Peter Roff 9:06: Biden answers the first question well—except that he avoids taking any responsibility for what we now know to be the long-term screw up in Libya. Talking about Iraq is not the same as talking about Libya. And Biden, in his first answer, plays the bin Laden card. And distorts what Mitt Romney said about what he would do about Osama bin Laden.
Peter Roff 9:04: The stakes tonight are much higher for Vice President Joe Biden, who is much better known, than they are for Rep. Paul Ryan. Biden has much less room to make mistakes and his errors will be more meaningful. Ryan has more latitiude.
Robert Schlesinger 8:56: So what are the stakes tonight? Eight days ago I'd have told you that the vice presidential debate is among the least important events in the campaign season. Perhaps the best remembered single moment, after all, was Lloyd Bentsen schooling Dan Quayle about John F. Kennedy. But Bentsen went back to the Senate while Quayle moved into the Naval Observatory.
But eight days ago I'd have also told you (and did) that presidential debates rarely matter. I was right on the history but 2012 seems intent on going its own way.
Nevertheless, since it took a pair of remarkable presidential debate performances to shake up the race—Mitt Romney's deft, if mendacious A-game and Barack Obama's somnambulant flop—I'm not sure what Joe Biden and Paul Ryan would have to do tonight to make a serious mark in the race. But that, like they say in sports, is why they play the game.