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 Article written by Mark Mardell Mark Mardell Presenter, The World This Weekend

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  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 64.

    #46, #49, regarding the rating of comments, one mustn't take it too seriously. First of all, the comment rating system is little more than a popularity contest. Second, it is susceptible to manipulation by a team of readers who register for the purpose of pumping or dumping comments for political purposes. There is no way to tell if the ratings have been manipulated this way, but it's possible.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 63.

    I think the best actor will be deemed to have "won".

  • Comment number 62.

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

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 61.

    55. DavidinUSA

    Re: Biden

    "...there is a fairly astute political brain and a street-fighting toughness. Ryan needs to be on his toes!"

    ***
    Biden is a seasoned politician. In the US that means he is a tough street fighter who negotiates hard. This is why a weak president has no chance. They walk right over him.

    Ryan is used to debating in the House, so he'll have had some practice.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 60.

    43 MagicKirin ‘Biden lost to Sarah Palin 4 years ago in a debate’

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Biden#2008_vice-presidential_candidacy

    ‘Polling from CNN, Fox and CBS found that while Palin exceeded many voters' expectations, Biden had won the debate overall.’

    Sorry for confusing you with the facts.

  • Comment number 59.

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

  • Comment number 58.

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

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 57.

    #26 pks: Good Luck casting your vote for "Mr Severely Conservative" & "King of Flip-Flip", who on debate night, was suddenly for all the issues he was against pre-debate. Most voters are smart & can see through Romney's charades. Only Romney knows which Romney will show up at any given time. How do you debate someone who should have been con an issue, but suddenly started debating pro that issue?

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 56.

    To salvage Obama's campaign, he will need to salvage Obama's record of total failure, or resort to mudslinging. Mission impossible?

    Mardell: "His speech to the Democratic convention was funny, emotional, loyal and above all an effective appeal to the white working and middle classes."

    Effective appeal?! Mr Mardell, those demographic segments, as per current polls, are completely lost for Obama

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 55.

    Biden is not the buffoon many take him for (and that he himself sometimes seeks to cultivate as an image).

    Behind the Norman Wisdom-esque grin and bleached teeth, beyond the gaffes (like his recent affected southern drawl when addressing an African American audience), there is a fairly astute political brain and a street-fighting toughness. Ryan needs to be on his toes!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 54.

    I will be watching.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 53.

    to win debate Ryan has to be himself
    to win debate Biden has to keep his foot out of his mouth
    my bet is on Ryan

  • Comment number 52.

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

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 51.

    I will much prefer to watch the Steelers debate the Titans this evening

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 50.

    Curt@34
    Not 'the American people'
    The corralled 'electorate'
    $-driven, fallen & future no voice

    No-one can save The People from themselves, as in all previous empires to be swept away by triumph, too easily satisfied by their own escape from Old Tyranny, by their own 'conquest' of the indigenous, by their 'parts' in successive global dramas, right or wrong 'my country' given up to Fear & Greed

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 49.

    46. “pro-Obama , pro-Dem comments were rated positive, while pro-Rep -- negative. Now the situation haschanged drastically to be the opposite of what it used to be.”

    No kidding. I thought I was looking at the wrong blog. We must have some plus and minus flip-floppers here, just voting what they think people want to see. ;-)

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 48.

    35. soldier takeover

    ANY's constant cynicism implies why there won't be female president in USA for quite a while, they would just moan and complain all the time

    ***
    Well, well. I didn't realize my cynicism was due to my gender. Thank you.

    Not everyone has to make excuses for Obama. Some get to point out that the emperor has no clothes. It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 47.

    Bengalman@44
    If that's really the best you've got -- and I suspect that it is -- then I'd say your a perfect example of the typical Republican: a poster boy for your caste.

    But when you get hopping like that -- steam coming out your ears! -- it really is amusing, and I appreciate the laugh.

    Keep up the good work!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 46.

    I have a couple of questions to veterans here:
    1. Is every election so emotionally charged?
    2. Until few weeks before there was a clear trend, that pro-Obama , pro-Dem comments were rated positive, while pro-Rep -- negative. Now the situation haschanged drastically to be the opposite of what it used to be. Why is that?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 45.

    While I'm still probably going to vote 3rd party, it will be interesting to see what Ryan has to say since I don't know much about him. Biden could be entertaining, if he stays true to form with his off-the-cuff comments. Sadly, it doesn't matter which of the men they're running with wins- things don't seem to change much regardless of the PIP.

 

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