As I predicted, Joe Biden was polished, prepared and came out swinging. Paul Ryan was also everything I thought he would be.
I liked what Charles Krauthammer said after it was over. If you were to look only at the transcript, it was even. If you listened to it on the radio, Biden won. If you watched it on TV, Ryan won.
Joe Biden did as he was supposed to. He protected the ball. There were no major gaffes, he was on point with the Democratic Party Line and the Administration Party Line. He made a mistake, I think, when he threw the U.S. Intelligence Service under the bus regarding Benghazi and he wasn't as strong where he should have been, which was foreign policy. His other job was to lay the groundwork for Obama in the second debate with Romney. He opened the 47% door, the Bain Capital door (even though he didn't specifically mention Bain), and set the tone for the two future Presidential debates.
Where Biden went wrong tonight was in his mannerisms. Remember, even though most of the polls show Romney as being the better candidate when it comes to the economy, Obama beats him every time in 'likability'. Perception and impression mean a lot to many voters. Biden was extremely condescending by his smirks, laughs, head shaking, blowing, and derisive smiling while it was Ryan's turn to speak. He interrupted Ryan several times, not wishing to take his turn for rebuttal and attempting, in my opinion, to get Ryan off his game. In the last respect, he failed miserably. He came off as rude, arrogant, overbearing and as a bully.
Paul Ryan was just as prepared as Biden and I think was just as skillful in stating his ticket's position. He was respectful to Biden the vast majority of the time and rarely interrupted him, except for near the end of the debate it increased in frequency. I think I would have done the same thing since he had to show he was up to the task of facing the VP down. Otherwise he would have come off as being weak or timid.
The closing statement contest goes overwhelmingly to Ryan. Even his 'thank you' to Biden was met with a smirk. He was clear, concise and stuck to the points he wanted to make. Biden's closing statement seemed to be more 'off the cuff' and didn't resound well.
It might have just been me, but Biden came out with more energy and pizzazz than Ryan did. In fact, I looked over at my daughter and told her that Biden was winning after the first ten minutes. But as the debate went on, it seemed to me he tired. If you'll watch the last fifteen minutes again, Biden was more subdued and low-key. Actually, I think he ran out of steam. Or, maybe I was seeing things.
In the end, I have to give the edge to Ryan...but just barely. Ryan came off way better in the mannerism department, and that's the only place where I push him into the lead. Even though I don't agree with the Administration's position on anything but killing terrorists with drones, the substance is not where I grade. I grade on how the substance of both sides was portrayed by the participants. In that regard, they were pretty much even.
The best line of the night HAS to go to Ryan. When Biden brought up Romney's 47% remark, Ryan countered with, "As the vice president very well knows, sometimes the words don't come out of your mouth the right way."