The debate last night has already been claimed as a victory on both sides. Biden was in top form, Ryan did reasonably well, and they both did what they needed for their campaigns. At least, that's how the pundits are calling it. In my view, it was a clear win for Biden, if for no other reason than that Ryan failed to give a single straight answer all night, and used the very same tactics that he complained about from the Obama campaign.
First, to Biden. A lot of people are complaining that he was disrespectful towards Ryan, due to his chuckling, head shaking, and occasional interruptions. Let's put that in perspective, though, shall we? Looking at Biden's track record, he was rather subdued, don't you think? And, not to point out they hypocrisy in this, but Ryan got his own chuckles, punchlines, and interruptions in. It wasn't just one-way. Secondly, the debate went very smoothly. There wasn't a lot of back-and-forth arguing by either gentleman, and they both seemed to be very aware of their time constraints. I though Biden did a great job pointing out the successes of the Obama administration, being very clear and consistent in their plans moving forward, and I commend him for sticking to his views, and to the facts, for most of the night.
Now, Ryan. Maybe it was just me, but I didn't feel as though Ryan really answered any questions. He was also a bit hypocritical in denouncing the Obama campaign for going negative and attacking the Romney camp instead of clarifying their positions. Note that, this is exactly what Ryan did last night, Romney did last week, and what their campaign has been doing for months. They've not produced any real specifics on their tax plan, foreign policy ideas, health care reforms, or any other issue. Last night, Ryan went for platitudes and talking points. When asked for specifics on his plan, he criticized the President. I will say, though, that Ryan was respectful and showed a real commitment to letting Biden speak. He engaged with the VP, and was consistent in his statements, wrong and misguided though they were.
It was a breath of fresh air to have a good moderator, too, who appeared to be able to control the speakers without too much effort.
Again, I feel that Biden did a fantastic job, and did everything he needed to do. He was likable, he was forthright, he was well-spoken, honest, and blunt. He didn't try to mince words, he didn't toss out red meat for his base, and he didn't simply sit back and spit out platitudes. He was great.
Of course, the upcoming Presidential debate will likely be even more heavily analyzed, and will probably carry more weight in the minds of Americans. But I feel as though this was yet another turning point in the election, and that we have a real, honest horse race on our hands.