12 October 2012 Last updated at 04:39

US running mates clash in debate

Key Points

  • Vice-presidential candidates Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Paul Ryan met in their only debate of the election campaign
  • During the 90-minute encounter, the rivals faced questions on a host of topics including both foreign and domestic policy
  • The debate in Danville, Kentucky, took place as polls show a tighter race, less than a month from election day. All times ET (GMT-4)
  1.  
    1957:

    Hello and welcome to BBC's live coverage of the one and only vice-presidential debate between Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Paul Ryan. We'll bring you all the action from the podium in Danville, Kentucky, insights from our correspondents, and some of your e-mails and tweets. The consensus is that Biden will come out swinging, but then again, the consensus last week was that Obama would probably smoke Romney. How wrong that was!

     
  2.  
    2016:

    Never knowingly under-hyped, tonight's debate is being widely billed as "high stakes". The 90-minute encounter begins in just under an hour and will be divided into nine 10-minute segments, each addressing a different policy issue. Biden and Ryan will be seated next to each other at the same table as the moderator, ABC News' Martha Raddatz. Cosy!

     
  3.  
    2019:

    You can join the discussion by tweeting @BBCNewsUS or use #VPDebate

     
  4.  
    2020:

    Biden is expected to be in full attack-dog mode as he tries to make up for Obama's lacklustre performance in last Wednesday's debate against an assertive and limber Romney. House budget chairman Ryan has reportedly been practising crisp, brief answers to avoid getting lost in the wonky weeds of the spending-plan baselines that so thrill him.

     
  5.  
    2021:

    Biden's motorcade is now en route to the debate venue, after the vice-president scoffed a hearty plate of spaghetti with his wife, Jill.

     
  6.  
    BBC News US

    tweets: The "Welcome to #Kentucky" gift bag given to the media here at the #VPDebate contained a surprising gift @BBCNewsUS pic.twitter.com/J2KYScSq

    A minature bottle of Jim Beam on a desk
     
  7.  
    2030:

    If political wisdom is true, vice-presidential picks don't win the White House, so tonight's debate probably won't shake up the race. Having said that, a strong showing by Biden could halt Romney's momentum. Plus, there's always the chance of an utterly titanic gaffe that could change the game.

     
  8.  
    2033:

    So, let's meet the running mates. In the blue corner, is Joe Biden. A political heavyweight, the 69-year-old has spent 36 years in the Senate, has oodles of foreign policy experience and also that elusive electoral elixir known as blue-collar voter appeal.

    Vice-President Joe Biden
     
  9.  
    2034:

    Biden also has a reputation for running off with the mouth. In the current election cycle alone, he told an African-American audience that Republicans would put them "back in chains"; his remark that the US middle class had been "buried" for the past four years was catnip to conservatives; Biden also said earlier this year he supported same-sex marriage, effectively forcing Obama to hurriedly say that he did, too.

     
  10.  
    2036:

    Over in the red corner, 42-year-old Paul Ryan is a self-styled deficit hawk. He is that rare hybrid, a policy wonk who has an easy manner with voters. Ryan's spent 14 years in Congress, representing the state of Wisconsin. This handy BBC profile has more info on both candidates.

    Paul Ryan
     
  11.  
    2038:

    Remarkable photos have surfaced in recent hours from a December 2011 Time photoshoot of gym fanatic Ryan working out with dumbbells. The images have already been mercilessly manipulated by online wags, and spawned spoof Twitter handles.

     
  12.  
    2038:

    We promise to try to keep the boxing metaphors to a minimum and not to say rope-a-dope unless we absolutely have to.

     
  13.  
    2039:

    Surveys taken since last week's debate must make sobering reading for Team Obama's political strategists, showing gains for Romney on a range of policy issues and in a handful of key states. According to a new poll, Romney has opened up a seven-point lead over Obama - 51% to 44% - in the key swing state of Florida.

     
  14.  
    2041:

    Armchair debating experts say that Biden needs to try to throw Ryan on the defensive over the Republican ticket's policies for tax and Medicare. Biden's also expected to bang away at his key campaign message: "Osama Bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive."

     
  15.  
    2042:

    Politico reports that the Republican ticket has asked, via the Commission on Presidential Debates, that their man be referred to as "Mr Ryan" throughout the debate and not Congressman Ryan, presumably because Congress is currently so unpopular with voters.

