If the most powerful man in the country is the president, what does that make the vice-president? It could be argued that he is the second most powerful man. This makes sense when you take into account if the president dies we have already determined his back up. The job of a vice presidential candidate during a debate is to convince us why he would be fit to be president. Both candidates did one thing consistently and that was undermining the other.
Biden’s angle was obvious: come out strong. After an abnormally weak debate from President Obama, it fell to Biden to push the issue. He didn’t let his party down. Almost immediately Biden put Congressman Ryan on the defensive, something Obama failed to do. Biden took a page out of Governor Romney’s book and Ryan struggled to find his footing again. In the first 10 minutes of the debate Biden cut Ryan’s points down and posed facts. Biden withstood Ryan’s initial assault on the tragedy in Libya and flipped his point on his head. Ryan’s point was that the U.S. didn’t provide enough security for our delegates and kept the details in the dark. Biden immediately discredited this by pointing out Ryan’s cutting of foreign delegate security. It seemed that every point Ryan made was returned with an even stronger counter argument.
Ryan’s job in this debate was bringing an argument and he did. Though Biden made his points firmly and concisely, Ryan still brought his game. Ryan was sharp, showing off his knowledge for foreign policy. Though Biden called most of this “malarkey,” Ryan’s points can’t be ignored. Known mostly as an economic and budget expert, this was a welcome surprise for Ryan. As expected, Ryan came out strong justifying his and Romney’s plans for government spending. His points were much easier to understand compared to Biden’s. Ryan gave the public the simplest explanation and Biden’s was too complex for the American public.
There is not much we can take from this debate, essentially it was the presidential debate part two. Both vice presidential candidates appealed to the public but in their own ways. Biden gave us the wise grandfather approach, though he did it with a lot of brio. Ryan brought his likability to the forefront but by the end of the debate looked like a beginner. It could be argued that Biden was over the line and approached being rude but that depends on your party. Republicans immediately discredited Biden for his eye rolling and smiles, though democrats praised him for this. Biden did his running mate a huge favor and brought hard facts to their platform. Ryan appealed to party lines, which can never go wrong. The true winner of this debate was the moderator Martha Raddatz. As opposed to “poor” Jim Lehrer, Raddatz stimulated the debate and generated questions. With last week’s debate, the only thing we know now is that both vice presidential candidates are all smiles.