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.

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  • rate this

    Comment number 144.

    Sorry, I've lost the thread. Must be time for my nap. Zzzz...

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    soldier takeover @138
    "small mindedness"
    Not really 'American'
    Just 21C predominant
    Defensiveness - of self & party - afflicts all
    Thinking 'might win economical with truth'
    Then sadly to becoming the next Quisling

    Random Alias @
    Never in a month of Sundays, except our last?
    Never the generations to rise above contexts?
    Despite history, novels, films, blogs?
    Not to 'analyse', but 'chin up'!

  • Comment number 142.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 141.

    Considering Obama's continued lead in most electoral polls even post debate there was hardly a need to " salvage" the campaign. Even after the one Romney debate "win" based on style over substance Obama was still the favorite in most polls,

  • rate this

    Comment number 140.

    Re 135

    Never heard of Ms Eager

    You announce that Obama should be working in McDonalds then whine about people disrespecting poor little Mittens…

    Among the Brits Mittens annoyed was the Prime Minister. Clever

    The UK is a far more important ally than Poland or Israel

    Personally I would be disinclined to criticise a former University Professor were I semi-literate…

  • rate this

    Comment number 139.


    reminds me of Don Henley's "A Month Of Sundays"

    My grandson, he comes home from college
    He says, "We get the government we deserve"
    My son-in-law just shakes his head and says,
    "That little punk, he never had to serve"

    Compulsory military service would cure a lot of America's ills.
    (recalling now Robert Heinlein's "Starship Troopers"
    ... the book, not the pop-junk movie)

  • Comment number 138.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 137.

    Absolutely right. Ryan is hanging on to antiquated thinking towards prolife. If China was so antiquated in thinking Prolife, China wouldnot have had even standing space for their population today. On one side these hypocrites say that the world population is increasing, and on the other they profess prolife. You cannot have it both ways.

    Be more forward-thinking. Come out of your Cocoon

  • rate this

    Comment number 136.

    Only Nixon could deliver 'peace with China'
    Only Obama might keep lid on Occupy

    Tea Party helps GOP pull Dems right-ward
    Pro-Choice keeps GOP from responsibility

    Obama might ride again, into the sunset,
    His steed, our lives, again will be 'a faller'

    Softening the blows, delaying the day?
    Conflict of Interest corrupting, whatever

    Should Obama chose to lose??
    Let Mitt bring Last Judgement???

  • rate this

    Comment number 135.

    ref #133

    You bias is obvious btw are you a Margery Eagan reader you you the disrspectful term to Romney more than she does.

    So poor Sebastina Coe got his feeling her and the buffoon Boris got mad.

    Big deal, the important part of the trip was repairng the U.S relations with Israel and Poland

  • rate this

    Comment number 134.

    There's many a true word spoken in jest....

    'Ryan Handed Romney's Latest Political Positions Before Walking On Stage',29878/

  • rate this

    Comment number 133.

    # 126 MK

    For all your irrelevance, spin and bias, the simple fact is that Mittens was supposed to be in the UK to demonstrate his diplomacy. Her demonstrated the opposite. He insulted his hosts for no reason. As someone once said, ‘he was born with a silver foot in his mouth’.

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

    Romney was presidential last week for talking over why is Biden rude, Obama and Biden are more believable and more honest and that's the difference

  • rate this

    Comment number 131.

    Obama will win ...Republican women..when they vote..without their hubbies looking over their shoulders..will for WOMEN..not for a Theocratic Patriarchy. Women have fought too long for some level of equal rights the USA.Biden is right This is not ROME! Note..Ryan has 3-4 kids..not 13...DOES HE USE BIRTH CONTROL???????HMMM?

    It would be helpful if the world community supported OBAMA...

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    Well the spin is started they had a dem consultant on CNN who defended Biden's interuptting as goodbecause the base will like it. Newsflash the bases are set.

    Than CNN said the debate was a tie even though Ryan in their own poll by 4%
    MSNBC reaction will amusing since NBC poll has Ryan the winner

  • Comment number 129.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    Painful as it is to admit, I came away feeling that Biden won this one; Romney won the first. It seemed like Ryan didn't punch back on some Biden jabs.

    That said, Biden WAS rude. 'Likely he'll gin up the Dem enthusiasm among "white male working class votes", but any gains will be offset by losses in women's support. I needed sunglasses to deflect the glare of those fake white teeth.

  • Comment number 127.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 126.

    ref #124
    Or on Planet Earth – the Olympics were a great success – he was trying to show he could handle international diplomacy and would get on better than Obama with traditional allies – _
    No they failed many empty seats so they had to pay people to come, not enough security so they had to pay overtime to supplement from London police, they did alousy job and everyone knows it

  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    80 MagicKirin

    ‘unlike Obama throwing Israel under the bus to appease islamists’

    Back to MK’s never ending obsession. Or one of them at least.

    Or in English, Obama refusing to hand control of US foreign policy to Likud

    If Obama were anti-Israel, strange how most US Jews still seem to vote for the Democrats…


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