Biden was expected to come out swinging hard after President Barack Obama appeared listless in his first debate with Mitt Romney. Biden did just that. Ryan is trying to establish himself as a strong voice for conservatives, and he banged away at the Obama record trying to highlight what right-wingers consider to be faults in administration policy
I had never heard either man give a speech or participate in a debate, although both had plenty of experience. Biden has been an elected official for most of his life. Ryan has served in Congress for 14 years. Both men have run for election many times, presenting their views and arguing with opponents. Despite their similar backgrounds as professional politicians, they came across as two different people last night.
Biden reminded me of a neighbor citing his experiences as he passionately argued an important issue across your kitchen table over coffee or a beer. Ryan looked like a newly minted MBA giving a lecture about theories he learned from a maverick professor.
When Biden or moderator Martha Raddatz asked Ryan to provide specific actions he and Ronmey would take to further their “five point plan,” the Congressman had none to offer. Biden defended Obama’s actions by describing why the decisions were made, often noting he was present when policy was formulated.
Raddatz, in contrast to the inept Jim Lehrer who moderated the Obama-Romney debate, was crisply professional. She kept control even when Biden got over-enthusiastic and interrupted Ryan, laughed at what the challenger said, or made unnecessary comments about time allotments.
Raddatz asked some tough questions, but they were ones we viewers wanted answered—abortion (Biden thought it was a matter between a women and her doctor; Ryan believes it never should be condoned), how they viewed their Catholic religion (both said it is important in their lives; Biden said he did not believe in foisting his religion on others), and Medicare and Social Security (Biden said neither he nor Obama would support any form of privatization; Ryan favored plans that include privatization).
I thought Biden delivered the sharper blows, citing more facts and giving logical reasons for administration policies. Ryan mostly dealt in generalities, and when asked for specifics he often was unable to produce any.
Raddatz at the end did not challenge viewers with the most important question--one none of us likes to confront. If something happened to the President, which one of these guys would you want leading the nation?
Based on what I saw last night, I’d go with the more experienced and grounded Biden, who it appeared could best be depended on to act responsibly on the world stage and pursue policies at home favoring the majority of Americans.