For Obama-Biden supporters, last night’s debate was a breath of fresh air on the heels of the President’s less-than-stellar performance in the first presidential debate. The left is calling a clear victory for Joe Biden, the right happy to call it a draw. Personally, I was just relieved that Biden opened his mouth and refused to let Paul Ryan get away with what the Vice-President labeled “loose talk,” “stuff,” and “malarkey.” It was refreshing to hear Biden mention specifics and do so passionately, and disconcerting to hear Ryan once again fail to give specifics just as passionately. After all, he’s the numbers guy, so why didn’t he provide any?
This moderator, ABC News’ Martha Raddatz, did a far and away better job than PBS’ Jim Lehrer. She jumped in, cut off both candidates, and ran a tight ship. I really hope that Candy Crowley can follow in her footsteps when we get to the town-hall format on Tuesday. I also hope that President Obama decides to show up this time, and that he forces Governor Romney to explain his positions, rather than making vague statements in a last-ditch effort to pander to the middle. After all, both candidates have actual positions. It’s just that disclosing those positions isn’t always the best way to convince a plurality of Americans to vote for you. Particularly when you’ve already written off 47% of them.
Will last night’s respective performances matter? I doubt it. In that respect, I do think that the GOP is correct to call this a tie. Had Biden been as sluggish as Obama, or as gaffe-prone as he often is, it might have been seen as strike two, and could have further slowed Obama’s momentum, while increasing Romney’s. That didn’t happen. Right now, the overall score in this 4-game series seems to be tied 1-1. That makes Tuesday important, in that it gives the winner a slight edge, and the potential to close things out 3-1. Even then, though, it is questionable how much of an impact the debates will have on this election, as most folks have already made up their minds, and many of the undecideds may not turn out at all.