     
  16.  
    Mark Mardell BBC North America editor

    tweets: #VPdebate Last week's debate changed tonight's dynamic - Biden has to redeem the brand, Ryan must build on the momentum @BBCNewsUS

     
  17.  
    2045:

    Biden's use of the word "literally" tonight will be closely watched on Twitter. In his speech to the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina last month, he was lambasted for using the word "literally" nine times.

     
  18.  
    Mitt Romney

    tweets: .@PaulRyanVP wants this debate tonight - and I know he'll do us proud. #VPDebate #RomneyRyan2012

     
  19.  
    2047:

    Representative Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland, has played Ryan during practice sessions with Biden at a debate camp in Delaware, overseen by top Obama strategist David Axelrod. Ryan has reportedly been at a debate camp in Virginia, with ex-US solicitor general Ted Olson acting as Biden. Time to see if all that prep has paid off, boys...

     
  20.  
    Simon Wilson, BBC Washington Bureau Chief

    tweets: Who said this was the Twitter election? 'tweets per minute sign' at #vpdebate @bbcnewsus pic.twitter.com/iNQDqjxy

    Tweets per minute screens
     
  21.  
    2050:

    So, this is where it's all going to go down. Centre College, a small liberal arts institution in Danville, Kentucky. Crews were busy putting the final touches to the debate stage, which looks much more intimate than the arena in Denver last week.

    Crews get ready for the vice-presidential debate in Danville, Kentucky 11 October 2011
     
  22.  
    2051:

    Martha Raddatz of ABC News has taken to the stage and is warming up the crowd with an amusing anecdote about mobile phones going off at an inopportune moment.

     
  23.  
    2052:

    Biden has said in a campaign fundraising email that he's "ready for anything" tonight.

     
  24.  
    Mark Mardell BBC North America editor

    tweets with a picture of his view from the press room: "#VPdebate The set looks like a scary job interview. Which I suppose it is. @BBCNewsUS"

    Mark Mardell's view from press room
     
  25.  
    Barack Obama

    tweets: Will @PaulRyanVP stand by Romney and Ryan's extreme anti-choice agenda, or pretend it doesn't exist? #RyansChoice

     
  26.  
    Piers Morgan, CNN

    tweets: Why on earth should the only people in the world not allowed to tweet about the debate be the people sitting in the audience? Absurd!

     
  27.  
    2053:

    Ryan has said he likes Biden personally, but adds: "I just don't like his policies." Expect to hear more of "I like you but..." from both sides during tonight's verbal jousting.

     
  28.  
    Joe Biden

    tweets: Barack and I are in this because we'll never stop fighting for you. You'll see that tonight. -Joe

     
  29.  
    2058:

    After days of endless dissection of the latest opinion polls, it will relieve many observers that there is now some actual action to analyse. Let the political cagefight commence!

     
  30.  
    2100:

    As the stage awaits the two men, it's worth noting that it's bipartisanly coloured in red and blue.

     
  31.  
    2100:

    In 2008, Sarah Palin famously greeted Biden on stage with the words "Can I call you Joe?" You'd get great odds at the bookies for a repeat from Ryan.

     
  32.  
    2102:

    Both President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney have called their veeps to wish them luck ahead of the debate - Biden got his call from Obama as he flew in Air Force One, en route to Florida.

     
  33.  
    2103:

    Moderator Raddatz explains the format to the audience, saying that Biden will have the first answer.

     
  34.  
    2103:

    Out they come! The candidates sit down after a warm handshake. Ryan takes a quick sip of water. Perhaps he's nervous.

     
  35.  
    2103:

    First question is on Libya and the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens.

     
  36.  
    2105:

    Biden responds, and he goes straight in with a pledge that the perpetrators of the attack on the US consulate will be held responsible. Pivots to attack Romney for saying we should have left 30,000 troops in Iraq, and for being opposed to an exit date from Afghanistan.

     
  37.  
    2107:

    Ryan is accusing Obama administration of misleading voters by trying to link the Benghazi consulate assault to a protest over a US-made video ridiculing Islam instead of admitting it was a terrorist attack. "This is becoming more troubling by the day," says Ryan.

