “Facts matter Martha, facts matter.” Biden took every opportunity to talk directly to the audience, frequently looking directly into the camera. He consistently framed issues by referring to his and the president’s access to information that Ryan could not have thus neutralizing any notion that Ryan had command of all the facts. Biden was the attack dog that the Democrats needed him to be in order to get back in this race and neutralize Ryan as an asset in this campaign. Mission accomplished, as Ryan won’t be a factor for the rest of this campaign.
For a full recap of the debate, visit my live blog here.