Vice Presidential Debate: Veteran Pol vs. Young Gun
Biden and Ryan Each Have Strong Moments in Only Vice Presidential Debate

Thurs. Oct. 11, 2012 at Centre College in Danville, KY              
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White House Photo

Romney for President Photo
President Obama watches the debate on board Air Force One.
Mitt Romney watches the debate in his hotel room in Asheville, NC.

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 performance in 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. Paul Ryan 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 topics. 

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 (+).

GW College Democrats watch the debate.
GW College Republicans watch the debate.