     
  38.  
    2109:

    Biden cracks a smile as Ryan defends Mitt Romney's response to the attack in Libya - which was widely criticised. Biden quips: "That's a bunch of malarkey."

     
  39.  
    2110:

    Romney's comments after the attack in Libya were panned by media around the world, says Biden.

     
  40.  
    Amy Walter, ABC News Political Director

    tweets: Ryan very strong out of the gate here. #debates

     
  41.  
    Mark Mardell BBC North America editor

    tweets: #VPdebate Both trying to rush all their foreign policy thoughts into their fast answer - rather than answer the question @BBCNewsUS

     
  42.  
    Katty Kay, BBC World News America

    tweets: Biden's defense of the WH's foreign policy is not as clear and punchy as Ryan's attack on it.

     
  43.  
    2114:

    "We cannot allow Iran to get a nuclear weapons capability... they are racing towards a nuclear weapons capability," says Ryan.

     
  44.  
    2114:

    Ryan's been asked about whether the US should apologise for Marines urinating on the corpses of dead Taliban fighters. Moderator is keeping things quick and short, cutting off Ryan to talk about Iran.

     
  45.  
    2116:

    "Are you going to war [with Iran]?" asks Biden. "We want to prevent war," says Ryan.

     
  46.  
    Sam Feist, CNN Washington Bureau Chief

    tweets: CNN's undecided voters didn't like Biden's answer on the Libya embassy. #CNNDebate #CNNUndecided

     
  47.  
    2116:

    Rictus smiles as the running mates greet each other on the debate stage:

    Paul Ryan and Joe Biden
     
  48.  
    Katty Kay, BBC World News America

    tweets: Biden smiling and shaking his head at Ryan's answers just looks like he's mocking him.

     
  49.  
    2119:

    Biden defends the president's policy on Iran - what more can he do, he asks.

     
  50.  
    Ron in Weston-super-Mare

    emails: "The last presidential election was lost by the potential vice-president for me; Palin entered as a ray of light but once the 'a heartbeat from the presidency' materialised amidst all the media gaffes Obama was destined for the White House. Paul Ryan's divisive politics could have a similarly negative effect."

     
  51.  
    2120:

    "It's a bunch of... stuff," says Biden, appearing to think better of using some ripe language as he dismisses talk that Obama does not have close ties with the Israeli PM. "He's Irish," quips Ryan, who also has Irish ancestry, of Biden.

     
  52.  
    2123:

    "What's worse - another war in the Middle East or a nuclear-armed Iran?" asks the moderator. Ryan is clear in his answer that the US cannot tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran.

     
  53.  
    2125:

    Kapow! Biden goes where Obama didn't, highlighting Romney's secretly recorded remarks at a fundraiser dismissing 47% of Americans as handout junkies with victim complexes.

     
  54.  
    2125:

    Twenty minutes in, and Biden has made his first reference to the fact that the Romney-Ryan ticket appears to have changed its position on a number of policy issues. Chances are that won't be the last time we hear that particular line of attack.

     
  55.  
    Jonny Dymond, BBC News

    tweets: #VPdebate joe Biden has so much more fp experience than Paul Ryan but the grins and the chuckling undercut his depth @BBCNewsUS

     
  56.  
    2126:

    Zing! They're coming thick and fast now, Biden mentions Romney's federal tax returns in the next breath. Ryan doesn't attempt to cut him off.

     
  57.  
    2126:

    Moderator Raddatz seems to be taking a more forceful position than Jim Lehrer in the first debate. She's intervening regularly.

     
  58.  
    2127:

    Ryan says the jobless rate in Scranton, Biden's hometown, is 10%, and it's a similar story across the US. This is not what a real recovery looks like, he says.

     
  59.  
    2128:

    "This is a man who gave 30% of his income to charity... Mitt Romney is a good man," Ryan pushes back.

     
  60.  
    2130:

    "Mitt Romney is a car guy," Ryan says. It draws a smirk from Joe Biden across the desk, who refers to Romney's 2008 op-ed in the New York Times which had the headline Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.

     
  61.  
    2132:

    On Romney's 47% remarks, Ryan said the words don't always come out of one's mouth the right way, as Biden should know, referring to Biden's reputation for gaffes. Cue laughter and applause. "Yeah, but I always say what I mean," Biden shoots back.

