The one and only debate between Vice President Joseph Biden and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan takes place Thursday at Centre College in Kentucky. Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz will moderate.
I’ll be previewing and live-blogging the VP debate here.
Could Biden be rusty? The vice president hasn’t debated since 2008, but he also has not given a national TV interview since May. He’s stayed off the air since the “Meet the Press” sit-down that forced the president’s hand on gay marriage and cost the White House a week. The last national print interview he gave was to New York’s John Heilemann for a cover story. In the period he’s avoided national press, he’s made a number of unforced errors on the stump.
Inside Ryan’s prep: From the first mock debates in a Washington, D.C., hotel to the run-throughs at Wintergreen, Ryan and [Ted] Olson have been seated at a conference-room table, just as they will be in Danville, Ky., under the bright lights…Olson has mastered Biden’s mannerisms, down to his long-windedness and hand gestures.”
Steve Kornacki thinks that, when he takes the podium to debate Paul Ryan on Thursday, Biden could help to halt Romney’s post-debate momentum:
Biden is a far more skilled debater than Obama, and he finds himself matched against a particularly ripe target – the author of a far-right budget blueprint that’s become gospel within the Republican Party and that Democratic candidates across the country are eagerly running against. In other words, he has a chance to deliver the performance that Democrats were expecting from Obama.
Doug Mataconis argues that the pressure to perform falls disproportionately on Ryan:
The bigger problem, though, is the fact that so many people on the right have been building up Ryan to the point where, arguably, even if his does his best his may end up disappointing people. From the moment that Mitt Romney named him as his running mate, conservatives have been looking forward to this debate with open glee. Ryan, they assume, will be able easily ride over a Vice-President that they see as mostly idiotic.
Sophie Quinton notes Biden’s strong showing against Sarah Palin in 2008:
Heading into the 2008 vice presidential debate, the assumption was that Biden would need to rein in his smarts and be patient with Palin…. Biden may have a tendency to misspeak when fired up by crowds, but he doesn’t tend to put his foot in his mouth during debates. And while a Biden gaffe during the debate might fire up Twitter, an inability on Ryan’s part to clarify the Romney ticket’s policies would ultimately be more damaging.
Tampa Bay Times‘ Adam Smith’s 5 things to watch here.
Why a handful of Ryan allies are worried: “One longtime Ryan friend tells [National Review] that Ryan’s biggest challenge will be appearing to ‘meet the threshold’ for executive office. The friend says Ryan may be president one day, but, for now, in his early forties, he has to make sure he doesn’t come across as too numbers-oriented and distant. Two Ryan advisers tell me that Ryan is aware of this, and he has talked about it with his top aides. To combat that impression, Ryan will probably stick to two or three themes on Thursday instead of bombarding Biden with data.”