I suppose Vice President Biden’s primary goal was to make sure Representative Paul Ryan didn’t get a word in without an interruption or a sneer. During the first hour, that was the dominant theme. Perhaps that worked to convince some voters that the Obama-Biden ticket is ready to fight. But I suspect a lot of voters, especially voters who are up for grabs, were repulsed by it too.
In the last half hour, I thought Ryan was able to prosecute the case against the president very well, especially on the economy and jobs. Overall, Ryan performed admirably. He was dignified, informed, and tough, without any of the vice president’s overwrought expressions. His points on Libya, the president’s tax hikes, and Medicare were particularly effective.
In the end, Ryan did what was needed of him, which was to deliver the campaign’s message effectively and without major setbacks.
Although Ryan mentioned it more than once, the Romney-Ryan “five point plan” was emphasized less tonight than in the first presidential debate. That was perhaps unavoidable based on the format and questions from the moderator. But it’s been clear for a week now that Governor Romney’s clear and effective presentation of that plan was one major reason he won the first debate. The electorate is hungry for a credible, pragmatic plan for economic growth, and Romney gave it to them last week. He should feature that plan again, as often as possible, during next Tuesday’s debate.