Election 2012: What to expect when Biden, Ryan face off in VP debate

Joe Biden and Paul Ryan will have their first vice presidential debate on Thursday.

Joe Biden and Paul Ryan will have their first vice presidential debate on Thursday.

Who will win Thursday's vice presidential debate?

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Editor's note: Watch live video and participate in a live chat about the vice presidential debate at 9 p.m. at naplesnews.com/livevideo.


DANVILLE, Ky. — Vice President Joe Biden and GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan will face off tonight in a nationally televised debate from Danville, Ky. Here's what you can expect.

Q: What is at stake?

A: For Biden, the challenge will be to get the Democratic ticket back on solid footing after President Barack Obama's less-than-stellar performance at the presidential debate last week in Denver. For Ryan, the objective will be to keep up the enthusiasm and energy that seems to be following Mitt Romney after he performed much better than expected in Denver.

"Will Biden be able to arrest some of the momentum that Romney picked up (in Denver) or will the Romney campaign redouble that and send the Obama campaign kind of limping into the second presidential debate?" asked Russell Muirhead, associate professor of democracy and politics at Dartmouth College.

"In the big, abstract picture, what's at stake is momentum."

Q: What must Biden accomplish?

A: Biden's mission will be to get the Democrats back on message, so look for him to go on the attack. He will likely make the case that Romney's tax plan benefits the wealthy and hurts the middle class. He will probably defend the administration's health-care reforms. And he will likely go where Obama did not go in Denver and attack Romney over his claims that 47 percent of Americans don't pay taxes.

"I think you'll see the vice president take the gloves off, and I think it's going to be pretty hard hitting," said Sean Sutton, an expert on presidential races and chairman of the political science department at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York.

"He's really going to go after Mr. Ryan, and he's going to try to make the case that they've been making all summer — that Mr. Ryan and Gov. Romney are not up to the task."

Q: What must Ryan accomplish?

A: Though Ryan has served in Congress for 14 years, he is still largely unknown to most voters outside of his home state of Wisconsin. Ryan must introduce himself to a national audience and show that he is ready to step into the presidency in the event that something should happen to Romney.

"The most important job for him is to make an emotional connection to voters — and by emotional connection, I mean present himself as a likable and trustworthy person," Muirhead said.

Q: What must Biden avoid?

A: Biden can be long winded and speak off the cuff, often trampling Obama's message in the process.

"Biden is at his best when he's crisp and disciplined," Muirhead said. "He's such a generous speaker that he sometimes relaxes that discipline and tries people's patience. He needs to avoid speaking in an undisciplined way."

In other words, "he has to avoid becoming a joke," said Wayne Fields, an English professor at Washington University in St. Louis and the author of a book on presidential rhetoric.

Q: What must Ryan avoid?

A: During his tenure in the House, Ryan often has been at the center of some of the most bitter, partisan debates over fiscal policy. In debating Biden, Ryan must moderate those positions for a national audience without losing the conservative backing that helped him land a spot on the presidential ticket in the first place, Fields said.

"He has to demonstrate maturity, that he's ready to learn, not just ready to pronounce," Fields said. "He has to avoid looking reckless."

Contact Washington reporter Michael Collins of Scripps Howard News Service at collinsm@shns.com

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Comments » 19

20_Days writes:


Dump Obama, Clinton, Rice!

They lied to cover up their ineptness, they lied to fool America, they lied so the "Great" one could be re-elected.


RayPray writes:

Latest IQ scores for Kinnock Biden -- one heartbeat away from the oval office! -- come come in over 200 points!

Time for our Great OBAMA to give this national treasure a raise!

August8 writes:

Biden to get his fanny handed to him just like Obama the cover-up artist.

20_Days writes:


LIES and more LIES and you blog about poetic....Liberal Pathetic!

20_Days writes:

My goodness Klaus you might have hit it on the head!

