Joe Biden vs. Paul Ryan: Analysis of the vice presidential debate

Dr. Louis Perron
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After his strong appearance in the first presidential debate, Mitt Romney sailed on his momentum throughout the week. According to the last polls, he managed to gain the lead in a few of the national as well as some state-wide polls in swing states. With the vice presidential debate as the next big event on this year’s election-calendar, it was up to Vice President Joe Biden to make up for lost ground and halt Romney’s momentum. For Ryan on the other hand, yesterday’s debate marked the biggest event of his political career and a unique opportunity to introduce himself on the national stage. Much was at stake for both combatants and they were sure to fight fiercely. And so they did from the beginning, talking over each other and interrupting while the other was speaking.

While the vice-presidential debates win quite some attention, they have less of an impact on the election than the presidential debates do. Strategically speaking, the debate is not really about Biden and Ryan, but about Obama and Romney. The job is to defend the number one and to attack the number one of the other ticket.
Most voters have made up their minds and only a few percentage of the electorate remains undecided. In such a situation, the main goal is to excite the base. After observing both Ryan as well as Biden, I think that both have done that quite effectively. The Republicans are glad that Ryan took an unapologetic stand on classical GOP issues such as tax cuts or abortion. Democrats on the other hand were happy to see Biden accusing Ryan for the Republican plan of privatizing health care or attacking him on the 47%-Comment made by Romney.

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