White House 2012: VP nominees set out two visions for the US
The incumbent Democrat Joe Biden and his Republican counterpart Paul Ryan laid out two opposing visions of the government’s role in US society in the VP debate.
The two contenders for Vice Presidency squared off at what could prove to be an important debate in the upcoming November elections. Congressman Paul Ryan came to the debate to keep up the momentum for the Republican campaign following Mitt Romney’s strong performance in last week’s debate with President Obama.
The Vice President had to stop this momentum dead in its tracks. His aim was to find a way to halt the Republican machine at a time when polls reflect a volatile electorate. Recent polls have shown that the gap between Romney and Obama is within the margin of error in many of the key battleground states
Considering the pressure, both men performed well although there were some gaffes and several cases of where the truth was used economically.
Despite this, the debate was about a clash of contrasting and sometimes conflicting ideas. While Biden was very happy to embrace and push the idea of “government being a force for good”, Ryan took the complete opposite path. For him, federal government is about maintaining national security and devolving as much to state and local government as possible. The Republican vision: government must get out of the way so that America can succeed.
On abortion, Paul Ryan made an emotive case for the pro-lifers citing the story of his first child’s ultra sonogram. That will please the Republican base, but Biden offered an effective comeback pointing out those views on pro-life must not be imposed upon anyone.
This went on across all issues discussed, with each candidate taking pot shots at the top of the opposing ticket rather than the opponent in front of them. It was a draw according to most commentators, while the polls fluctuated. A CNN poll gave Ryan a win with 48% over Biden’s 44% but a CBS poll called it for the Vice President by a huge margin 51% vs Ryan’s 31%.
The consensus seems to be that each party will argue that its man won the debate, which is no bad thing as neither would be wrong.