Joe Biden has to salvage the Obama campaign

 
Joe Biden at the Democratic National Convention 6 September 2012 Can Joe Biden deliver a knock-out punch to Paul Ryan?

The vice-presidential debate is often thought of as a sideshow, perhaps like the moment of light entertainment in a circus when the clowns come on between the high wire acts.

But there is no place for custard pies tonight. This one matters.

The first presidential debate has shaken up the race. President Barack Obama puts his lame performance down to being "too polite".

His good manners, which looked closer to bored, nervous distain from where I was sitting, have demoralised Democrats and apparently narrowed the polls enough to put Mr Romney in the lead.

There are some more just out, from swing states, that show the same thing.

It is important not to overstate the importance of one moment, and of one week's polls. But right here, right now, it does seem as if the Denver debate could matter quite a lot.

So Joe Biden has to come out swinging to give Democrats some new sense of hope and purpose. Paul Ryan has to punch hard to build on Mr Romney's success.

The debate promises to be both fascinating and substantial.

Hero versus the clown?

Paul Ryan is the young conservative hero because he has come up with a plan to cut America's spending which even some opponents respect because it sort of adds up (although one early admirer has changed his mind).

It also means some pretty severe cuts and would change the way those who are now middle aged get healthcare and pensions. His aim has to be to come over as cool and reasonable and to provoke Mr Biden.

Win or lose, many see him as the future of his party, so he has a lot to prove, and a lot to lose.

By contrast, many within the Washington beltway see Joe Biden as a bit of a joke, undisciplined and loose-lipped.

Maybe. But his bluntness can be appealing to blue-collar voters even as it appals buttoned-up strategists. His speech to the Democratic convention was funny, emotional, loyal and above all an effective appeal to the white working and middle classes.

His aim will be to show that Republican figures either don't add up, benefit the very rich or mean cuts that would hurt America. He is under a lot of pressure to think on his feet and to deliver a series of killer one-liners while showing restraint and discipline.

It could be quite a show.

 
Mark Mardell, North America editor Article written by Mark Mardell Mark Mardell North America editor

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US Presidential Election 2012

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  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 44.

    34.Curt Carpenter

    There is NO SUCH THING as Reaganomics. Do you always make things up? Likewise there is no Santa Claus, no Easter Bunny, no Tooth Fairy and no intelligent thought from you.Your insistence on writing about things that do not exist as well as your tendancy to ascribe quotes to people they never said, make your opinions worthless and weak

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 43.

    ref #3
    You are making a couple of assumptions you think Biden will be polite, that he is a statesman and for sdome reason that Ryan is an idiot

    All untrue Biden lost to Sarah Palin 4 years ago in a debate. You betcha

  • Comment number 42.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 41.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 40.

    Phffft@36"Or may be the critical mass has been reached that no matter who wins,it will not make the slightest difference."

    Yes, I see that as a real possibility.

    And we can all be certain that the bill for the disaster WON'T be paid by the Romney's of the country -- any more than they've had to pay (in blood or treasure) for the disasters of the Bush administration.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 39.

    You can't play pass the parcel with saving a campaign

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 38.

    24:kurtinco:

    http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/10/14352371-nbcwsjmarist-poll-romney-gains-in-key-swing-states?lite

    Polls from NBC, WSJ, and Marist are hardly online polls. And the article says that 18% of the Ohioans polled said they had already voted, primarily for Obama.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 37.

    ref #34
    The Republican path is built on an "every man for himself" philosophical view and the old, failed myths of Reaganomics.
    (no republican view is less goverment living within your means)
    The Democrat's path is built on the belief that each of us must bear our share of the burden for past sins -- (The Dems believe in entitlements and bloated goverment)

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 36.

    The fact is that the American people will chose next month between two very different paths for their future.

    Or may be the critical mass has been reached that no matter who wins,it will not make the slightest difference.




    Just trying to cheer you all up.

  • Comment number 35.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 34.

    The fact is that the American people will chose next month between two very different paths for their future.

    The Republican path is built on an "every man for himself" philosophical view and the old, failed myths of Reaganomics.

    The Democrat's path is built on the belief that each of us must bear our share of the burden for past sins -- and that there are no magic supply-side solutions.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 33.

    The VP debate may be entertaining but will not change anything.
    Lyoyd Bentson could not save Dukakis.

    I note no one mentions Matha's Radtch's connection to the Obama family

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 32.

    27:SomeRandomUser:That's not Republicrats, it's Demoblicans with the accent on the 2nd syllable. But I suspect that if Romney wins he will be able to work with whoever is elected with him, as he did in Mass.. Whether the House and Senate will be willing to pass legislation passed by the other body remains to be seen.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 31.

    23:SomeRandomUser:Al Quaeda got us into our current wars by attacking us in NY and VA. If people are put to work building warships they will still be working (although I would agree there are better things to have people do for their income).

    25:AndreaNY:Obama has had real adversaries such as Ahmadinejad to deal with, and he doesn't seem to have been able to get through to them either.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 30.

    28. kurtinco

    I can't for the life of me understand why someone like Joe Biden, who speaks the truth off the cuff,

    ****
    It's not what Biden says. It's what democrats don't permit others to say. The question you have to ask is what would have happened if a republican said the things he's said.

    If you are going to have thought and speech police, everyone gets brought up on charges.

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 28.

    I can't for the life of me understand why someone like Joe Biden, who speaks the truth off the cuff, is called gaffe prone, but someone like Romney can speak forcibly from prepared comments that have no basis in fact, and he is called a winner. We used to admire honesty in the USA. Now, it doesn’t matter what one says as long as they say it with conviction and look good while saying it.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 27.

    And regardless of which of the Republicratic candidates win, I will be disappointed. Mostly because the other side will have enough control of Congress to keep us from real solutions to our nation's problems.

    It's either the failed policies of yesterday, or the failed policies of the day before. I'd rather not vote for failure at all.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 26.

    Obama showed why he is not fit to be president. He cannot stand up to his political opponents and speak up for what he has done and why. That's what frustrates the Dems, and encourages the GOP. This glaring weakness was obvious to everybody watching, and spells the end of his presidency, because no American wants a weak leader. It was embarrassing to watch, and summarized the last 4 years.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 25.

    How a vice president is supposed to salvage the image of a president is beyond me.

    Shouldn't we expect a US president to be able to defend himself on stage with another American standing next to him? Especially when he is talking about his own policies?

    It's hard to image what Obama would do if he had a real adversary challenging him. Be too polite?

 

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