     
  62.  
    Karl Rove, Former Deputy Chief of Staff to George W. Bush

    tweets: Thought @BarackObama had a thin skin. Turns out @JoeBiden has one too. But Obama gets grim; Biden starts grinning and grimacing. #debate

     
  63.  
    2132:

    Biden feels the pain, recalling the dark days after his wife and one-year-old daughter died in a 1972 car crash that also critically injured his two sons. Biden rebuts criticism on the economy, says: "They talk about this great recession as if it came out of the sky." It really came from a trillion-dollar tax cut from "these guys", he adds.

     
  64.  
    2135:

    Ryan repeats a staple of his and Romney's stump speech, that Obama has plundered $716bn from Medicare to pay for his healthcare reforms. But Ryan incorporated the same $716bn savings into his House budget plan this spring, even though he has now renounced that, since Romney has pledged to "restore" the money to Medicare.

     
  65.  
    2135:

    On twitter #VPDebate and #malarkey are currently among the top trending topics in the United States, with "Bibi" and #bunchofstuff also featuring.

     
  66.  
    2136:

    Biden pushed Ryan on the defensive by forcing him to justify requests for stimulus funds to go to projects in his home state of Wisconsin.

     
  67.  
    Katty Kay, BBC World News America

    tweets: This is a good point about Ryan asking for stimulus money - who said it would create growth and jobs in Wisconsin.

     
  68.  
    2138:

    Ryan is talking fluently on Medicare and Social Security, although he's light on the specifics of the Romney-Ryan plan. Biden quickly compares Ryan to his 2008 opponent, Sarah Palin, with her remarks on "death panels".

     
  69.  
    2140:

    Ryan tries to get under the skin of an interrupting Biden by saying: "Mr Vice-President, I know you're under duress." Biden laughs scornfully.

     
  70.  
    2140:

    Biden defends the administration's policy on Medicare, addressing seniors directly through the camera: "Do you have more benefits than you had before?"

     
  71.  
    Joy Reid, Miami Herald

    tweets: Big difference in my twitter feed between tonight and last week: very happy Democrats. #vpdebate

     
  72.  
    2141:

    Biden is now attacking Ryan for previously supporting a budget that would have increased healthcare costs by $6,400 for senior citizens. He's quoting figures from the 2011 Ryan plan, which have been reworked in their 2012 incarnation.

     
  73.  
    Linda Spar

    tweets: @BBCMarkMardell @bbcnewsus um, which debate are you watching? Biden is head and shoulders better! A statesman vs a kid with a script.

     
  74.  
    2146:

    Mitt Romney is watching the debate from a hotel room in Asheville, North Carolina. There's pizza on the table, according to ABC News. At the start, he was asked by journalists for a prediction. He said: "I think Paul will do great."

     
  75.  
    2147:

    We are arguing that the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy should expire at the end of the year, says Biden, because we see no justification for it. He also goes after Romney's denial that his economic plan amounts to a $5 trillion tax cut skewed towards the wealthy, at the expense of the working families. Biden calls it "unconscionable".

     
  76.  
    Simon Wilson, BBC Washington Bureau Chief

    tweets: Conservatives on Twitter starting to get angry with Biden being allowed to interrupt constantly. Seems a clear tactic. #vpdebate @BBCNewsUS

     
  77.  
    Mark Mardell BBC North America editor

    tweets: #VPdebate So far, people will choose the winner according to their politics - both men are having a good debate @BBCNewsUS

     
  78.  
    Simon Wilson, BBC Washington Bureau Chief

    tweets: An undervalued debate skill: How to look at your opponent. Ryan goes for frozen smile, Biden for condescending smirk. #vpdebate @BBCNewsUS

     
  79.  
    Jonny Dymond, BBC News

    tweets: #VPdebate @BBCNewsUS bitter partisan divide on the Biden laugh/grin tactic across Twitter

     
  80.  
    2151:

    There are not enough rich people and small businesses to tax, to pay for all the government's spending, says Ryan.

     
  81.  
    2152:

    Tax policy is Ryan's home turf and he's whipping out the details in his response to Biden. When the moderator asks him directly for specifics on how the Republicans would pay for their tax cuts, Ryan says a bipartisan deal is called for.

     
  82.  
    Larry Sabato, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

    tweets: Best Ryan lines so far are on taxes. Public already believes Ds like to tax & spend.

