15 Oct 2012
As the National Journal pointed out, strong performances from Biden, Ryan, and moderator Martha Raddatz produced one of the most engaging, enlightening, and entertaining debates of recent memory, one marked by dramatic contrasts in priorities, ideology, and personal style. The debate was intriguing in many ways; here’s a summary of their top take-aways.
1. Ryan turned in a composed and confident performance, Biden delivered more of what his side needed, reawakening dispirited Democrats by pressing the party’s case.
2. Ryan, exchange for exchange, generally held his own. Cool and steady.
3. On several fronts, the debate sharpened contrasts between the two tickets that could play a larger role in the final weeks – especially on foreign policy and social issues.
4. The contrast in style between the two men was every bit as great as expected. Ryan was in command and disciplined … Biden channeled “Give ’em Hell, Harry!” Truman,” avoiding any of the obvious gaffes that Democrats feared.
5. In all it actually showed why the nation appears headed for its third photo finish in the past four presidential elections. Ryan was best when he could steer the debate toward a referendum on Obama’s first term. Biden was often powerful when he framed the race around the question of “whose side are you on?” Polls suggest both of those arguments powerfully resonate with most of the few undecided voters.