Posted at: 10/12/2012 6:15 AM
By: Dr. Timothy Kneeland -- Political Blogger
Vice Presidential debates are fairly inconsequential. Since they began in 1976 they have been seen by pundits, the media, and the people as an opportunity to check out how well the VP reflects the top of the ticket. Some may watch to assess if the VP has the ability to step into the President’s shoes should a tragedy occur – 8 VP have had to assume the Presidency due to the death, or in one case resignation, of the President. Still they rarely change anything and have historically only added a tiny bounce to any particular ticket.
The debate last night, October 11, 2012, may have been significant in changing the momentum that the Romney campaign has enjoyed since Mitt Romney outscored President Obama on October 3. The Democratic campaign needed a boost from their VP and last night they got it. The VP debate was owned by Vice President Joe Biden who worked hard to appeal to the Democratic base by taking an assertive, at times even aggressive -- Republicans would say rude—approach to contender Paul Ryan. Biden’s facial expressions will doubtless make their way into late night comedy, SNL, and be mentioned by the Daly Show but there is no question that Biden won the debate. Biden dominated the answers, dominated on time, and looked directly into the camera to address voters. Biden took every opportunity offered to showcase the administrative successes in the areas of entitlements, on women’s issues (under the guise of a faith question), and on the whole bolstered those Democrats watching. Biden was also the talk of the Republicans, who were distressed by his smiles, his condescension to Congressman Ryan, and his constant interruptions when Ryan was trying to speak (96 times by one count). Ryan who has been in the House for 14 years seemed like a neophyte compared to Biden who was first elected to the Senate when Ryan was 2 years old. As the two disagreed on facts, it was Biden’s confidence that won the day. Ryan played it safe and did not make any major gaffes. Ryan’s performance was fine, he did shine when talking about taxes but in the context of the overall debate the victor was Joe Biden who did exactly what he needed to do to boost morale and perhaps stop the momentum that the Romney campaign has enjoyed for a week.