     
  83.  
    2153:

    Joe Biden laughs as Paul Ryan makes a point:

    Biden (left) and Ryan
     
  84.  
    2154:

    "Let's look how sincere they are" on tax policy, says Biden, as he tells the moderator that it is "not mathematically possible" to account for the revenue lost by Republican tax cuts without cutting popular measures like the mortgage deduction.

     
  85.  
    Dan Froomkin, Senior Washington Correspondent, Huffington Post

    tweets: Ryan's argument is not just that tax cuts will increase growth, but apparently that they will more than pay for themselves. Never happens.

     
  86.  
    2156:

    Ryan is warning of devastating cuts to US military, referring to the threat of a "fiscal cliff" - a combination of expiring Bush-era tax cuts and a $1.2 trillion automatic spending cut to begin in 2013. Biden points out that Ryan voted for the bipartisan debt ceiling compromise in 2011 which created that budget guillotine.

     
  87.  
    2158:

    Politico have a rolling transcript of the debate word-for-word here.

     
  88.  

    Bill Maher tweets: Joe is not afraid to interrupt Ryan. Or himself.

     
  89.  
    Reince Priebus, Chairman, Republican National Committee

    tweets: .@PaulRyanVP looking vice-presidential. @JoeBiden looking slightly unhinged. #VPDebate #BidenUnhinged

     
  90.  
    2159:

    Here is a photo of Biden in the zone:

    Biden
     
  91.  
    Simon Wilson, BBC Washington Bureau Chief

    tweets: @TheAtlantic already has excellent gallery of #vpdebate reaction shots Liveblog: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2012/10/what-watch-vp-debate-gifs/57870/ … @BBCNewsUS

     
  92.  
    2200:

    On Afghanistan: Ryan says he does not want to lose the gains made there, or allow the Taliban a safe haven. He agrees with the Obama administration's 2014 exit framework. But he says he has been skeptical of talks with the Taliban and would have followed more advice from military commanders.

     
  93.  
    Jonny Dymond, BBC News

    tweets: #VPdebate @BBCNewsUS Biden constantly interrupting does stop Ryan getting into his stride. Ryan not complained once, cowed?

     
  94.  
    2203:

    Biden says it's the Afghan responsibility to take over security and a gradual drawdown has been agreed so the US will be out of there in 2014. It does not depend on anything. He's unequivocal: "We are leaving in 2014. Period."

     
  95.  
    Sam Youngman, Campaign Correspondent for Reuters

    tweets: People who like Biden will think this is the greatest debate ever. Folks who don't will find him at his most obnoxious.

     
  96.  
    Peter Baker, White House Correspondent, New York Times

    tweets: How do the clock guys count the time when both candidates are talking at the same time?

     
  97.  
    2207:

    Lots of to and fro on Afghanistan and fighting season there. "You'd rather send in Americans to do the job?" asks Biden. You're sending in too few, counters Ryan. "We're sending in Afghans to do the job!" Biden shoots back.

     
  98.  
    Jonny Dymond, BBC News

    tweets: #VPdebate @BBCNewsUS this is most grown up discussion - probably the only prime time discussion - about Afghanistan in years #forgottenwar

     
  99.  
    2211:

    Raddatz pivots the debate to Syria and asks why the US is treating it differently from Libya. Biden takes this one first. He accuses Romney of loose talk on Syria and sabre-rattling that could lead to another war in the Middle East, with American boots on the ground. Ryan promptly denies this.

     
  100.  
    2212:

    "'What would you do differently'? You notice my friend never answers the question," says Biden.

     
  101.  
    Mark Mardell BBC North America editor

    tweets: #VPdebate Lot of people clearly find Biden too aggressive but interesting the stronger he is the more Ryan backs off @BBCNewsUS

     
  102.  
    The BBC's Matt Danzico

    says Journalists at FactCheck.org seem to fall into a typing frenzy each time foreign policy issues come up between the candidates. "Oh here we go," one fact-checker mutters as Biden begins speaking. "Biden voted against the Iraq war?"

     
  103.  
    David Baldwin

    tweets: @BBCNewsUS Biden definitely hurting himself! In my opinion Ryan is doing a bit better...

     
  104.  
    Ryan Lizza, Washington Correspondent, The New Yorker

    tweets: If I remember correctly, after every VP debate there are a plethora of why-aren't-these-guys-at-the-top-of-the-ticket stories.

