Now that we know Mitt Romney picked WI Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate, we can officially start counting down the days until the 2012 Vice Presidential Debate! The debate will be on Thursday, October 11, 2012 (9 PM) at Centre College in Danville, KY. For 90 minutes, the two candidates will go head-to-head on foreign policy and domestic topics.
Paul Ryan: What To Expect
His Style: This “Young Gun” is looking forward to having a VERY particular discussion, jam-packed with dates, numbers and details. He won’t necessarily pull out the charts like Ross Perot, but he’s very much in that methodical line of thinking. One GOP operative close to the Congressman explains, “Paul is a substantive guy…. He looks forward to an in-depth issue discussion and is generally frustrated by political platitudes. Paul enjoys an in-depth debate; disagreement is welcomed as long as its substantive disagreement.”
His Angle: Ryan will be prepared to attack on domestic issues, particularly fiscal spending — where he excels. He’ll focus on differentiating issues like tax policy, federal spending, Medicare, social security, and health care.
What He’ll Need To Watch Out For: Paul Ryan’s adherence to facts and figures will likely show him as capable, intelligent and prepared. However, he will need to keep his emotions in-line, so he doesn’t come across as “condescending” or “pompous.” Since he is 27 years younger than Joe Biden, he will need to be cautious about appearing disrespectful to his elder or immature.
Joe Biden: What To Expect
His Style: Paul Ryan and Joe Biden couldn’t be any more different in their approaches to speech-making. Where Ryan is very structured and armed with details, our Vice President is more off-the-cuff and colloquial. He likes to appeal to people’s hearts and share personal experiences that people can relate to. He is affable and friendly, but he also has a side to him that we refer to as “the attack dog.” He has a way of coming off terribly honest and articulate at times. He loves starting a sentence off with a command such as “Look” and he likes using colorful language — dropping the F-bomb and words like “malarkey” into conversation.
His Angle: The VP has a big advantage in discussions of foreign policy. He sat in the room when the President sent operatives in to kill Osama Bin Laden. He was a long-time member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and actually chaired it from 2001-2003. Biden has a tremendous breadth of experience he can tap. In fact, he became US Senator in 1973 — when Ryan was just three-years-old! The Vice President will likely look for sore spots — picking apart Ryan’s notorious budget plan and painting him as a radical who is out to hurt seniors with his Medicare / Social Security proposals.
What He’ll Need To Watch Out For: It’s been a long time since Joe Biden was dubbed “the Gaffe Master,” but his detractors have never stopped poking fun at his latest sound bites. The Vice President has a tendency to stretch the facts or rely on fuzzy math during his speeches. He will need to prepare extensively for this debate and get his facts in order to avoid appearing like “that crazy old guy.”