Eight days ago Mitt Romney put a jolt into the presidential race when he showed up for a presidential debate while President Barack Obama seemed not to. Since then Romney has surged in the polls, pulling ahead in the Real Clear Politics average of polls. Tonight Vice President Joe Biden squares off against Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the House Budget Committee chairman. Watch the debate and get instant analysis here from U.S. News's Thomas Jefferson Street bloggers.
Clark Judge 10:49: Ryan effectively countered the vice president's attacks. And he was a gentleman. Considering what happened last week, there is a danger of the bottom dropping out for the Democratic ticket.
Mary Kate Cary 10:48: Democrats loved it, Republicans loved it. Ryan held his own and then some—didn't come across as an extremist at all. Democrats probably enjoyed how testy Biden was, but I believe Biden's behavior probably turned off a lot of independents/undecideds. Made me want to turn off the volume when he was talking. I bet I wasn't alone.
Biden seemed to be winging his closing statement, Ryan much better at making the final sale. Overall, though, a draw on substance. Ryan won on style. Biden gave Saturday Night Live a lot of material tonight. Boris Epshteyn 10:40: Well, that's over. Joe Biden came out firing, but went overboard by interrupting, laughing, and being dismissive toward Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan was strong, convinced, and succinct in his points even as he was piled on by both Joe Biden and, at times, the moderator.
Clark Judge 10:39: Though superficially more balanced than last week's debate, tonight's debate was again a plus for the GOP. Biden was way too hot and irritatingly dismissive of Ryan. He hurt himself and the president. Ryan was in the emotional range that is ideal for a candidate. Additionally, he was better briefed and more cogent. Boris Epshteyn 10:36: Paul Ryan doing a good job summing up the broken promises of the Obama administration. Joe Biden's best performance has come since his voice has seemingly been lost and energy has waned. Paul Ryan has done much more to make Mitt Romney's case than Joe Biden has for Barack Obama. Pointed contrast—Paul Ryan discusses what Mitt Romney will do as president, Joe Biden chooses to attack Paul Ryan for voting for the same wars he voted for.
Robert Schlesinger 10:32: Well that was more interesting and more fun than eight days ago. There was a heavy emphasis on national security and foreign policy, presumably because that's Raddatz's area of strength. Ryan followed a Zen debate strategy, and was smooth. Biden came out swinging, irking conservatives and heartening progressives. We'll see how it plays with independents.
Robert Schlesinger 10:31: Effective close from Biden hitting Ryan's "takers" and Romney's "47 percent." Peter Roff 10:28: Anti-taxer Grover G. Norquist apparently tweeting that oddly enough, he never finds a reason to mention Vice President Joe Biden when he's in a televised debate.
Robert Schlesinger 10:21: Ryan blatantly dodges question about whether pro-choicers should worry about a Romney-Ryan administration.
Robert Schlesinger 10:18: My old professor, Middlebury's Matt Dickinson (@Matt Dickinson44): "Ryan thinks this is a debate—Joe understands it is a political show."
Peter Roff 10:18: Vice President Biden's audible grunting during Congressman Ryan's discussion of why he is pro-life is not going to go over well, especially with the Catholic voters who may make the difference between who wins and who loses.
Boris Epshteyn 10:17: Does Joe Biden have an ulterior motive in his over the top performance? Maybe firing up the Dem base for 2016—he has repeatedly declined to state he will not run. If that is the case, he is doing himself a much bigger favor in terms of winning the 2016 primary than he is doing for President Obama remaining president.
Peter Roff 10:11: I'll give Biden points for the late Afghanistan response. Congressman Ryan seemed to be a bit over his head—but recovered quickly in the discussion of what is happening in Syria.