Of course, you can’t ever really “win” a presidential debate. Stay with me here: There is no point system, there are no game rules (and the rules that do exist are constantly broken), and there is no end game. The audience will be split every time, usually down partisan lines.
But on Thursday night Joe Biden mopped the floor with Ryan. Seriously, it was watching a dad lecture his 13-year-old son.
In the only vice presidential debate, Biden completely dominated all facets of the debate … from foreign policy, the national debt, taxes, and even social issues like abortion … boldly hammering through policy points and the Obama administration's policy decision rationales, and strongly defending his party’s stances on the issues.
Republican rival Paul Ryan looked shaky, out of breath, and out of things to say. Many times he looked down at the table, or the floor, or somewhere else … it was like he knew every word he was saying was wrong.
Already in the early goings of the debate it was all Biden, who held a fierce, intense, and relentless critique of Paul Ryan and the GOP ticket’s policies. Ryan looked very much younger, less experienced, and was frequently getting interrupted by Biden as he tried to string together responses.
In one candid moment of the debate, Ryan addressed the vice president saying, "I know you're under duress." He was addressing Obamacare and Medicare, to which Biden responded, "I heard that death panel debate argument from Sarah Palin." BOOM.
On Afghanistan, Ryan said that more U.S. troops were needed to secure the country. Biden refuted: "We're sending less Americans to fight there ... less Americans ... and more Afghans ... Afghans to do the job."
Even Biden’s closing statement was sound: "We inherited an awful situation. My opponent thinks 47%/30% are freeloaders."
Biden's facial expressions were priceless throughout. He had been using his hands dynamically, laughing and smirking to discredit Ryan and Republican ideas, and he simply chuckled as he brushed off Ryan's attacks.
Heading into the debate, more people thought Ryan held the momentum. By a 42% to 25% margin, more independents expected Ryan to do better than Biden in the debate.
I guess polling gets it wrong sometimes.