The Vice-Presidential Candidates Debate
Joe Biden and Paul Ryan square off in Kentucky on the big issues
Last night, Vice President Joe Biden and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan met at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, for their one and only debate. The two discussed topics both foreign (relating to other countries) and domestic (having to do with the United States).
All eyes were on this debate, with many hoping it would be more exciting than the first presidential debate, held last week.
The two candidates did not disappoint. Biden and Ryan even spoke over each other at times as they argued about the economy, taxes, Medicare, international crises, and the size of the military.
A LIVELY DEBATE
The Vice President took a combative tone with his Republican challenger all night. This was especially true when the debate moved to topics of the economy.
“We knew we had to act for the middle class . . .” Biden said. “We went ahead and made sure that we cut taxes for the middle class.”
Ryan argued that the economy has been moving in the wrong direction under Obama. He quickly added that the Romney campaign has a five-point plan for economic growth, but he didn’t offer any specifics.
Despite the argumentative tone of the debate, Biden and Ryan found moments of agreement. For instance, both agreed on the planned 2014 withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. But even then, each candidate found ways to jab his opponent.
“[W]e agree with a 2014 transition,” Ryan said. “But what we also want to do is make sure that we’re not projecting weakness abroad, and that’s what’s happening here.”
WHO WON, WHO LOST, AND DOES IT MATTER?
Since the first vice presidential debate in 1976, these events have had a history of being insignificant to the overall election. Many people have found them to be less exciting than the presidential debates. But last night’s debate bucked that trend by being snippy and energetic.
“I think Biden came out a little bit on top,” said Ben Bright, a Romney supporter from Danville. “It definitely slowed down a little bit of the momentum the Romney campaign had going into it.”
Bill Miller, an Obama supporter from Louisville, agreed.
“I think it was great. I think Joe Biden won by a long shot,” Miller said.
The debate didn’t affect Miller’s vote, but he said the event might have an impact on independent voters.
The debate’s effect on this election won’t be known until the first post-debate poll results are reported. What is certain is that the vice-presidential face-off provided plenty of material for both Obama and Romney as they prepare for their second debate. They will share the stage again on Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.