     
  105.  
    2214:

    If Assad hangs on, the US loses its credibility, says Ryan, who has been asked what he would do differently. The Republican says that no troops will be sent to Syria, that intervention should always be governed by US national security interests.

     
  106.  
    2215:

    With an eye on the clock - there's just over 15 minutes of debate time left - the moderator asks the veeps to talk about their faith. Both of the candidates on the stage are Catholic.

     
  107.  
    2215:

    My faith teaches me how to look after the vulnerable, says Ryan as he talks about why he is pro-life. He says he is pro-life not just because of his faith but also because of reason and science.

     
  108.  
    2220:

    Ryan says his pro-life views on abortion derive also from the experience of watching scans of his unborn daughter, who was so small she looked like a bean, and whom he and his wife have since nicknamed Bean.

     
  109.  
    2221:

    Biden says his faith has defined who he is. On abortion, Biden: I've been a practising Catholic my whole life and it's informed my social doctrine. With regard to abortion, I accept my church's position - that life begins at conception. But I refuse to impose it on others. "I do not believe we have a right to tell women they cannot control their bodies."

     
  110.  
    2222:

    Fear factor? Biden says the next presidential administration will probably make one or two appointments to the US Supreme Court, and the nomination of more conservative justices could put judgements such as the landmark Roe v Wade judgement, on which much abortion legislation rests, in jeopardy.

     
  111.  
    2222:

    Are you ever embarrassed by the negative tone of the election campaign? asks the moderator.

     
  112.  
    2223:

    "It's an abomination," says Biden, referencing the tactic of "scurrilous" ad hominem attacks during American election campaigns.

     
  113.  
    Patricia Zengerle, Reuters

    tweets: The thing about the Roman Catholic abortion question is Biden was very much prepared for it. But it is an issue that influences undecideds.

     
  114.  
    2225:

    Ryan says Obama ran on a platform of hope and change, but it has turned into attack, blame and defame. Accuses Obama of a string of broken promises, ticking off a laundry list.

     
  115.  
    2227:

    Biden says Ryan's budget plans would cut billions of dollars from education and drop 200,000 children from early education programmes, also says Republicans put two wars on the credit card.

     
  116.  
    Eric Fehrnstrom, Senior Adviser to Mitt Romney

    tweets: If it was Joe Biden's job to rescue the Obama campaign, he'd make a lousy lifeguard.

     
  117.  
    2229:

    Biden: My record stands for itself... my whole life has been dedicated to helping middle-class people, treating Main Street and Wall Street the same.

     
  118.  
    2229:

    Ryan: There are plenty of fine people to lead this country but what you need is someone to fix the problems the country has.

     
  119.  
    Josh Barro, Lead writer for Bloomberg View's The Ticker,

    tweets: Moderator: "Is the campaign too negative?" Candidates: [ignore question, repeat negative attacks.]

     
  120.  
    2231:

    In closing, Biden weaves in Romney's "47%" comments, which he brought up earlier in the evening. He says that, along with the president, he "will not rest" until average families have some "peace of mind".

     
  121.  
    Sam Feist, CNN Washington Bureau Chief

    tweets: Going into closing statements, Biden has had 40:08. Ryan has had 38:29. #CNNDebateClock #CNNDebate.

     
  122.  
    2231:

    We are offering real recovery, real reforms for a real recovery for every American, says Ryan of the Republican ticket, looking straight into the camera. "We will not blame others for the next four years... we will take responsiblity." He says Mitt Romney is "uniquely qualified" to create new jobs.

     
  123.  
    2234:

    That's it. The candidates are on their feet, briefly shaking hands before greeting their wives and families on the stage.

     
  124.  
    2234:

    Joe Biden and Paul Ryan's mother have an animated exchange in the centre of the stage. Shame we can't hear what they're saying.

     
  125.  
    Brianna Keilar, CNN White House Correspondent

    tweets: Who won? It's not obvious like it was last week but I will say this: I don't think Ryan helped or hurt Romney but Biden helped Obama.

     
  126.  
    2240:

    The candidates are barely off the stage, and the spin doctors are getting to work in the next room. Each man will have his most persuasive surrogates telling the media why their team won tonight.