The 69 year old elder statesman may require additional oxygen to beat Ryan, just like "polite" Obama needed for his horrendous loss when he debated Romney.

panola60 writes:

Obama's Lies Unravel in Congressional Hearing on Libya 9/11 Attack

This was never about a video and now we have proof that Obama Administration knew it was a terrorist attack within hours, even while lying to the nation over and over about the video for weeks.

Stop the Obama lies and cover-up!

panola60 writes:

Obamacare Summed Up in One Sentence


FECOYLE writes:

I would really like to see the fact that Ryan has only been in Congress for 14 years brought up. Lets look at the lack of qualifications of the present White House occupant if you really want to see someone inexperienced

EastCoastFloridaPerson writes:

in response to GorchFock:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hopefully Biden will put his foot in his mouth,like every time he opens it!!!!!


RayNetherwood writes:

Let's hope for another floor mopping tonight ... Odumdum obviously can't do diddly without a teleprompter.


Joe Joe is a stooge and tool, his gaffs aren't gaffs they're the real Biden. But, like his boss, he's a big fat liar and incompetent.


RayNetherwood writes:

Actually, Odumdum is a valid African-American, unlike Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson.

Watching Joe Joe laugh and look like an idiot.

20_Days writes:

Four Good Men Died and Obama, Clinton, Rice and now Biden Lied.

Biden was rude, with the smirks, smiles, laughs and constant interrupting of Ryan.

One heck of a way to teach our kids how to act in public.

Sure the administration knew nothing then why did the blame the video for almost two weeks after the attack on Behgahzi.

WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot writes:

Class warfare will be old hat soon! Generational warfare is coming!

Everyone under 55 better take notice! The Obama plan is unsustainable. The R&R plan will change everything for us. We will be required to support the current plan in place for everyone over 55 that may live to be 85. But we will have to wait longer and be prepared to collect less when we reach retirement! Less of the money we paid in to the system that is supporting the boom generation.

The system is broken. Common sense is gone. Let us under 55 opt out and plan for our own futures. The government will just turn our futures into the USPS. Broke!

It is time to seriously do away with medicare and medicaid along with Rx coverage. Free market price discovery will fix this all.

Let me guess? Republicans, supposed free market supporters, don't like that idea? I wonder why not?

20_Days writes:

Biden lied about his opposition to the war in Iraq. In fact, he voted 2 times supporting it. He also lied about the administration not knowing earlier about Benghazi or that the Ambassador requested additional security on several occassions.


Biden was rude, disrespectful, obnoxious and is not an example of how I would show children the way to properly debate or act. This man was high on something and could never be expected to negotiate or even politely discuss differences with a fellow drunk never mind another country's political leaders.

His interruptions and outbursts were disgraceful to say the least and that is what people will be talking about and not the content of what was said.


RayNetherwood writes:

Eins, zwei, drei, vier ....

Klauschen drones on and on with his fantasy ...


He is a sick, sad puppy, just like his Retter: GRATING POMPOUS BROKE ODUMDUM

Marching and chanting, marching and chanting, go Klauschen go!


Maybe you can help your Savior start packing his bags in Nov.


20_Days writes:

Marco Biker,

I am sure Klaus would love to help ODUMDUM pack his bags, how else could he subsidize his own miserable living conditions on Marco without the help of White House silverware?

20_Days writes:

in response to GorchFock:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)


The Inauguration is on January 21, 2013 by January 22 Romney will have already been sworn in as our next President and Obama will be only be humming to himself in the mirror and blaming his loss on Bush.

RayNetherwood writes:

Odumdum's first oath of office proved to be a big lie, more like he did everything in his power to do exactly the opposite.

We tried "hope" ... but hope without competency is meaningless. The citizens of this country placed its reins in the hands of a nothing and nobody. Affirmative Action doesn't work. Period. "First Couple" is Exhibit A. We tried hitching a toy poodle to a dog sled, when a husky was needed. Guess what happened. Disaster.

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