From the start Vice President Joe Biden attacked. Congressman Paul Ryan deflected those attacks and did a great job remaining calm, patient and answering questions. Biden smiled, shook his head and seemed agitated cutting in several times as Ryan spoke. But Biden was far more aggressive than President Obama was last week during his debate with former Governor Romney. Both Ryan and Biden did a good enough to make it difficult to declare a winner.
On foreign policy, Ryan’s comments offered a shoot from the hip policy, one that Romney has been accused of, clearly different from Obama’s steady, calm let’s build support in the international community approach. It is difficult for a candidate to answer foreign policy questions when your opponent is Biden, who has many years of foreign policy experience and is privy to security reports and briefings. But Ryan held his own, questioning why it took so long for the Administration to call the Benghazi embassy attack an act of terrorism. He went further, discussing Iran and their effort to build a nuclear weapon. While Biden offered information on the Administration’s handling of both, when discussing Iran it seemed there are things he is unable to address, thus left the viewer more engaged on Ryan’s simple answer.
On the economy, Ryan followed Romney’s lead, failing to offer an idea of how they will fix the economy, offering numbers not solutions. Biden highlighted the President’s accomplishments particularly saving auto industry jobs. He called Ryan out on Social Security and Medicare, asking Americans, what if we had privatized social security, put your money in the stock market, where would we be now?
Last night’s debate set up the much anticipated rematch between Obama and Romney. Biden did what the President didn’t last week, attacked! Now it is up to Obama to step up, clearly define his plan, look Presidential, attack but not too much.
One thing the two debates have shown are, that Obama/Biden spend too much time explaining the past, not enough time on the future. Romney/Ryan are doing a great job with the elevator pitch, hitting key words like Medicare, Social Security, the economy, creating jobs and tax cuts. They aren’t fully answering the questions, but they don’t have to if the moderator doesn’t hold them accountable. They are winning the debates by reaching undecided voters with simple answers and not worrying about the fact checkers.
Let’s hope Candy Crawley and Bob Schieffer who are moderating the next two debates, do a better job keeping the candidates to the debate format and make sure they fully answer the questions.