     
  127.  
    Mark Mardell BBC North America editor

    tweets: #VPdebate A serious, feisty debate. Biden was stronger, more aggressive and to some more irritating. No real victor. @BBCNewsUS

     
  128.  
    2250:

    The BBC's Katty Kay says the debate was feisty, with a lot of interaction. But, if the Obama administration really needed Biden to change the narrative of the last week, perhaps Ryan won the debate. Republicans may come out of this debate feeling pretty happy.

     
  129.  
    Donald Trump

    tweets: Pretty even debate- no knockouts. However Ryan's closing statement somewhat stronger. What do you think? #VPDebate

     
  130.  
    2250:

    The likeability of a candidate is particularly important in American politics, says the BBC's Katty Kay, although it may matter less for vice-presidential candidates. Biden's facial expressions - smirking and scornful at times - might not have played so well for the incumbent candidate.

     
  131.  
    Matt Frei, Channel 4 Washington Correspondent

    tweets: Biden did what he was meant to do. Fill in the gaps left by the boss. Stop the bleeding. Ryan held his own. Bruised but not battered.

     
  132.  
    2251:

    CNN's John King plays down the significance of who won tonight's debate. Americans pick a president, not a vice-president, he says. "But both sides will be happy they did a job for their base."

     
  133.  
    2253:

    Speaking in the spin room, the president's deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, says that tonight's debate demonstrated the real difference between two visions - the Democrats building the economy from the middle out and the Republicans building it from the top down.

     
  134.  
    2255:

    Meanwhile, on the Republican wing, Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, chuckles when CNN's Jim Acosta asks if Biden won the debate. He defended Ryan's comments on Romney's tax policy, saying the Republican ticket had "specifics coming out of its ears".

     
  135.  
    Rupert Murdoch

    tweets: Whatever he missed, Ryan's made great closing remarks, against Biden who had to look down and read second rate stuff.

     
  136.  
    2257:

    Ryan's mother has a word with the vice-president:

    Joe Biden and Paul Ryan's mother
     
  137.  
    Bonney Kapp, CBS News

    tweets: Spin room sign count: 10 spinners in spin room for Biden, 23 for Ryan

     
  138.  
    Ezra Klein, Washington Post

    tweets: Obama looked like he didn't want to be debating Romney in the first place. Biden looked like he never wanted his debate with Ryan to end.

     
  139.  
    2304:

    CBS News is out with its instant poll of undecided viewers, which suggests 50% thought Biden won, 31% went for Ryan and 19% called the face-off a tie.

     
  140.  
    Twitter Government

    tweets: Update: Just over 4 million tweets on the night for the VP Debate. 3.5 million of them in the 92 minutes of debate time.

     
  141.  
    2314:

    Pundit Ben Smith, of online news outlet Buzzfeed, calls it for Biden too, saying "his laughs, smirks, chuckles, cackles and hand-gestures overwhelmed Ryan's more understated jabs". But Smith doesn't think Biden will have managed to make up all of the ground Obama lost last week.

     
  142.  
    2315: Google Politics & Elections

    posts on Google+: Tonight's Breakout Term: "Biden Laughing" has skyrocketed in +Google search interest since 9 PM ET.

     
  143.  
    2315:

    Josh Kraushaar, executive editor of The Hotline, speaking to the BBC after the debate, said he doesn't think Biden's body language reflects well on the White House, adding that his comments on Iran's nuclear capabilities might be seen by some as dismissive.

     
  144.  
    2318:

    Stepping off Air Force One, President Obama praised the vice-president's performance. "I thought he made a very strong case," Obama said. "I really think that his passion for making sure that the economy grows for the middle class came through. So I'm very proud of him."

     
  145.  
    2322:

    Looks like Biden's smirk is here to stay - some correspondents saying it worked against him tonight. Twitter has already spawned spoof accounts, such as @Bidensmirk and @LaughinJoe, which had 7,000 followers by the end of the debate.

     
  146.  
    2336:

    That's it for our coverage of the only vice-presidential debate of the 2012 presidential race. We'll stay on top of the post-match analysis in our full election coverage here. Join us again for the next head-to-head between President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on 16 October in Hempstead, New York. It's going to be a town-hall style domestic and foreign policy forum, and CNN's Candy Crowley will moderate. Thanks for joining us!

     

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