NEWS BLOG (WSAU) The vice-presidential debate tonight should be a side-show. It’s a placeholder until the next presidential debate the following Tuesday.
Joe Biden has been so-often portrayed as a stumbler and a bumbler that his bar has been set low. He will have surpassed expectations if he’s able to walk onto the stage and string one or two coherent sentences together. Paul Ryan may have the tougher job. He’s been billed as the intellectual leader of conservatism. That’s a more-difficult label to live up to.
The danger for democrats is that there are other debate challenges coming. The third debate, on October 22 in Florida, focuses on foreign policy and looms a disaster for the President. He’ll have to defend the Libyan debacle, the mishandling of the Arab spring, the deteriorating relationship with Israel, the stagnant muck of Afghanistan, and his whispering open-mic message to the Russians about ‘more flexibility’ after Election Day. That’s very unfriendly terrain. There will be no “closing argument” from Barack Obama to the voters; he’ll be on defense all night.
But next Tuesday’s town hall-style debate will be the President’s best shot. The candidates will take questions from the audience. Someone in the crowd is sure to bring up Mitt Romney’s 47% comment. Romney, the white millionaire, will have to connect with what is sure to be a diverse audience from Hempstead, Long Island. (Hempstead is 8 miles from Hollis, Queens– which Run-D.M.C. used to rap about.) Barack Obama will have given things to the audience (healthcare, food stamps, Obama-phones), and Mitt Romney will be seen as wanted to take away.
Mitt Romney’s debate win last week continues to dominate the presidential debate narrative. Next Tuesday we’ll learn if the challenger can deliver a knock-out blow, or if the champ has new life.
Hear the Vice Presidential debate live on WSAU at 8pm CT from Fox News Radio.