VP Joe Biden Paul Ryan Vice Presidential Debate - Heated Vice President Debate 2012

Joe Biden Paul Ryan Vice Presidential Debate - Question on Libya COMMENT BELOW : Who do you want to Win? OBAMA or Romney? With polls showing a spike in support for Mitt Romney over the last week, the stakes are high for Vice President Joe Biden in Thursday... [+]
Joe Biden Paul Ryan Vice Presidential Debate - Question on Libya COMMENT BELOW : Who do you want to Win? OBAMA or Romney? With polls showing a spike in support for Mitt Romney over the last week, the stakes are high for Vice President Joe Biden in Thursday night's debate against Rep. Paul D. Ryan. Biden faces pressure to undo damage inflicted on the Democratic ticket by President Obama with his flat performance in the debate with Romney, his Republican challenger, last week in Denver; Obama later called it a "bad night." For Ryan, the 90-minute debate with Biden at Centre College in Danville, Ky., offered a chance to build on the momentum that Romney has gained. After weeks of preparation, the rival running mates were braced for a combative encounter split between domestic and foreign affairs. Rather than a formal setting of twin lecterns, the two were to be seated at a table with moderator Martha Raddatz, a veteran ABC News foreign correspondent. Both candidates face pitfalls. An imperative for Biden was to avert the sort of gaffes that have knocked Obama's campaign off stride several times — most recently, his comment that the middle class had been "buried" for the last four years. Many Democrats were hoping that Biden would be more forceful than Obama was last week in making the case for reelection and in attacking Romney. For Ryan, a 42-year-old congressman from Wisconsin, Thursday's debate provided a forum to demonstrate that he could step in as president, if needed. But a key goal was to avoid statements like the ones in his Republican convention speech that drew poor marks from nonpartisan fact checkers and gave Democrats fodder against the Republican ticket on the auto industry bailout and other topics. Also challenging for Ryan: How to navigate between the conservative agenda that he has championed in Congress and the more moderate tone that Romney has tried to strike in his appeals to swing voters in the campaign's closing phase. Normally, running-mate debates have minimal impact, despite legendary moments such as Lloyd Bentsen's cutting "you're no Jack Kennedy" insult of Dan Quayle in 1988 and Bob Dole's remark to Walter Mondale in 1976 about troops killed in "Democrat wars." More than three decades of polling show vice presidential debates to be largely irrelevant to election results, Gallup reported this week. "Should either Biden or Ryan achieve as unambiguous a win in Kentucky as Romney did in Denver, the vice presidential debate this year could ... be an exception," Gallup analyst Andrew Dugan wrote in an essay on historical polling patterns. For top-of-the-ticket debates, the Obama-Romney matchup in Denver was a rare case of one that changed a campaign's trajectory, at least for now. Polls taken in the aftermath show the two running neck and neck in national polls and Romney gaining in some of the battleground states that will probably decide the election. Biden was widely expected to be more aggressive than he was four years ago in his debate against Sarah Palin, then governor of Alaska. Obama campaign manager Jim Messina suggested Thursday that Ryan could follow Romney's lead in saying "anything to win." "The question now is whether Congressman Ryan will adopt the same dishonest strategy or if he'll stand by the very extreme positions he's taken as the intellectual leader of the Republican Party — positions like vouchers on Medicare, his extreme budget that cuts the deficit on the back of the middle class and the poor, whether he wants to redefine rape as he proposed in Congress," Messina said in a conference call with reporters. The Romney campaign shied from direct attacks on Biden on Thursday. But the Republican National Committee circulated news clippings suggesting how Ryan could turn the vice president's long congressional career against him. One was an October 2001 article quoting Biden suggesting a goodwill gesture toward the Arab world. "Seems to me this would be a good time to send, no strings attached, a check for $200 million to Iran," Biden was quoted telling staff at a meeting. Another article drew on Biden's 1984 proposal to suspend cost-of-living increases in Social Security benefits for a year. Biden, 69, served as a U.S. senator from Delaware for 36 years, with stints as chairman of the Judiciary and Foreign Relations committees. Ryan, a seven-term House member, faces his own challenges with a staunchly conservative congressional record. As chairman of the House Budget Committee, he has been the Republican Party's leading voice on fiscal matters and the author of austere budget proposals that have been targets for Democrats in campaigns across the nation.
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