Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan met
Thursday night in the one vice presidential debate of the campaign,
held at Centre College in Danville, KY. The debate assumed great
importance for Democrats following President Obama's lackluster
the first presidential debate in Denver.
The two candidates brought quite different experience to the debate
table. Biden, a veteran pol, first started in public office (New
Castle County Council) in 1970, the year that Ryan was born; he served
in the U.S. Senate for 36 years (Jan. 1973 to Jan. 2009) before
becoming vice president. Ryan, one of the Republicans' "Young
Guns," was first elected to Congress in 1998.
Democrats were counting on Biden, with his decades of experience in the
political arena, to stop the bounce the Romney-Ryan ticket
received following Obama's flat showing in
Denver. Biden was assertive and aggressively rebutted points made
by Ryan. He avoided major gaffes, but his frequent smiling and
laughing during times
that Ryan spoke was off-putting to some viewers.
Meanwhile Republicans were hoping that a strong performance by Rep.
would allow them to build on Mitt Romney's performance in Denver.
Ryan generally held his own throughout the debate, and he
delivered a strong closing statement.
Martha Raddatz, senior foreign affairs correspondent for ABC News,
moderated the 90-minute debate, which covered both foreign and domestic
The Nielsen Company reported that an estimated 51.4 million people
watched the debate, 18.5 million fewer than watched the Joe Biden-Sarah
Palin debate in 2008, but the most for a vice presidential debate since
George H. W. Bush-Geraldine Ferarro in 1984 (+).