DANVILLE, Ky. (CBSMiami) – Vice President Joe Biden finds himself in a new position ahead of Thursday night’s debate with Republican VP nominee Paul Ryan. Biden needs to win the debate to stop the Republican momentum that started with a Romney victory in the first presidential debate.
The VP showdown will see two skilled, veteran politicians with strong policy credentials and differing styles of how to connect with the audience.
Biden is the sitting vice-president with decades of public service and a folksy appeal, while Ryan is intense and has a good command of the federal budget from more than a decade in the House of Representatives.
The vice-presidential debate will go a long way to shape the narrative of the campaign heading into the second presidential debate next weeks. Biden’s boss, President Barack Obama, needs the vice-president to help regain the polling momentum Democrats had before the first presidential debate.
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Democratic Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear told Biden to give a tougher performance than Obama saying the president “didn’t do well” in the first debate and should have targeted Romney’s comments on the 47 percent of Americans he said he doesn’t care about.
“My guess is that he was advised to be presidential and don’t get into the fray and look like you are above the fray and all that,” Governor Beshear said. “But there is a difference in doing that and being aggressive and making your points and pointing out the difference between your two candidates.”
Vice-presidential debates typically don’t carry the same weight as the presidential debate in the minds of voters. This year’s debate, being held at Centre College in Kentucky, will be Biden’s second heavily watched debate while on the Obama ticket.
More than 70 million tuned in to the vice-presidential debate in 2008 between Biden and Sarah Palin. The debate in 2008 did little to alter the trajectory of the race.
Thursday’s debate comes with just 26 days left in the general election. Romney and the GOP captured momentum early last week, but the bump has subsided some in recent polling after a better than expected jobs report.
Thursday’s debate will be moderated by Martha Raddatz of ABC News and will cover both foreign and domestic policy. The debate will be divided into nine, 10-minute segments.
Both Biden will have to be aware of their vulnerabilities in the debate. Biden must be careful to rein in his freewheeling manner that has in the past has produced notable gaffes. Ryan has not been in a debate in more than 10 years and doesn’t have a lot of foreign policy experience.
Ryan will counter with budget experience as chairman of the House Budget Committee while Biden is a former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
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